I rarely drink Samuel Adams Beers, but I am certainly glad I discovered this one.
Its hiding place, far from the shopper's view, was in the very rear of my local grocer's "Craft Your Own Pack" selection of single bottles; likely the victim of a Harvest Collection Variety Pack that was mistakenly divided in to its individual contents.
I was hopeful my digging would uncover something new. And it did.
As much as this is a surprise, it is likewise satisfying.
Hazel Brown pours dark copper, more brown than a penny. A thin, slightly dirty tan head develops and quickly disappears. Thin, slightly sudsy, and generally appealing lacing is left along the inside the glass.
Toffee is the most dominant characteristic in both aroma and flavor as the beer settles. However, the scent, before giving way to toffee, initially offers hints of malts and caramel.
The flavor is first of an earthly nuttiness; almost similar to the taste of pecans, but less sweet. Eventually, the bold toffee trait takes over.
To say that the Hazel Brown's character is dominated by toffee may sell the balance short. While the toffee is bold, it is never overwhelming, and surely enjoyable throughout.
Hazel Brown's texture is buttery upfront. Slight creaminess is constant and is accompanied by carbonation that hits in the middle of the palate. The carbonation fades quickly, leaving a lingering malty aftertaste.
I really, really like this beer. Samuel Adams likely does many styles of beer better than I give the brewery credit. Unfortunately, in its case, it is usually lost to the dilemma of so many great beers, and so little time.
But I am happy I made time for this one.
And I have no hesitation offering Samuel Adams Hazel Brown a rating from TheCraftBeerGuru.com of four out of five possible stars, and a strong recommendation.