Sierra Nevada Tumbler is a 5.5% ABV ‘Autumn Brown Ale’ that I picked up for The Brew Club because of the pretty picture on the label. (I’m a sucker for fall foliage!) Actually, Tumbler is a welcome change to the flood of Oktoberfest beers and the Pumpkin Ales that fill the shelves this time of year.
Being a brown ale, its something of a rare breed I suspect. Recently, we’ve seen Deschutes Brewery, Goose Island and Tröegs move away from their brown ale offerings. I suppose there is always the Newcastle Brown if it comes to desperation!
Honestly, I haven’t had too many brown ales, but the ones I have tried were hit and miss. Newcastle was not so good, but the Nut Brown ale I recently had from the Manor House Brewing people was simply amazing. It shows there is potential in any style.
Sierra Nevada Tumbler certainly plays the part of an Autumn beer well enough. Its brownish colors are reminiscent of the changing colors of the trees from summery green to orange, red and yellow to brown. Its a nice clear beer, and as you can hopefully see in the picture it creates a respectable foamy head.
The aroma is mostly malt, and its even a little raw smelling. Supposedly the malts are delivered to them more quickly after processing than normal, which might account for the wonderful freshness of the smell. What comes to my mind is richness, warmth and ambiguously sweet. Not much else to describe here.
I thought Tumbler’s taste mimicked the smell quite well. Again, its a very malt-forward brew that tastes a little raw – again, I imagine the super-fresh malts might account for this. It’s not a coffee beer, but there are some characteristics of freshly-ground coffee in there. There’s the sweetness that I mentioned above in the aroma, and oddly enough for a Sierra Nevada beer, there aren’t much in the way of hops in the flavor at all.
On one hand, this beer is pretty smooth and a nice drinker, and on the other hand it has this strange dryness that I didn’t care for and the aftertaste, to me wasn’t all that pleasant. While I was sipping the beer I was digging it, but I found myself not really looking forward to the next sip as the glass emptied.
Needless to say, I finished it all (big surprise) which brings me to this point. I like the Sierra Nevada Tumbler as an alternative to the Oktoberfest and Pumpkin Ale surge that we have to endure this time of year. Its also a brown ale, which seems to be a less and less popular style these days. Props for being different!
Still, I’m not overly thrilled with the beer and would probably pass on it in the future. Maybe I’m not into brown ales after all?
Have you tried Tumbler for 2010? What did you think of it?