I've always really enjoyed brown ales. They really lend themselves to some terrific flavors and creativity among brewers. A brown ale can be smooth like liquid caramel with one pint and brash and hoppy with another. It's a style that provides a great canvas for the brewers out there and an awesome experience for the beer drinker.
Sweet Josie is my first experience with Lonerider Brewing Co. and I can assure you it won't be my last. This was a really great beer that pleasantly surprised me. I think I paid about $10 or so for the growler. Haven't seen it on shelves around here so I'm not sure what it costs bottled up. But whatever it is, they should be flying off the shelves consistently because this was quite tasty and very well done.
Here's the rundown: A temptress who will seduce you, Sweet Josie is crafted in the American Brown style. This is a complex beer balancing a nice hop bitterness with a generous amount of chocolate and aromatic malts. 6.1% ABV.
In hindsight, the photo above doesn't do the look of the beer in the glass justice. It fills the glass eagerly and is very appealing to the eye. Pretty dark for a brown ale that is set off by a decent one finger head. It is reminiscent of a good porter in this way. The head lingers as you drink. Good bit of lacing in the glass too.
The smell of this brown ale is tempting as well. Hints of bitter hops that plays in and around the smell of chocolate roasting on a fire. There's a warmth to each whiff that plays well with the look of the beer. The main aroma is sweet malted grains for sure, but you know right away there's a complexity to this one that is going to grab you.
So we taste it. Wow, great balance here. There is some definite hop bitterness that is eventually outplayed by the malts and chocolate flavors, but overall the spiciness blends really well with the sweetness. There's more to it than chocolate and faint hops though. Maybe some charred fruits and roasted nuts blended together.
The mouthfeel is straightforward. Richness plays well throughout but the finish is pretty dry. It's very drinkable and the carbonation works nicely with the flavors.
Overall this one was a hit from the start. Sweet Josie is like that lovable outlaw that you can't help but be drawn to even though you know she has a dark side. Get this beer and drink it. You may not like it as much as I did, but you will enjoy it I'm sure. The complexity is intoxicating and the simplicity is impossible to say no to.