Boulder Beer, Flashback Anniversary Ale

Grade: A
Boulder Beer Company

Pours deep rich mahogany amber, with a rocky tan head that looks like it's not going anywhere soon. The clarity is brilliant, honestly I just want to sit here and look at this beer. Malty nose, with caramel, toffee, and a little biscut coming through. Slight spicyness from the hops as well. Mouthfeel is medium, but it follows with a very nice dry finish. Carbonation isn't very high, normal for a brown ale and lends just the right amount of sparkle to the tongue. A good amount of bread and caramel in the flavor, with roast and biscut coming in to back things up. The hopping is well thought out here, they blend very well with the roast malts so that neither are too acrid or too bitter. The hops aren't second fiddle by any means, if you know what to look for, you can find the flavor of some more citrusy, spicy varieties. The caramel sweetness and the hoppy bitterness (combined with the roast notes) result in a very well balanced beer that finishes dry and relatively clean, which makes you want another sip.

While I wouldn't go so far as calling it an "India-syle brown ale," I would say that this is an excellent example of what an American brown ale should be. All too often are brown ales too heavy-bodied, sweet, and roasty for the style. Many examples available today are simply lighter colored stouts or porters. This beer acheives that balance between notable malt character with a dry finish that makes it very quaffable.