I mentioned my frustration this weekend on not finding the Dogfish Head at Whole Foods, but this didn’t mean I came home empty handed. I searched through their selection, and decided to go with a new one to me, Full Sail’s Nut Brown Ale, a selection from their Brewmasters Reserve.
When it comes to commercial nut brown ales, you’ve got some pretty stiff competition. Samuel Smith’s is available just about everywhere and is fantastic. Rogue’s Hazlenut Brown Nectar is harder to find, but one of my all-time favorites. I was a little hesitant to even try Full Sail’s attempt, since I wasn’t sure I could taste it objectively.
I opened it up as soon as I got home, and realized I started on the wrong foot. I was preparing a stir fry for dinner, and nut brown ale deserves something more hearty. The beer poured with a huge head, forcing me to leave a little in the bottle. The aroma and taste were fairly similar, and I can’t say I was excited about both. What I got from both was a roasted malt bitterness that overpowered the beer. Not too strong at all, this beer feels like it was deigned as a session beer, but is a little rough around the edges to want to reach for a second bottle after finishing the first.
In the end, Full Sail’s Nut Brown Ale suffers from the same issue I worried about initially. I passed over the Rogue Hazlenut and Sam Smith on the same shelf to give this new one a try. Was it a bad beer? Not at all, but when you consider your options, I find it hard to imagine reaching for this one again.