Georgia on My Mind, and Georgia Brown in My Glass
A Review of Georgia Brown by SweetWater Brewing Co.
Posted on 5/13/2012 by Brew's Your Daddy
The more and more I review beers, the more and more I realize that I still have a lot to learn. For as long as I can remember, brown ales have lingered in the land of the bland for me personally. More often than not, every time I get my hands on one, there are only one or two flavors I can pull from it, and rarely are they anything to get excited about. Recently I was able to crack open a Georgia Brown Ale from SweetWater Brewing Company, and while I had my ''here we go again'' doubts before opening it, I am pleased to report that the old adage of there always being an exception to the rule still has some truth to it.

In the glass, Georgia Brown Ale has an overall murky dark brown coloration with some aged copper hues around the edges. About two fingers worth of bubbly eggshell colored head forms on an aggressive pour, but there is little retention to it, and after about 2 minutes of sitting time it reduces down to nothing more than a thin ring around the edges with some sparse spotting in the middle. When you get your nose in close to the glass, things really start to shine. Smells of thick caramel, light chocolate, faint hazelnut, and fresh baked bread can be picked out with relative ease. With a bit of digging you can pick up on some more lighter notes of cashews, coffee, and even some really earthy hops laying around at the bottom. Can we say yay for some complexity?

When you go in for the first taste, a rich caramel flavor grabs you right off. It has a bold sweetness to it, but thanks to those sneaky hops detected in the nose, there is enough of a bitterness to keep things in a good balance. The chocolate isn't quite as pronounced as one might think, but it is still there. Think of it more as a supporting flavor rather than the main act. A general roasted feel keeps coming back to you after each sip, and as the session moves on, the nuttiness really comes through in a delicious way. The mouthfeel is a bit thin, and the carbonation comes across at times as a bit much, but never do they fall into the range of unacceptable. The finish is very clean, and the warm nutty flavor mixed with just a hint of a hops bite is all that sticks around in the aftertaste.

It always makes me happy when I get a beer that surprises me in a good way. Georgia Brown Ale is a perfect example of what I mean. I try to keep an open mind at all times about beer, but after quite a few sessions with many less than stellar brown ales, I admit that I may have a bit of a preconceived opinion about them. So when a good one crosses my path, it is my responsibility to recommend it to all levels of drinkers. Brown ales have never been a ''dangerous'' beer when done right, and this means that beginners and veterans alike can take it for a spin. It would make a great bridge beer for those wanting to get in the game, and a delightfully easy drinking session beer for those who have a more honed palate. So while many out there, myself included, may have placed brown ales into the range of ''standard beer'', thankfully there are breweries out there like SweetWater Brewing that continue to put out great beers that will always be able to sway the standard belief.

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Georgia Brown by SweetWater Brewing Co.
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