Reviewed: Big Sky Moose Drool Brown Ale
Product description: Our American Brown Ale is brewed with four different malts and hop additions consisting of East Kent Goldings, Willamette, and Liberty. This is the best American Brown Ale in the World. Light on the palate. Rich mahogany color. Subtle coffee and cocoa notes balanced with a pleasant bitterness. 5.2% ABV, 26 IBUs, 38 SRM.
Big Sky Brewing Co. – Big Sky Moose Drool Brown Ale – 12oz can served in specialty glassware – 5.2%
I’m not super familiar with Big Sky hailing from Montana, though I have had a couple of their beers in the past. Turns out that they have squeezed into the regional craft beer market thanks to their successful brown ale of all things. If you use Untappd check-ins as a surrogate, Moose Drool is the second most popular American brown ale in the country after Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar. It’s followed closely behind by Bell’s Best Brown Ale. Moose Drool has perhaps the least appetizing name, but it does have the most outrageous shelf presence with its lime green can and primary red, giant font brand name.
Sampled from a 12oz can, I’m opening this around 55° F since I dislike brown ales and anything higher SRM to be served too cold. Moose Drool looks similar to root beer going into the glass with high initial carbonation, soda-like fizzy tan foam, and a crystal clear reddish brown color. Hold it up to the light and there are dark ruby highlights. That head of foam doesn’t stick around for too long, though, lasting for only a minute.
The aroma greets you with toasted walnut, caramel, dark bread, and touches of lemon-scented soap that goes away after several minutes. As it warms, molasses and savory Vegemite peek through. It’s a classic aroma that is roasted malt focused.
The initial flavor is lightly roasty with an oily, creamier-than-expected mouthfeel. In the mid-palate, it becomes slightly bitter with dark bread crust overtaking with just a dash of brown sugar. The finish is quick and clean with touches of lingering bread crust and subtle acidity that is expected with roasted malt. The overall body is thin, though, but that’s okay for this style. Sweetness I would place at a 2 out of 10 intensity-wise and bitterness at 3/10. This is more in line with a classic brown ale when I imagine the style. It’s no frills and hits all the marks. Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale, which I reviewed earlier this month, I thought was a much richer beer, but it pushes the brown ale category to the extreme – falling more into stout/porter in my opinion.
Moose Drool overall is a beer for all palates and does the job for a toasted malt-focused session brown ale. There’s really nothing wrong with the beer except that it is unlikely to impress those who are looking for something unique. Moose Drool is predictable, simple, and is popular probably because it is easy-drinking and consistent.