Last weekend, my wife and I ventured into unknown territory for us, Northern New Hampshire. Located two-and-half hours north of Boston, nestled in the scenic White Mountains is a quaint-small town, North Conway. North Conway is best known for its outlet shopping, Settler's Green, however the food culture is what deserves the most praise and Moat Mountain Brewery and Smokehouse is at the heart of the under appreciated food culture. Situated at the base of a snow-capped mountain, a beautiful yellow colonial style home houses this purveyor of delicious beer and barbeque. A very welcoming hostess and wait staff allow the customer to feel instantly at ease. This comfort was present in the attentiveness and knowledge of our server who, based on my questioning, lead me to a wonderful dry stout. At the end of the meal, in which a california burger was completely devoured, Em and I decided to take a growler of the Moat Mountain Brown (she had a pint during lunch) back to Boston.
Once the pour is complete and the beer settles one characteristic of this beer instantly jumps out, its clarity. It is probably this clearest brown ale I have come across, which is saying a lot because Em is the brown ale guru. The Moat Brown is a dark-hued brown with subtle red highlighting and a very small-thin head.
The aroma from this beer is full of sweet caramel. This caramel is expertly balanced with the nuttiness of a traditional English ale. Although faint, there is a slight powdered-chocolate note completing a truly intoxicating aroma.
The first sip of this beer is every bit as good as the last. The taste is full of caramel and nutty quality that mimics the nose. Mixed in with these traditional English ale tastes are a welcomed toastiness and a burnt sugar quality. All these tastes combine with a refined hoppiness for a long lasting taste that is refreshing and welcoming.
The mouthfeel of this beer is spot on; the viscosity reveals a medium body with a slight chewiness. The carbonation is held in check leading to a very smooth, but somewhat dry finish.
At 5.5% ABV and tasting absolutely delicious, the Moat Mountain Brown is one of the best session beers that I have tasted. I appreciate the expertise the went into creating a truly authentic English-style ale. I look forward to our next journey to the White Mountains, Settler's Green, and the hidden gem in the New England beer scene, Moat Mountain Brewery and Smokehouse.