Beer of the Week: Stone Collaboration TBA

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Another Stone collaboration beer, this time with Bear Republic and Fat Head’s Brewing to produce a beer style known as a Texas Brown Ale. What is a Texas Brown Ale you might ask? Well I have never heard of the style, so I will let Stone’s press release talk about it:

This particular beer pays homage to a relatively little–known beer style called Texas Brown Ale, which, strangely enough, has its roots in California. It originated as a hopped up version of a brown ale recipe, and it got pretty popular with a group of NorCal homebrewers in the early 1980s.

“These California guys were tweaking an English-style brown,” explains Matt Cole, Head Brewer of Fat Head’s Brewery. “They added some Crystal and Chocolate malts, and supercharged it with a bunch of Cascade hops to get a bigger version with more hop forward aromas and flavors.”

While delicious, these beers failed to fare well in homebrew competitions, since there was no recognized category they could be entered in. They were far too hoppy and bitter to be considered a traditional brown ale. But when a competition in Houston, TX, accepted entries for what they named the “California Dark” category, the American Homebrewers Association followed suit soon after, though they perplexingly changed the name to Texas Brown Ale.

The beer was sampled out of a 12 oz. bottle and this review is for the 2012 version of the beer – Stone is getting together with the same breweries to brew this beer again in 2013. The skinny on the beer:

Stats: 7.1% abv, 81 IBUs
Malts: Pale 2–Row, Crystal 60, Toasted Wheat, Victory, and Chocolate Malt
Hops: Bravo, Brewer’s Gold, Cascade, and Columbus

tba_collab_2This beer is reddish amber in color with a tan head, not the brown you might expect from brown ale. The nose is a pleasant conglomeration of hops, malt, sugar and molasses. A smattering of light hops appear on the first sip, but fade quickly into a pleasant nut brown profile. The sugar and molasses are there but don’t dominate and subtly compliment the nut brown characteristics of the beer without overpowering it. The finish is like drinking a liquid pecan pie with hints of hops; which makes for a fun and very interesting beer. Considering the hop levels on this beer, I thought the use of them was restrained and very balanced, so much so that occasionally I found myself wanting a slightly bolder hop flavor profile.

I really like TBA and wish there were more breweries doing a style like this.

Stone Collaboration TBA saunters in with an excellent 4 Lone Stars out of 5.

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