Review Date 11/17/2015
Hello! Here’s a new beer from Atlanta’s Sweetwater Brewing that has fast become a new favorite of mine. The beer is called Sweetwater Hash Brown, described by the brewery as a “hop hash infused India Style Brown Ale”. It’s also the third beer from Sweetwater that I know of that uses hop hash (see the graphic from Sweetwater below for details about hop hash), with the first two being Johnny Hash Double IPA from their Dank Tank series and then the year-round Sweetwater Hop Hash Infused Double IPA.
What, though, is an India Brown Ale? It’s not all that far removed from India Dark Ale in my experience, with perhaps fewer and softer dark malts used, and just a tad hoppier than an American Brown Ale. You could call it a really hoppy American brown I suppose, but I think India Brown Ale really deserves a style all its own. Sweetwater’s Hop Hash really reinforces that argument, though Dogfish Indian Brown was probably the first true India Brown Ale I ever tasted. American Brown Ale, of course, is a relatively new style, with Brooklyn Brown Ale and Pete’s Wicked Ale perhaps being a few of the first examples in the 90s.
From the label:
Oh me oh my… what did we do? We fired up the skillet to 420°, tossed in a sizzling concoction of 2-row, Wheat, Pale Chocolate, Cara-Brown and Midnight Wheat, then added in a hefty dose of hop hash and other dank-ish-ish-ish fixin’s to scatter, smother and cover this baby all the way.
Resiny, citrusy hops spice up the rich chocolate and caramel notes the malt brought to the mix, making this platter slide down the counter at 60 IBU’s.
Hops used from the website:
Hops: Mandarina Bavaria, Bravo, Hop Hash
Sweetwater Hash Brown has an alcohol content of 6.2% by volume and runs $8.99 a six-pack, a pretty good deal. It’s also a deal on draft at $5 a pint, or 20-ounce mug in my case. This is a seasonal release for fall, and my bottle has a best by date of 12/7/15 stamped on the label. I think it could go longer though.
Sweetwater Hash Brown India Brown Ale pours to a dark brown to mahogany color with a very thick rocky tan head formation and an explosive nose of pine tar and soft chocolate. Taking a sip, the beer has a smooth softly chocolaty cookie malty palate up front. Enjoy that while you can. Because the massively bitter hops emerge quickly in all their extremely resiny, green grassy herbal intensity and flourish with a massively bitter explosion in the finish. Hash Brown provides excellent hop burps, too!
It’s amazing how resiny and bitter this beer is, and I for one love the hell out of it. The resiny hop hash infused flavors really work well against the soft, cookie-like malts here. I’ve had Hash Brown three times now at Taco Mac on draft and a few times at home in the bottle, and I’ll soon be buying more before it goes out of season. It’s that good.
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.