It’s not often we get a chance to sit down with a brown ale originating in Maine, Freeport and Portland to be exact. Their little restaurant and pub reminds me much of the Woodstock Inn in northern New Hampshire, a place I frequent in the late summer. Gritty McDuff’s Brewing Company is boasting the “Best Brown Ale,” which is not too far from the truth.
I’ve tasted a good deal of Brown Ales, perhaps enough to make the assessment of “best” and I’ve touched them from around the US and around the world. Each time I try a new Brown Ale I find something to fall in love with, something unique to the style and something which can mark it as best of brew. I’m going to hold firm on my Turbo Dog review and consider that one truly best but this is a close second.
This brew is much the opposite of a Sam Smiths Nut Brown Ale in so many ways even though both are considered browns. While Sam Smith is silky smooth with a rich red-brown color, Gritty’s is a beautiful carbonated amber-brown ale. The Nut Brown has a fairly thick head while Gritty’s is thin and constant but the carbonation does not take away from this full bodied beverage.
The brown ale malts stand out closest to that of the Abita Turbodog without the hints of chocolate like the Louisiana brown. Gritty’s feels more like a ‘common mans’ brown ale with subtle hints of the style and very little shocking flavors, well balanced without any true bitter taste nor does it taste flat. It may not be the best in the business but it exhibits the true nature of the Brown Ale style.
If you’re looking for a smooth relaxing Brown Ale I suggest trying Sam Smiths Nut Brown if you can afford the expensive four-pack, if you want a chocolaty sweet high-end Brown Ale hunt down a TurboDog from Abita, for everyone else it’s a Gritty’s must buy. Next time I swing over to Maine I’m going to have to stop by one of their two pubs and see what this stuff tastes like from its home.