Specialty malts bring intimations of brown sugar and vanilla which meld into the Gnarly’s character. Roasted coffee malt flavors and residual sweetness dance in harmony, obscuring the line between brown ale and porter.
5 Different malts in this beer give you a wonderful roasty, bready flavor that marries with a wonderful brown sugary sweetness in this beer. The whole thing is balanced out with MadTree’s wonderful ability to use hops to balance out a beer, in this case they are using Chinook and Cascade to cut through the sweetness and leave you desperate for another sip.
It’s a beer that gained a TON of fans around town, who were understandably heartbroken in 2016 when the news broke that due to a trademark dispute with Gnarly Head wine it would have to be retired. The beer had a hell of a farewell tour though, with infusions, barrel aged versions, and one last run of cans making their way around town. I write this updated review over my last can of it… sadness is replaced by excitement to realize that there is nothing stopping a beer simliar to this coming back from MadTree…
About MadTree Gnarly Brown
It blurs the line of styles, throwing caution to the wind in doing so.
It pours a dark brown color with a tan head – in the right light it starts to look black like a porter.
Aromas are deep roasted malt – coming off like a baked bread scent. MadTree Gnarly Brown kicks things up a notch with a slight hop aroma tucked away in the background enticing you to take that first sip.
It’s got a lighter mouthfeel that makes this go down easy at 7%. The flavors are a burst of toast, and sweetness. There is a really nice brown sugar note that fills the center of my palate as I sip away. Everything is blasted right at the end with a slight bitter bite of piney and outdoorsy hop notes. It leaves just a spicy bread flavor behind, lingering for a while after you finish the swallow.
What a great beer. There is much reason to be sad to see this go.