Bell’s Best Brown Ale

I wonder why I am getting a subscription to Essence Magazine?

I ‘m sitting here pondering some mysteries tonight.

1. Why it took me 155 days to complete my mission to finish all 55 different brews in my little fridge.
2. Why Bell’s Best Brown Ale is only available from September until January.
3. Why it doesn’t fly off the shelves at the local stores and is still available in May.
4. Why a fat white boy like me has been receiving a subscription to Essence Magazine for the past year and a half.

That last one has me a bit stumped. The only subscription I actually pay for is Bicycling Magazine. I can sit on the porcelain throne and dream of speeding up a hill on a svelte $10,000 handmade Italian bike winning a yellow jersey in the Tour de France. I’m not sure how my demographic profile attracted some fulfillment house to send me a free subscription in the hope I would buy it. Here’s a hint. I don’t pay for Bicycling Magazine, it was a gift from Mrs. Dan. I’m cheap. I won’t subscribe to Essence because I keep getting it for free. It’s an interesting magazine. It has lots of celebrity profiles. The one on Tyler Perry was pretty cool. The beauty tips are a bit beyond me. But it’s a pretty classy magazine.

Can you believe it, it took me 155 days to drink 55 different beers. I know some people who could finish that off in about a week, two at the most. That’s roughly 1 every 3 days. Take into account that Beer Brother Mark helped me drink some and it was more like 1 every 5 days. But in reality I attend quite a few wine and beer tastings in the course of a week and alcohol doesn’t rule my life. I enjoy craft beer but I don’t live it. Besides if I drank a beer every day I would need to be riding that svelte Italian bike to burn off the calories or I would be an even bigger white boy.

I actually saved the Bell’s Best Brown Ale to be the last of the 55. I bought a six last Winter but finished it before I could review it. I then bought a single at Vineyard Wine Market for $1.79 and put it in the fridge for later review. It popped back up on my radar when I did my inventory back on June 20th.

I’m surprised to find that this is a seasonal. A beer this good should be available year round. The other mystery is why this beer doesn’t sell out during it’s September to January run in Augusta. I found it on the shelves as late as June in several stores (Roger sold out at the Vineyard). The good news is that this year’s batch is currently on the shelves.

I say this is available through January because the availability chart on Bell”s Website has a solid purple shade through January. The color starts to fade until it disappears in April so I guess they stop making it in January and availability starts tapering off. The chart also says it has a shelf life of 6 months. They don’t filter their beer (they have a great bumper sticker that says “If God wanted us to drink filtered Beer he wouldn’t have given us livers.” ) so give it a modest shelf life. Well I am here to say that 11 months later this brew tastes as good as I remembered it back last January.

This bottle has a packing date of Dec. 22, 2011.

Bell's Best Brown Ale
Bell’s Best Brown Ale

This is a nice brown ale. Smooth, toasty, chocolaty, maybe a bit nutty. I think some caramel hints give it that smooth taste., A slightly bitter finish on the tongue. This is a nice balance of malt and hops. I like a nice dark malty beer. If it’s too malty I tend to gulp it. When you add the hoppy finish I tend to slow down. It reminds me that sometimes you got to slow down and take in all the tastes.

Here’s how Bell’s describes it on their site. “A smooth, toasty brown ale, Best Brown Ale is a mainstay in our fall & winter lineup. With hints of caramel and cocoa, the malt body has the depth to stand up to cool weather, but does not come across as heavy. This balancing act is aided by the generous use of American hops.”

I could drink this year round. Come to think about it I could drink their Oberon year round.

Now I’m pondering why I promised to not purchase any beer after June 20th until I finished the 55. (actually it grew to 58 because Mrs. Dan bought some without my knowledge). I pretty much kept my pledge… until last week. I broke it at Wine World’s Third Thursday tasting. I saw a 6 of Bell’s Christmas Ale and snapped it up. I know for a fact you will not find Bell’s Christmas Ale come December 1. It just flies off the shelf. I like the Best Brown Ale. I love the Christmas Ale (even though it cost me $13.50 to buy). When a fellow Bell’s lover notice what I did he grabbed a 6 as well. I totally missed out on the Octoberfest beers this year because of that pledge. I refused to also miss out on the Christmas brews.

I also had to break it today because I had to buy my turkey beer. Yes, I’m a heathen. I drink beer with my Thanksgiving meal. I did it last year. I was too lazy to complete the review and post it. But that’s another story which I will be posting in about 14 hours.

By then I will have won the Annual Thanksgiving Bird Contest. For the past two years Mrs. Dan and I have had a turkey cooking competition. We each cook our own birds and then have Mr. Ben and select friends determine who won.

I’m going all out this year having purchased a turkey cannon and have a special trick up my sleeve. What’s that? Stay tuned. It should be interesting.
From: Kalamazoo, Michigan
Brewery: Bell’s Brewery

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