Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Three Heads - Bromigo Smoked Maple Amber Review

Brewery: Three Heads (NY)
Style: Amber Ale / Smoked Beer
ABV: 7.0 %
Grade: B

There are very few styles of beer — or flavors found in beer, if you will — that I don't enjoy enough to enjoy them at their extreme. Smoked beers are one of the few exceptions — I enjoy the flavor up until a certain point, and when exceeding moderation, it's just too much. Here, for once, I admire restraint. Smoke can add an interesting new dimension to a beer, but not much complexity of its own, in my opinion; the underlying beer must already hold that complexity. So it's perfect for weird hybrids like this. Three Heads could have gone overboard with this, easily; overly smokey beers often have a "bacon" taste to them, and I could see many people being interested in a maple-smoked bacon sort of thing.

Fortunately, Bromigo doesn't try to blow you away with intense competing flavors. An amber ale makes for a nice base — nothing that stands out too much on its own, but sweet enough to flesh out the other flavors, and hoppy enough to bring some spice, and some extra kick. The malts quickly embrace a bit of extra sweetness from the maple syrup; not a strong flavor, but noticeable enough to be there when you look for it. Finally, there's the smoke — it's there for the whole ride, and it dominates the aroma, but mostly makes itself known when the other sweet flavors have subsided. While it's always the most dominant flavor in the beer, it still comes across as restrained, if not subtle. 

Availability: 22 ounce bottle. Three Heads has been making their way across New York, and recently entered NYC.

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