Ok, so the label is emblazoned with a large American car of 1950’s vintage. In my books that’s a good start, say what you will about America, they’ve given us some fine looking cars. Another good thing that America has is given us is the American brown ale, currently one of my favourite styles. Much hoppier than their English counterparts, the American Brown is more of an after-dinner sipper. The Brooklyn Brown is a good example of the style and, thanks to Palais imports, should hopefully be available here soon.
The beer describes itself as a “big ass” brown ale and marketing bullshit aside, that descriptor isn’t far off the mark. The Tailpipe is big in every way, we’re talking big ass like Matt Preston. You’ll want to savour the pour, it slides from the bottle like a velvet snake, creating a thick, rich looking chocolaty head. The body is very dark brown, indeed almost porterish in appearance, and lace is abundant, a solid frothy cap lasting all the way to the bottom of the glass. This is one seriously good looking beer, although the streaks of white sediment that collect near the bottom of the glass are a bit odd.
Things only improve on the nose, which is really sweet with candy and sherbet characters mixed with plum and a dry, roasty coffee aroma.
The promises made by the appearance and aroma are affirmed once you take the first sip. An initial, solid hit of roasted malt is backed by a wet, organic earthy character spiced with tobacco leaves. The espresso bitterness of the mid palate is balanced by a dry, port-like sweetness which carries onto the finish.
I hope no one takes this out of context but the Tailpipe feels pretty damn good in the mouth, very dense and tongue-coating with little in the way of carbonation.
To say I’m impressed would be an understatement; this beer delivers on all fronts. Perfect on its own, it matched really well to a plate of barbeque spare ribs. There are lots of good American brown ales crafted in this country at the moment, the Cavalier Brown and 2 Brothers Growler being notable examples but the Tailpipe really takes the cake, it is glorious in every way. We’ll have to see how it stacks up next to the Feral King Brown...