Banff Ave Brewing: Highline Magazine Naked Nut Brown Ale (Canada: Brown Ale: 4.8% ABV)
Visual: Deep brown with a thin off white head that leaves lace.
Nose: Cashew nuts and brown sugar. Malt chocolate. Nutella and Belgian chocolate.
Body: Hazelnuts. Low level bitterness. Lightly chalky texture. Milky coffee. Malt chocolate.
Finish: Lightly earthy. Hazelnuts and a very light burnt wood touch. Nutella. Brown sugar touch.
Conclusion: Brown ales from around the world unite! I find brown ales interesting (a phrases very little said) as there is such a big difference between the UK real ale interpretation of the style, and the USA craft interpretation – and yet they are still very noticeable the same style.
This definitely is geared more towards the American interpretation than the sometimes just lightly sour and refreshing UK take – however that sweetness is reined in, giving room for a far more nutty and roasted character than most.
The nose is the sweetest part of it, with real full on Nutella and hints of brown sugar. It entices you in, but if the entire beer had been like that it would have been off-puttingly sickly sweet.
The body then smartly takes it towards a much more roasted way, with the slight chalk texture giving it a nice rough edged feel in the mouth. Here the beer makes itself known as much by feel as it does by taste, roasted and kicking – but backed by the malt chocolate and milky coffee – the sweet Nutella is there but taken down a notch to make it manageable.
The finish keeps the roasted, but brings back up the sweetness, slowly revealing itself as the roasted character fades out. It treads a fine line between the two characteristics to round it off nicely.
Overall this is a really balanced brown ale. Able to push heavier sweet notes and then pull back from it when it needs to. A very sessionale brown, for the abv, and very enjoyable.
Background: Ok, a quick google tells me Highline Magazine is a Canadian magazine. Apart from that I’m not sure what the relevance is. Drunk at the Brewpub in Banff while hiding from the sun, again. The beer there is dispensed straight from the beer tanks, which is kind of as fresh as you can get. Which is cool. Also this is 12 IBU – The Canadian craft beer scene seems all about telling you info about the beer, including IBU, which is also cool. Banff Ave also have an absolutely brilliant Ella hopped Double IPA, like one of my favorite beers level good. I didn’t have a chance to head back to do tasting notes, but if you are around check it out. It is awesome. Also thanks to the staff in general for being awesome, and also for letting me into the brew area to take some photos.