Bitterroot Nut Brown Ale: The Best Brown Ale You Can’t Get

Well, truth is “most” of you can’t get this delightful nutty sweetish brown ale from Bitterroot Brewing in Hamilton, Montana.  So why bother doing a review?  Well first of all it is a fine example of what a Nut Brown Ale should be, and secondly, like the old russian saying goes “men (or women) are not mountains.”  Basically what this means is that we move around, we meet again, we have opportunities that we can create.  Mountains never meet, they just sit there, and they are what they are until something else acts upon it to make it change.  So enough Russian folklore, now onto the beer.

I used about 1/3 of this beer in some barbecue sauce I made for Chicken wings on Superbowl Sunday.  Great BBQ Sauce, made better by this great beer.  Then I drank the other 2/3 of it, and I must say this is by far the best Nut Brown Ale I’ve ever had.  As you can see it poured with a colossal head.  A nice rich brown, almost mahogany color beer with an off white foamy head that left so much lacing I wished I could reach my tongue into the glass and lick it out.

The mouthfeel on this brew was medium and felt appropriate for the style.  The flavor is where this brew really shines.  It was exactly as it says a nutty brown ale-y flavor.  The first flavor you get is of a sweet, but not cloying, nut.  I think of Filberts (Hazel Nuts for those of you back east) and possibly pecan, with a nice and natural sweetness.  Then those big malty flavors come to the fore.  This beer is brewed with Amber, Brown, and Honey malts and I swear I can taste each variety in the flavor of this brew.  It finishes clean and doesn’t linger on you palate, but never feels watery or lacking in any way.

So again, why would I even bother to review this beer when it is only distributed in Spokane, a few parts of Western Montana, and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho?  Because if you are ever in one of those places you should get some!  You all travel, this is good vacation country, it is quite conceivable that some of you will be able to grab up this great brew while you are on summer or winter travels.  It is easy on your wallet, I think I paid about $5.00 for this 22 oz bomber, and it is really tasty beer.  You all move around, and you may be in one of the places that actually has this beer.  If you are, get some!  It is what a Nut Brown Ale should be, and frankly I will make this brew a regular part of my beer rotation for both cooking and drinking, its that good.

-Don

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13 Comments on “Bitterroot Nut Brown Ale: The Best Brown Ale You Can’t Get”

  1. February 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    Hey buddy, it sounds and looks delicious.

    Just an FYI: “Philberts” (actually filberts) are hazel nuts, not acorns (which, in any of the black oak species are inedible to humans unless you rinse all the tannic acid out of them.) Hazel nuts on the other hand are highly edible (I have lots of them growing on my place but can never beat the squirrels to the nuts) and are used to flavor coffee, add to baked goods, as part of a delicious spread know as Nutella, and are usually part of the mixed nuts one gets at Christmas time. Just saying.

    • Don
      February 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

      Well Wayne, thanks for the nut education. And I know I’m not God’s gift to proper spelling, but you already knew that. I get them a lot during the holidays just to crack and eat. They are really tasty that way as well. I’ll fix the spelling now that I’ve been called out. 😉

      • February 24, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

        No harm, no foul buddy–I’m the pot calling the kettle black. Oh, btw, hazelnuts are also the flavoring for some liqueurs–thus a mix of coffee, Bailey’s Irish Creme and Frangelico is called a “Nutty Irishman”. (hmmm, sounds vaguely familiar doesn’t it? 😉 )

  2. frischer
    February 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    Speaking of Brown Ales you can’t get, the best one ever, Troegs Rugged Trail Nut Brown Ale. It was discontinued but now is back…. on tap only at their brewery?!?!? Makes me sad to know that this exists somewhere yet I can’t have it.

    • February 24, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

      Quit whining and take your family to Hershey Park – Troegs opened a mega-tourist-friendly brewery there! Rides for the kids, chocolate for the wife, beer for Steve!

  3. frischer
    February 24, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    I know I know, I need to get there
    just asked my friends over at Cable Beverages if they could make a call and get some in since they are doing it as part of their “Scratch” series
    speaking of Cable, just picked up a Growler of Brooklyn’s Mary Maple Porter… they forgot to include medicine-y in the title, that is some serious funky aftertaste

  4. February 24, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    Nice. I keep passing that one up on the shelf. Guess I’ll need to rectify that. Browns are kinda like ambers, there are plenty around, but it’s a style that seems to be hard to make spectacular. Recently some browns have been impressing me, though. Local Payette Brewing’s Mutton Buster Brown is solid and Epic Brewing’s new Santa Cruz Brown ale is quite tasty. Guess my taste buds need to revisit the style!

    • Don
      February 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

      I agree Chad, Browns are easy to pass by. Still haven’t had Ellie’s Brown by Avery, and I bet it is tasty. But I see the Joes Pilsner, and it gets all my $$. I really like a good brown to cook with though. Something about their mild slightly sweet and malty goodness that really works well with food. So I might have to give Ellie’s a try, as well as this one too. It is actually quite tasty…for a brown. 😉

  5. February 24, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    Hammy, Montana! I went to undergrad in Missoula. I don’t think I have had this, though. I will have to try it next time I’m out.

    • Don
      February 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

      Do. You will love it, and it is great to cook with, especially Barbecue sauce!

  6. splat8391
    February 24, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

    Agree, beerpoet … I’ve never been much of a fan of the style, but that probably speaks to my narrow-mindedness more than anything else. I just haven’t ever found a brown that was really memorable.

    Just my opinion, but I’d say keep up the reviews of local, hard-to-find brews, too. Why not? I’m headed to Chicago tomorrow for a couple of days and looking forward to having a little 3 Floyds, Flossmoor Station, Two Brothers and other stuff that I can’t get my hands on out east …

  7. Misc.Jess
    February 27, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    My favorite brewery to visit when I visit my mom 🙂 Lucky lady lives 3 minute drive away!

    • Don
      February 29, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

      Lucky You! Might want to pick up some bombers to bring back with you next time you visit!

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