15 December 2011

On the road

It sounds interesting, this one: a brown ale -- that steadfastly old-fashioned style -- brewed to a very non-traditional (or at least somewhat unorthodox) 6% ABV and single hopped with Citra, the American powerhouse hop more commonly found in high-octane IPAs. Anchor Breckle's had me intrigued from the start.

It pours more of a ruby shade than brown, topped by a thick and rocky off-white head. While it's as sweet as one would expect a brown ale to be, with just a touch of roastiness at the back, the hops are at the centre of the flavour giving a major fruity dimension to it. Not the fresh and fleshy mangos and peaches that's characteristic of West Coast hops, but a more artificial-tasting Opal Fruit vibe. That sounds bad, but it's not meant to be. This is a fun and frivolous ale, a conversation beer rather than one to sit over and think about.

From San Francisco we head north up Route 101 to Ukiah and the Butte Creek brewery, to try their Porter. It's a deep dark shade of red with quite a busy sparkle, relatively thin of body for 6.1% ABV.

There's a definite stickiness to the aroma: full of treacle and burnt sugar. The slightly charred notes are at the front of the flavour with sweeter caramel and a little bit of mild coffee coming in behind it. I got an unfortunate tang of cardboardy oxidation which somewhat spoiled an otherwise plain but pleasant beer.

A u-turn and back to San Fran, so.


  1. Careful with the use of the T-word. There were plenty of Brown Ales before WW II that were over 5% ABV.

  2. As high as 6, though?

  3. I sometimes get the sense from Ron that the proper response might be "as low as 6, though?" !!

  4. We had an Anchor tasting at our homebrew club on Tuesday, with the Steam Beer and their Christmas ale. Very nice beers indeed.

  5. I thought that the Brekkles tasted of Apple!

  6. Maybe it was just me, but i thought the Anchor Breckle's was a bit of a crystal malt bomb