Years ago Devon and I were introduced to an amazing Hefeweizen from a brewery up in North Conway, New Hampshire called Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewing Co. A brewpub with barbecue? Yeah, we knew we had to check it out! With a group of friends we rented a place nearby, made our way up and enjoyed a weekend of great drink and fun times. Since then, I’ve been back a few times to the brewery. So you can believe I was ecstatic to find out that they were going to start canning some of their beers a while back, and even more so to discover that it was going to be in 24oz cans. I just came back from a camping trip to the White Mountains where I found Moat Mountain’s recent addition to their canned beer line, Bone Shaker Brown Ale, and made sure to bring one to bring back to Boston.
Calling this a brown ale is accurate, but it’s the darkest brown ale I’ve ever seen! It’s clear but so dark that I can barely see through it. For real, I looked “dark brown” on Google and this is what came up. Bone Shaker Brown is literally the definition of dark brown! Above the beer floats a head that is big, persistent and the light brown color of coffee with way too much cream in it.
Smell-wise this is one of the richest brown ales I’ve ever had in my life! Cocoa and high quality hot fudge are the first things I notice, which is really unusual for this style but I’m really digging it. There some earthy sweetness on the back, almost like blackstrap molasses. To use one of my favorite TV quotes (from Entourage’s Johnny Drama), I get “a hint of terra firma.” But, seriously, this is a beer for camping and it reminds me of how the woods smell after a good rain: earthly, sweet and full.
With a nose this big, you’d expect a big beer, right? Well you’d be wrong. It smells big, sweet, smooth and rich. It’s delicious, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a lot lighter on the palate with a nutty, slightly chocolate flavor. It’s similar in some ways to a turtle (the candy) with nutty cocoa and a bit of caramel sweetness...it’s a boozy turtle that finishes dry. The carbonation is pretty mild, which is great for this style, but also means something potentially even better; it’s good to drink from the can. This may not seem that important until you realize that Bone Shaker Brown is sold all over the place up in the White Mountains. In the White Mountains I like to camp. Being good to drink from the can means that it’s a great camping beer! So next time you’re up north, make sure you check this one out!