One of Northern California’s greatest delights is a trip up the Pacific Coast Highway, sampling the many local brews along the way. That drive will eventually land you in Eureka, home of Lost Coast Brewery. Owners Barbara Groom and Wendy Pound have been turning out craft beers in this gorgeous little town since 1990, when they launched their flagship, Downtown Brown.
Downtown Brown is a brown ale very much in the style of English beers. One could be forgiven for thinking it was a root beer with its chestnut body and pale head, but one quick sniff of the pint glass removes all doubt. The nose is nutty and a little smoky, not unlike a stout but not quite as potent. And that’s the fascinating thing about this beer: It’s Newcastle class with Guinness performance.
Downtown Brown’s body is more like an ale, not quite so heavy on the tongue, with notes of yeast and toasted malt that give this beer a much stronger flavor than one expects on first glance. The finish is just bitter enough to let me know it’s there.
Good news for those of you who can’t currently find Downtown Brown in your area: Lost Coast Brewery is significantly ramping up production, so maybe this lovely brown ale will find its way into your pint glass soon.
Brewery: Lost Coast Brewery
City: Eureka, California
Style: English Brown Ale
Availability: Year Round