Tilburg's Dutch Brown Ale: Toothbrush Not Included
Jun 1, 2004
The Bottom Line Tilburg's Dutch Brown Ale is highly drinkable, smooth, soft brown ale which can exhaust one’s palate after a time. Still, a tasty sweet ale excursion.
Few beers Ive tried recently have been as weirdly welcoming as the first taste of Tilburgs Dutch Brown Ale (made by Bierbrouwerij de Koningshoeven, Tilburg, the Netherlands), a new offering in my neck of the woods (imported by Bavaria USA in Dallas Texas).
Weird because the label art is based on Dutch painters Jeroen (Hieronymus) Boschs [1450-1516] The Garden of Earthy Delights. The detail depicts a birdlike creature devouring a human with other birds emanating from the humans backside. (No, I was not in an altered state, nor was I suffering flashbacks to a memorable concert with "special effects" in 1979.)
Tilburgs Dutch Brown Ale pours out to a mahogany rich caramel brown color with a full head of beer lace. The aroma gives off a note of nutty butterscotch like flavors.
Welcoming because this brown ale is sweet, sweet, and more sweet. The sweetness runs the spectrum of sweet sensations here: caramel, coffee, and some toffee and slight honey-like flavors with a chocolate nuttiness present as well. The mouthfeel is pretty much described as an onslaught of sweetness from the malt, with a very subtle note of hops dryness at the finish.
Compared to the well-known Newcastle Brown Ale, the flavors of Tilburgs Dutch Brown Ale are certainly much sweeter. Newcastle strikes me as much more of a session ale by design, whereas the flavor profile of Tilburgs Dutch Brown Ale may strike some drinkers as cloying, or overly sweet, and not conducive to multiple tastings at one sitting.
Im Calling It a Brown Ale, But
Tilburgs Dutch Brown Ale is also described in one package handout as a Dutch Trappist Ale, that is, an ale brewed under the Trappist monk traditions of Belgium. Its not clear from the label information as to whether Tilburgs Dutch Brown Ale is, indeed, an authentic Trappist ale, or just one based on the Trappist tradition (an Abbey ale). The Web site (www.tdba.nl) is in Dutch and does link to the La Trappe site.
In any event, Tilburgs Dutch Brown Ale is the kind of flavor experience that some beer drinkers may shy away from. I found it highly drinkable, easily so, though the heavy sweetness can exhaust ones palate after a time. To its credit, however, the ale is very smooth, with a softness to it that makes for one tasty sweet ale excursion.
Tilburgs Dutch Brown Ale is packaged in 11.2 oz bottles so those keeping score at home are losing 4.8 oz of beer/ale if youre that cost conscious. At $6.99 a six-pack, it was a worthy experiment and I would recommend it ( 4 stars) for beer drinkers looking for something a bit beyond their usual fare. Just pack a toothbrush for when youre finished.