“Moose Drool” might sound like a strange name for beer, but it is serious business for Big Sky Brewing of Missoula, Montana, who count the brown ale as their top seller. Also taking it seriously is the Beer Judge Certification Program, which lists the brew as a prime example of an American Brown Ale in their Beer Style Guide.
Brown ale was first brewed in London during the 1600s and has been brewed ever since, with today’s notable examples including both Manns and Newcastle. American versions of brown ale are typically darker, somewhere between an amber ale and a porter, and are often sweeter than their English counterparts.
With its dark, nearly opaque, red-brown color and its thin, white foam, Moose Drool could easily be mistaken for a porter. But with an earthy, sweet, and chocolate-like smell, it has more in common with a sweet stout. There is little trace of a hop aroma as the flavor contains only 26 IBUs. What the flavor does posses, though, is a subtle, yet noticeable, hint of sweet chocolate and roasted malt, but without the heavy ‘mouth-feel’ or strong flavors that often come with a stout.
Although sweet, Moose Drool comes across as mild and balanced while still packing plenty of taste. Roasted malt is its predominant flavor, and while fans of other malty beers such as red ales, English brown ales, or Scottish heavy ales should enjoy Moose Drool, it should still satisfy the fans of darker porters and stouts. Moose Drool pairs well with greasy burgers and hot dogs and with a relatively light 5.3% alcohol content by volume, you will not suffer from drinking more than one in a sitting. As a well-crafted and flavorful example of the classic American style, Moose Drool earns a solid B grade.