It’s a shame that this review doesn’t have
background music embedded in the page. If that were possible, I’d have a
midi file of Sweet Georgia Brown playing to set the mood for this
review. Since it’s not possible, I’ll simply ask for your cooperation.
Perhaps you can hum the tune as you read (it’s the theme song for the Harlem
Globetrotters, if that helps).
Sweet Georgia Brown is more than a catchy tune these days, however. It’s a beer, too, and a very good one. Brewed by Atlanta’s Sweetwater Brewing Company, this is a soft, malty ale that fits in stylistically as an English dark mild or brown ale. Sweetwater’s Georgia roots make the name a natural, and they play up the musical connection on the label, which sports musical notes and the image of an old-style 45-RPM record adapter.
Mild ales are usually low in alcohol, and Sweetwater’s is no exception. This lends them to drinking in larger quantities without being overly intoxicating. Such beers are frequently referred to as “session ales”. They are well suited to sipping over extended periods, either in the pub or at home with friends.
I often enjoy Sweet Georgia Brown in the pub, and I like to keep plenty of it on supply at home too. My beloved Barbara is rather fond of it; she especially enjoys its slightly sweet, chocolaty flavors. The brand has certainly become ubiquitous here in Georgia. It can be found on tap at just about every beer bar with a fairly decent selection, and is readily available in many liquor stores.
Recently, a Sweetwater sales rep was on hand at Sherlock’s in Marietta handing out free pint glasses with a Sweetwater purchase. She noted that this is one of the company’s best sellers, and added that it was also her personal favorite. She’s not alone in her enthusiasm for Sweet Georgia Brown. The beer won a Gold Medal at the 2001 Great American Beer Festival in Denver in the English Style Brown Ale category. In 2002, Sweetwater earned more kudos: it was named Small Brewery of the Year at GABF and the company’s Kevin McNerny received the honor of Brewmaster of the Year.
It seems that in addition to brewing great beer, the folks at Sweetwater have a sense of humor, too, including some nifty one-liners printed inside their six-pack carriers. A few samples include “You should have bought a keg.”, “You are getting very thirsty”, “Fish swim in schools, beer in a pack”, and “If this was Chinese, you wouldn’t be able to read it”.
Sweet Georgia Brown Ale pours to a dark orange to light brown color with a slight tint of amber orange. An abundant creamy head forms on a gentle pour, and the nose is slightly sweet with a hint of citrusy hops. The palate is soft, refreshing, slightly sweet and smooth. A creamy malt texture caresses the tongue with each sip. Suggestions of chocolate cookies and a gentle nuttiness are apparent. The finish is sweet with a subtle citrus hop character. A very light bitterness balances the beer.
This is a very nice beer for sipping an afternoon away with. It’s a tasty companion to various fare, too: equally at home with spicy nachos, a seasoned steak, or even a chocolaty dessert. Available only in Georgia for now, but look for expanded distribution in the future.
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.