REVIEW: New Belgium + Ben & Jerry’s Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale
Well THAT’S the longest name for a beer in the world.
I’ve been eagerly waiting Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale’s release since I first heard about it last spring. I have the great fortune of living next door to New Belgium Brewery, and they let the news about this collaboration leak awhile ago. Unfortunately they were keeping all tastings restricted to employees only, but they assured locals that it was going to be worth the wait. “I’ll be the judge of that,” I whispered to no one in particular.
The Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale is an ambitious beer, and not just in title. The bottle states that it’s a brown ale “laden with chocolate, salted-caramel, and vanilla goodness.” New Belgium is famous for their beer experiments, and they’ve had a pretty big range of success. Some have been total flops (Gratzer, anyone?), while others were just flawless (Tart Lychee, I miss you every day). This combination sounded like it would be hard to mess up, though. Brown ale lends itself so well to chocolate and sweet notes; really the only question would be how intense they decided to go on each flavor.
The beer smells delicious: a solid brown ale with definite chocolate notes. The taste is even better, though it’s on the understated side. It tastes first and foremost like a chocolate brown ale, but if you really go slowly and concentrate (which is every normal person’s favorite way to drink), you pick up the vanilla notes as you swallow. The salted caramel aspect is the most subtle, and it took a few sips for me to figure out where it was, but after awhile it adds a nice little layer right at the beginning of the sip. I liked this beer more as it warmed up and all those sweet layers were more easily distinguishable from each other. Also, for science, I paired this beer with some of Sheila G’s Salted Caramel Brownie Brittle. They worked together SO well; it was a delicious snack but also brought out the best in the beer. The extra saltiness from the brittle gave the ale an oomph that it needed.
All in all, this beer is super enjoyable. I’m not sure if the flavors will be intense enough for people who are hoping for liquid alcoholic ice cream, and the salted caramel is definitely a minor player here, but I think the whole thing works anyway. If nothing else, it’s a great excuse to eat an entire package of Brownie Brittle.
Ugh, I’m so full now, and buzzed, but I ate all the Brownie Brittle and drank all the Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale. Looks like it’s time for Plan B, aka dunking Oreo’s in Bailey’s until something goes wrong. Happy Monday, everyone!
Sheila G’s Salted Caramel Brownie Brittle Rating: 8 out of 10
How Much More I’m Gonna Drink Tonight Rating: Uh Oh out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 out of 10