Do you like coffee? Do you like hazelnut flavored coffee? If you do, chances are you’ll enjoy hazelnut flavored beer, too. Before you think too long on that, let me qualify that by saying hazelnut-flavored dark beer. Hazelnuts work extremely well with brown ales, porters, and stouts, and why wouldn’t they? Roasted malts have flavors similar to roasted coffee beans, after all.
Enter Samuel Adams Hazel Brown, introduced in the 2012 fall 12-pack from Boston beer. This intriguing brown ale made with natural flavors is a tasty bit of fall in a bottle, and although it only came two bottles to a 12-pack in 2012, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see it released in six-packs at some point. (It returned in the 2013 fall sampler).
Ingredients from the brewery website:
Samuel Adams two-row pale malt blend, Caramel 60, Dingeman's biscuit, Paul's roasted barley
Hallertau Mittelfrueh Noble hops, East Kent Goldings
And Boston Beer has this to say about their Hazel Brown:
This flavorful dark brown ale has a distinct hazelnut aroma and taste. Slightly sweet caramel and toffee malt notes accentuate the pleasant roasted hazelnut character. This medium-bodied brew finished smooth with an underlying spiciness from the hops.
And here’s what I have to say:
Samuel Adams Hazel Brown pours to a dark brown color with a thick and creamy head formation and roasty-nutty, buttery hazelnut infused nose. Taking a sip, the beer has good, solid hazelnut flavor and is very nutty (both in a malty way and a genuinely nutty way). The body is smooth and creamy with soft chocolate chip cookie notes in the palate, and becomes slightly sweet in the finish. Subtle chocolate shows up, too.
This beer is a bit like the Toffeefay candy bars I sometimes enjoy, I think. The hazelnut comes out more as the beer warms. I think it could use more body and hazelnut flavor, actually. The natural comparison is to Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar, and in my estimation the Rogue beer wins that battle. It has more caramel and body to it, and most importantly, more hazelnut flavor.
Still, you will find those things in Samuel Adams Hazel Brown, if in lower degrees. This is a nice drinkable brew in its own right, and it should be remarked definitely more affordable. I would certainly bring home a six-pack if it were offered again in that fashion.
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.