If there is one style of beer that can confuse it is brown ale. Beer, after all, is pretty much brown. There are any number of Belgian ales that can be thought of as brown but called Flemish brown or reds, quadruples or just browns. But there are also dubbles which are big and earthy and brown. There are heartily hopped US or Texas browns . There are tangy northern English browns like Samuel Smith makes. These two New Englanders, however, represent another softer type of brown - maybe like Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale. They are a throwback to a style of brown from London England and are often called nut browns from the lucious taste gleaned from their combination of pale, brown and crystal malts - though the twang yeasty Samuel Smith's uses the name too.
- Wachusett Nut Brown Ale: from Westminster, Massachusetts. Slightly red oaky brown under a off white dissipating head. A very simple brown - soft, grainy with a bit of sweetness but none of the raisininess of the Shipyard. There is other autumn fruit, however, as well something of an oaky cask reference in the vanilla and twiggy hop. Maybe a note of chocolate as well. Very nice and a very quaffable. BAers mostly like.
- Shipyard Brown Ale: from Portland, Maine. One slight notch lighter in colour than the Wachussetts with a head one slight notch towards tan. As far as I am concerned one of the most moreish beers I have ever had. There is a fair amount of sweet sultana in this very soft water ale. The hops sit back on the rim of the flavour. The aroma is all Shipyard with their signiture salty, tangy yeast - the ringwood strain, I think. There malt also has grain with the sweet. It reminds me a lot of a lighter hopped version of Shipyard's Chamberlain, another favorite of mine. BAer's are a little confused by it.