When it comes to fall beers, Brown Ale clearly does not get a lot of love. What with Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers, Brown Ale just gets forgotten. But that ends this weekend, when half a dozen Illinois breweries kick off their Craft Beer Week by getting together to each offer their take on the classic style.
What is a Brown ale?
Ironically, Brown ales are often confused with or linked to Porters. Brown ales are sweeter and do not have much of a roasted malt flavor. Brown ales are nutty leaning-toward chocolatey.
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Craft Beer Week
Craft Beer Week returns to southwest Illinois Oct. 15 to Oct. 22. The week kicks off with the Craft Brew Fest Saturday, Oct. 15 from Noon to 4 p.m. at Old Herald Square in Collinsville.
This event features samples of beer from the six participating breweries including Old Herald Brewery & Distillery, Old Bakery Beer Co., Opera House Brewing, Schafly Highland Square, Recess Brewing and Peel Brewing.
Each of the breweries will be serving up their own version of a Brown Ale based on the same base beer. The base Brown Ale is 4.5% ABV, 25 IBU and 20 SRM and each beer will include a different locally-sourced ingredient.
Schlafly – Honey Brown Ale
Old Herald – Wheat Brown Ale
Peel – Belgian Brown Ale
Recess – Spiced Brown Ale
Mississippi Culture – TBD
Opera House – Coffee Brown Ale
Old Bakery Beer: Corn Brown Ale
The Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau (of SW Illinois) has organized a collaboration brew between several Metro East breweries dating back to 2018.
“This year, we chose to do a Brown Ale with Illinois-produced grain or adjunct. We chose to brew ours with Bloody Butcher Corn, which lightens the body a bit. We also included a blend of nutty & toasty malts to round things out,” said James Rogalsky, head brewer at Old Bakery Beer in Alton.
R&R Nut Brown Ale, which is short for Rivers & Routes, will be lighter in body thanks to the Bloody Butcher Corn. It’s a classic English-style Nut Brown Ale brewed with toast & nutty malts and fermented with a British Ale yeast.
Brewers Tasting Notes:
- Overall Impression: Classic English-style Nut Brown Ale.
- Visual: Crystal clear. Dark Brown color. Ruby tones when held up to light.
- Aroma: Nutty, Toasty, bit of British Ale yeast character
- Flavor: Malty, smooth
- Mouthfeel: Mellow
- Body: Medium-low body
- Yeast: British Ale
- Hops: Palisade
- Malt: Brewers, Munich, Aromatic, Chocolate
- Other: Illinois-grown Bloody Butcher Corn.
- Cuisine: Fish & Chips!
There will also be coffee samples available during the fest from local roasters including Heart2Heart, Verona Coffee and Mina’s. Vendors and live music are also on tap.
Tickets are $30 per person and includes coffee and beer tasting with a commemorative glass; $10 per person for coffee tastings only and admission is free for designated drivers. Tickets can be purchased here.