Thursday, December 18, 2008

Leinenkugel's Fireside Nut Brown Ale

Leinenkugel's has always walked that line between micros and macros. Many refer to their beers as gateway beer, an introduction to more flavorful, full bodied beers that while not as good as microbrews, offer an alternative to Miller and Budweiser products (though it should be noted that Leinenkugels is owned by MillerCoors). Lately they have eschewed more traditional beers, dumping the Northwoods Lager and the Big Butt Dopplebock for these gimmicky sweet beers aimed at non-beer drinkers like the Summer Shandy (beer & lemonade taste..bleech), Sunset Wheat (often compared to Fruity Pebbles), and the Apple Spice (a bad attempt at cider). The Fireside Nut Brown (and the beer that follows it, the 1888 Bock) hopefully signals a return to what made Leinenkugel's one of the most popular breweries in Wisconsin; medium bodied, easy drinking beers.

The Fireside Nut Brown beer has far more flavor than I expected, its malty and sweet, almost to the point where you could call it sticky. There is a lingering pleasant caramel/maple syrup aftertaste that really appealed to me. However, there still was something about this beer that almost tasted fake, much like the Sunset Wheat, but I still kind of enjoyed it. The carbonation seems excessive for this style of beer, kind of like that Budweiser American Ale. Had it had a little less effervescence it would have been better. Nonetheless, its one the better Leinenkugel's offerings in a long time. After two of these I grew tired of the sweetness and had to change to something else, which is par for the course for many of Leinenkugel's offerings.

Food Pairing Suggestions:

I think it would pair well with autumn fare like butternut squash or something with some acidity to balance out the sweetness like a roasted beet salad with a tangy vinaigrette. One could probably argue that it would be great on pancakes.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Leinenkugel's is NOT owned by Miller actually. Miller owns 49%. They merged with Miller simply for a better distribution. It was a way to get the product to all corners of the US.