My vacation had not started well. Passing through Alabama on my way to Biloxi, MS, I had stopped for the night in Montgomery with the intention of trying the beers at the Montgomery Brewing Company, the local brewpub. Sadly, they were closed for a private party that night, so my thirst went unquenched, and we decided to trek on to Biloxi.
I made out much better there, scoring some of the local brew from the Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company of Kiln, Mississippi. I had not tried their beers before, which also meant I hadn't yet sampled a beer brewed in Mississippi in my lifetime, since Lazy Magnolia is the state's first brewery since prohibition.
One of the two Lazy Magnolia beers I happened upon was the Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale, which was the one I was most anxious to try. My six-pack had a best by date of 12/10/201, so I knew the beer should be reasonably fresh. It was also refrigerated in the cold case at Winn Dixie, which also boded well.
I had only tried one other beer made with pecans before, that one form the nearby Abita Brewery in Louisiana. Lazy Magnolia claims their pecan ale came first. I was not entirely impressed with Abita's Pecan Harvest Ale , mostly because I really didn't taste a lot of pecans in the beer.
That certainly wasn't the case with Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale. Lazy Magnolia uses roasted pecans, crushed into a grist just like barley malt to make their beer. Abita uses pecan oil, and the difference is readily apparent. Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale is made with Marris Otter and caramel malt in addition to the pecan grist, and it's hopped with domestically grown tettnangs and magnums. Lightly so, so as not to overshadow the pecans according to the brewery. The beer is moderate in alcohol at 4.5% by volume.
Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale pours to a deep mahogany color with a thick creamy head formation and an enticing nose of sweet dark malt and a hint of nutty pecan. I had heard good things about this beer, to be sure, but taking a sip, I have to say that Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale was even better than I expected. The beer has a full, rich sweet maltiness up front that's exceptionally appealing, and even a tad heavier than your average brown ale.
The beer hints lightly at molasses and, of course, toasted nuts. Part of that nuttiness is the malty sort that lightly toasted malts can impart. But what really impresses me here is the pecan flavor. I can actually taste the pecans in this beer, in all their slightly sweet, distinctly nutty glory. The molasses and nuttiness even suggest a heaping slice of Pecan Pie.
I don't get a lot of hops here, perhaps just enough to balance, but the pecan seems to add a drying character all it's own. All in all, an extremely well done pecan brew, hands down the best of the two I've sampled. Not to be missed.
Update: 5/18/2014: Do I have bad luck with this beer? I'm beginning to wonder. A few years ago, Lazy Magnolia beers made their entrance in Georgia. The Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale appears on and off at my local Taco Mac, but the first time I tried to order it the line was infected and the beer was bad.
Luckily, a new keg arrived recently and the beer was its usual slightly sweet dark malty self, redolent with toasted pecan nuttiness, light molasses and brown sugar notes. I really enjoy this beer, it's a wonderful break from the hyper hopped beers that seem to be the norm these days. Perfect for sipping on a warm Southern afternoon. Don't miss it.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.