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American Brown Ale's Replacement Level

Michael Donato, September 26, 2013 -   

We've done a couple of searches for replacement level beers here at BeerGraphs. Now we're going to take a look at American Brown Ales in the Northeast.  We're selecting the top 60% of total check-ins and defining that as readily available, and then looking for the beer that represents the lowest acceptable beer that everyone can get their hands on. The Northeast region represents New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. 

American Brown Ales don't have the following that some of the trendier styles do, but there are still some real winners here. It's a hearty and full-flavored style that provides brewers a great base to do some amazing things with. Using the methods we've established, I came up with Boathouse Brown Ale by Sebago Brewing Company with a 3.4 rating as our replacement level beer.

I've never heard of this brewery. This is because it's belongs in the New England portion of the Northeast, and it's distribution doesn't make it to New York. Looking closer, it's got a negative BAR (with the current, fixed, replacement level) at -0.95 placing it well below most of the rest of the sample. Making a judgement call and cutting it off just above that gives us Woodstock Inn Brewery's Pig's Ear Brown Ale with a 3.415 rating and 0.57 BAR. This also has a New England only distribution, but it still covers most of the Northeast. 

Here's the top bunch of American Browns. A note: The ratings column represents the average rating for the Northeast, but the wOBAR and BAR numbers are the worldwide numbers. 

Brewery

Beer

Rating

wOBAR

BAR

Smuttynose Brewing Co.

Durty (Small Batch #18)

3.9939

0.493

3.38

Kona Brewing Company

Koko Brown

3.8677

0.202

2.26

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Indian Brown Ale

3.8667

0.397

4.34

Rogue Ales

Hazelnut Brown Nectar

3.8218

0.423

4.67

Avery Brewing Company

Ellie's Brown Ale

3.7162

0.233

2.26

Otter Creek Brewing (Otter Creek & Wolaver's)

Shed Mountain Ale

3.6722

0.114

1.03

Sixpoint Brewery

Brownstone

3.6524

0.154

1.36

Captain Lawrence Brewing Company

Brown Bird

3.5930

-0.025

-0.16

Brooklyn Brewery

Brown Ale

3.4304

0.01

0.11

Woodstock Inn Brewery

Pig's Ear Brown Ale

3.4146

0.077

0.57

A small batch beer rises to the top here, representing a special focus on the style but highlighting just how under-represented the style is on Untappd. Check in to more Brown Ales readers! I

n fact, Smuttynose describes Durty as a refinement of their Old Brown Dog, which is an English Brown rated a couple of ticks lower at 3.54. I could, and probably will, write a whole post about the next beer, Kona's Koko Brown. Eyeballing this list I think it works out pretty well. The top beers are very good beers and it drops off quickly to beers that are perfectly acceptable, but nothing that special. 

So we'll go with a relatively unknown beer, the Pig's Ear Brown Ale, as our replacement American Brown Ale in the Northeast. I'd like to rerun this at a later date when we've gotten more check-ins, because I think we missed out on some pretty readily available beers just because not enough people are showing Browns any love. Missing from the top 60% of check-ins were beers from Rogue, Samuel Adams, and Abita that I know are on shelves in this region, and in my house. 

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