Yards Brewing’s Brawler A Satisfying Session Beer
When it comes to the beers I review, I tend toward brews that are big and complex. Incredibly hoppy IPAs or dark-roasted, creamy stouts are all fair game. If it’s slightly overwhelming, I’m into it. The stronger the flavor, the more I have to write about.
That’s not always what one wants in a beer, however. There are times where it isn’t so much about quality as it is about quantity. All those beer styles I mentioned above are great, but you wouldn’t want to drink too many of them. Many have pretty high alcohol by volume, meaning that they get you drunk pretty quickly. After 22 ounces of a 13-percent ABV, maybe it’s not a good idea to have another.
This is where the session beer comes in, named because you can drink them for an entire session. These brews tend to focus on easier drinkability and lower ABVs so you don’t embarrass yourself too early in the night.
When we look at the drinking traditions of the world, many cultures have their own types of session beers. America certainly has its share of mass-produced lagers. Germany has its easy-drinking, malty brews. But when you think of sitting in a pub and knocking back a few, where do you think of? If you are anything like me, your thoughts tend toward England. Who better to lay claim to a proper session brew style? Better question: who better than Pennsylvania to improve upon it?
This week, I’m drinking Philadelphia’s own Brawler by Yards Brewing Co. It’s a self-proclaimed pugilist-style ale. Yes, Yards made up that classification. The reasoning behind the name was pretty cute, however: “For when you want to go a few rounds.” In truth, it is an English dark mild ale, which looks like someone drew a bunch of words out of a hat. Pugilist-style ale sounds a little less like someone playing mad libs.
The light brown pour had about a finger’s worth of head that quickly dissipated and a malty and slightly sweet scent. The malt was a bit toasted but not so much that it acquired a coffee scent. Pleasingly, there also was some caramel in the nose. The scent wasn’t complex, but it was satisfying.
I didn’t think much of the taste at first, as it wasn’t very aggressive. The more I drank, however, the more it grew on me. It reminded me a bit of a light brown ale but with a kind of chocolate-caramel ice cream thing going on. That’s not to say that it was super sweet or full of cocoa nibs, because it certainly was not. It also had a nice nuttiness to it with just a slight amount of roast up front.
All of this came with a nice, thin body. This brew was super drinkable but still managed to have a decent amount of character. I was well into a second bottle by the time I got this far in the writing.
If you’re looking for a decent beer to drink over the long hall, this is a pretty good option. It’ll be good to you for a long while.