White Birch Brewing — Tavern Ale

White Birch Tavern Ale -- Smoked Imperial Brown

I had heard about, but never had a chance to try any beers from out of New Hampshire, until now.  Based out of Hooksett, NH, this small brewery is making some interesting beers.  I saw some at RSVP the last time I was in Portland, and picked up a bottle of the , described as a smoked imperial brown ale, it sounded interesting and worth a shot.

Tasting:  This came in a 22 oz bottle, batch two, bottled February 2011, bottle count 1008. 8% ABV.   The beer pours very dark for a brown ale, more of a black with red highlights when held to the light.  The head is a tan color, about 2 fingers on the pour that drops down to a persistent 1/4 inch at the rim.  The first thing I smell is smoke, it smells like peat smoke actually, with some molasses and caramel notes.  I don’t pick up any hops.  Fuller bodied beer, malty and a touch of sweet at the front, with the smoke coming up soon after you swallow.  It is pretty well balanced, does not finish sweet or bitter, and there is some faint cherry notes in it as well, probably from the yeast.  It is definitely a smokey beer, which I enjoy, but most folks won’t.  My wife’s comment was “It tastes like our fire pit.”

Ok, so she did not care for it, but I enjoyed it quite a bit actually.  The body is actually a little lighter then I was expecting in an 8% brown ale, and there is not a whole lot of sweetness in the end.  I can see this going very well with some BBQ or other hearty fare.  Would I buy it again, probably not, but I will definitely try other beers from these guys in the future.

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