Beer of the Week: NW Peaks Magic Brown

By Iron Chef Leftovers

I have come to realize that one of my guilty pleasures in beer drinking is brown ales. For years, one of my favorite beers was Sam Smith’s Nut Brown Ale, and then, for some reason, I took a very long break from drinking them. In the last couple of years, there has been resurgence in browns, and with that, they have become my dirty little secret – a beer that I wouldn’t generally order, but when I am in the mood, there is nothing quite like a brown. NW Peaks does a couple of browns – the Pecan one they do in November and the Magic, which makes an appearance in March.

From the NW Peaks Website:

The name. The mountain. Magic is situated right off of Cacade pass (near Sahale), but it is just S and E from the pass rising above Trapper Lake. I climbed Magic Mtn on the front end of a week long trip, on the famous Ptarmigan Traverse – one of the most traveled alpine climbing traverses. The day trip to Cascade Pass is certainly one of the “must go to” areas of the N Cascades, with several options for continuing the trip, including over to Magic and it’s environs.

The beer. Magic Brown fits the schizophrenic March Seattle weather perfectly. It is dark and malty for the cold/wet, but it’s body is light enough that it will be great on a warmer day as well. Unlike the typical “brown,” we built this brown up to have some more residual malt character by adding some extra munich, caramunich, and other specialty malts, but keeping the overall alcohol content and roast character down.

Malt: ESB, Special B, Crystal, muncih, caramunich, carafa 2, flaked. Hops: Apollo, golding. British ale yeast.

untitle8dThe beer pours deep brown with hints of amber. There are strong notes of malt on the nose with mild hints of chocolate, coffee and hops. The beer starts off on the palate with a pleasant grain note and a touch of sweetness before moving off into very light notes of milk chocolate with just a hint of coffee hiding in the background. Those flavors are joins by a malty sweetness that embraces the roast and the finish displays just a touch of hop character, playing hide and seek on a long fade. Not as deep as some browns, but easy to drink and well layered.

NW Peaks Magic Brown takes the stage and pulls 3 rabbits out of a hat out of 5.

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