Growler Taste Test: Railhouse Brewery KA-BAR Brown Ale

I like knives.  Other people like guns, but I like edged weapons better.  I’m never going to accidentally shoot myself in the foot with my knife.  Though I have sliced open a finger or two through carelessness with a really sharp blade.

While I am partial to folding blades the one fixed blade that I want is the old school USMC KA-BAR.  The KA-BAR is like blue jeans, specifically Levis.  Why?  They are not the flashiest or the newest product out there, but they have survived and become iconic because their simple design is timeless.  Say what you want but you put on a white dress shirt with a pair of good jeans and nice shoes and you can just about go anywhere.  Or I should say anywhere I really want to go.

The same is true of the KA-BAR.  Its simple design has not changed significantly since World War II because the design was so good and so simple as to be timeless.  Like Levis every other design by every other manufacture is based on that original.

The owners of Railhouse Brewery in Aberdeen, NC are all US military veterans so it seems fitting that they would name a beer after the KA-BAR and it is even more fitting that is of a classic English style.

20150722_183441The KA-BAR Brown Ale is an American interpretation of the southern English-style brown ale.  The Southern or London style brown is a darker, maltier, and stronger version then the Northern style whose primary exemplar was Newcastle until the classic recipe was changed.  The London style is still less hoppy and not quite as strong as its American counterparts.

The KA-BAR pours a deep dark brown color and develops a thick foamy off-white head.  The head has good lasting power and develops a malty chocolate/coffee aroma.  There is little hop aroma to be had.

There is also little hop taste evident.  The bitterness in the taste mostly comes from the bitterness of the chocolate and coffee malts.  The chocolate taste in particular has more in common with bakers chocolate then with any chocolate bar you will buy in the grocery store.  It has a quick soft feel on the palate.

The KA-BAR is a great interpretation of a London-style brown ale.  Incidentally, if you are lucky and find KA-BAR on tap, you might get to see the tap handle produced by KA-BAR Knives like this one here.  Apparently, this is one of those tap handles that manages to disappear when the wholesaler reps come to collect them.  I wonder why?

A classic knife and classic beer deserves a playlist of equally timeless and classic music.  I present The Man In Black, Johnny Cash.