Friday, January 13, 2012

UPDATE: Bristol releases new Old Ale

Posted By on Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 10:34 AM

One more (and hopefully last) update.

The folks at Bristol say that a better description of the beer is as an Old Ale, not a Brown Ale, because it's not one.

So here's Beeradvocate's description of that style.

From that description, the malt body still lines up, but I don't recall getting any strong acidic notes, and certainly not any dark fruit hints. I'll still stick with my description below, in terms of the nuttier profile.

So I stand corrected, and what I should have said was something like how the beer was reminiscent of a brown ale, to me. Aside from Great Divide's Hibernation Ale and Avery's Old Jubilation (if those indeed qualify), I can't say I've had a bunch of Old Ales.

You'll find a list of old ales on the Beeradvocate page if anyone who's already tasted Bristol's beer thinks any of those line up as better comparables.

Otherwise, I regret the error and am grateful to the brewery for setting the record straight.

—— FRIDAY, JAN. 13, 10:34 A.M. ——

Thanks to Bristol brand marketer Matt Ward, I was able to sample Bristol's new English-style Old Ale last night.

Head brewer John Schneider and bottling line employee Troy Johnson, clearly excited for the release of Bristols latest brewmaster series offering.
  • Head brewer John Schneider and bottling line employee Troy Johnson, clearly excited for the release of Bristol's latest brewmaster series offering.

In brief: I'm a big fan.

But let's examine the style a little closer and I'll share my scribblings from my notebook — fittingly a Great American Beer Festival media notebook I've been using since this past year's event.

Firstly, here's how BeerAdvocate describes the style.

The first words I wrote down were "nutty," and "strong roasted flavor." And true to form, there was no hop aroma or bitter bite (the beer weighs in at 32 IBU's, as compared to say, New Belgium's Fresh Hop IPA at 79 units).

The brew has somewhat of a flat mouthfeel since those absent hops aren't stimulating the tops and sides of the tongue so much. It's a one-note flavor, that fortunately happens to be pleasant. And surprisingly mild for 7.3 percent ABV.

On the snooty end of associations that come to mind via the nose and flavor: I get old leather and musty air.

Side note: It's kinda amusing that something called a "brown" ale actually has a dark amber body that's opaque enough to see your hand on the other side of the glass.

Back to that BeerAdvocate link, if you like Newcastle or Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale, you'll dig this.

—— JANUARY 6, 11:57 A.M. ——

And we're back.

So the word on the English-style Old Ale's release date is this: Thursday, Jan. 12.

Some more background: This is part of Bristol's new "Brewmasterhouse Series," of which last month's Christmas Ale was the first installment. Label design-wise, you'll notice a similarity between the two with the vertical Bristol logo, front and center.

Expect more specialty brews, like an Imperial IPA and a Wit, throughout 2012, to be bottled in 22-ounce bombers.

And a related note on upcoming beers: Black Fox Brewing's Somnombulance, a Belgian brown, will be released the next day for Friday the 13th.


Hey, beer peeps.

Bristol Brewing Co. will have a new beer on the market soon, and yes, those are unicorns that you see on its label.

According to Bristol brand marketer Matt Ward, the Old Ale logo plays off the Bristol family crest from old England.
  • According to Bristol brand marketer Matt Ward, the Old Ale logo plays off the Bristol family crest from Old England.

And here's what we know about the beer's makeup, from info provided by the brewery:

Style: English Old Ale
Color: Amber
Body: Light/Medium
Malts: 2-Row, Crystal, Chocolate
Hops: Goldings, Tettnang, Sterling
Alcohol: 7.3
IBUs (est.): 32

Additionally, we're informed that the beer has been bottle-conditioned since this past August, and that this "very traditional ale is medium-bodied and singularly malty, supplying sweet caramel undertones and age-related character at every turn."

What I don't have for you this moment is an exact release date, so hang tight and I'll update this blog with that and maybe a few more details in the coming days.

Until then, try not to act like an English soccer hooligan if your anticipation becomes too great. Don't spoil the game.

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