24 Beers of Christmas – December 14th: Troubled Monk Brewery Open Road
Brown in the glass. Silver in the trophy case. Fresh off a 2nd place finish in the American Brown Ale category of the 2016 World Beer Cup, Trouble Monk Brewery‘s Open Road is sure to win the admiration of anyone who appreciates a good, roasty beer.
Opened in Red Deer, Alberta, in 2015, Troubled Monk is just one of the many new craft breweries that have started up since the Government of Alberta made a significant reforms to production licensing in the province. Up until 2013, a new brewing company would need to reach a production capacity of 500,000 L within a year and a half of opening. To put it into perspective, that’s a million pints of beer! Since the regulations were loosened the number of Alberta breweries has nearly tripled, with 40 breweries listed on RateBeer.com and more on their way. Yes, there’s plenty to get excited about with a new industry booming in Alberta, and Open Road is a prime example of the numerous quality products you can find across the province today.
If you love malt and you love hops and you are unwilling to compromise, an American Brown Ale is a style worth trying. With an often more pronounced malt flavour, rich chocolate, toffee and nut, than is characteristic of its British counterpart, American Brown Ales also differ in terms of their generally high alcohol content and increased hop bitterness. Refreshing, usually American, hop varietals cut some of the sweetness and contrast the heavier parts of the beer. Like salty and sweet the byproduct is distinctly satisfying, so much so that it’s easy to find yourself indulging in more than one.
As you might expect from an award winning beer, Open Road hits the key stylistic criteria of an American Brown Ale on the money. Look for cocoa, hazelnut and toffee, along with some subtle cherry and smoke, topped off with lovely grassy hops.
Style: American Brown Ale – 5.5% ABV, ? IBU
Food pairings: Roast Beef, Lancashire Cheese, Brownies
Availability: Not Available in Ontario