I have been asked on several occasions what is a good beer to drink of one is not a fan of the stuff. I have yet to be able to give a good answer to this question, because the world of beer is so huge, picking a starting point is akin to trying to find the best place in Europe for an American to visit first on their initial trip across the Atlantic.
However, I think I have a winner here in Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar. There are three good reasons for my decision.
- Whatever hops are in here are minimal, almost non-existent. So for people who do not like hop bitterness, this beer is perfect.
- This beer is sweet, but not overly so, like some lambics. It is a full bodied sweet beer that doesn’t leave a cloying aftertaste on the palate.
- The taste here is distinctive. There are strong, strong, strong vanilla notes here, which reminded both myself and my beer partner in crime, Andrea, of Ice Cream. So much so, that I know of several people who make beer floats (beer with a scoop or two of ice cream) with this ale as its foundation. And you know what? It works.
So what we have here is a very distinctive, sweet and flavorful, non-hopped beer. This makes it the perfect brew for those looking for the antithesis of the light and dry beers of the American lager family.
As I note below, it’s not a perfect beer, but rare is the beer that comes close to perfection. But it is a damn good one. You can consider me a fan of this one.
Appearance: Deep Amber-brown, transparent. The head is a nice full tan color, with Belgian Lace that hangs down the side of the glass.
Aroma: A strong nutty/vanilla aroma with a hint of sweet malt. There’s a small whiff of metal, but just a hint.
Taste: Strong vanilla flavors, sweet and malty on the foundation. There’s a thinning out on the finish, but in a pleasant way, like an appropriate decrescendo. A small hint of bitterness, but just only.
Mouthfeel: Full flavored, but light on the palate. Just about perfect for a brown ale.
Drinkability: Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.If you’re a fan of malt, but not a fan of hops, this is the perfect beer. Don’t get me wrong, there are faults here. But these are minor quibbles. Due to the uniqueness of this brown ale, the faults come across as delightful eccentricities, rather than bad marks.