Think of a colour

Word association time. I'm going to give you a beer description; I want you to think of a colour.


Here we go...


Thought of a colour? Was it...

auburn or beige or bistre or bronze

or camel or chestnut or coffee or copper

or fallow or khaki or ochre or russet

or sandy or tawny or tan or umber

or... BROWN?

I started thinking about this at a beer festival recently; the Holly Bush at Makeney had this key for its beers:

And then found this on Marston's website to describe their beer range:

(interesting amber = pale suggestion there).

And I've seen beer boards give scales of 1-5 to indicate colour from light to dark, like this at Derby's Furnace Inn:

Is brown boring? It is stock full of connotations; Manns and Newcastle and Nut Brown? Is it beyond post-ironic; Indian Brown and Hazel Brown?

Does brown = twiggy? Pale = hoppy?

Is brown beer the jazz equivalent of trad? If so, does that make pale the equivalent of bebop? White stout the equivalent of acid jazz?

Too many questions? Let's stop with one more.

If brown beer didn't exist, would you want to invent it?


  1. Old Tom is brown. Adnam's Broadside is brown. Harvey's Best is brown. Orval is brown. 5 a.m. Saint is brown.

    I could go on!

  2. From their respective websites:

    Old Tom - "Looks - Dark chocolate"

    Broadside - "dark ruby red"

    5am Saint - "amber"

    The others don't mention the beer's colour.

    I could go on ;-)

  3. Exactly - the word brown is uncool, so they all find ways of avoiding it. But they're just denying the obvious. I mean, "dark ruby red"? The only red beer I've ever had was a kriek.

  4. Weird Beard's "Boring Brown Beer" is....

    I don't know, not opened it yet

  5. We're looking forward to producing our July special - it will be out, loud and proud as a "Brown Bitter".
    Let's see how people take to it!

    Mark - Revolutions Brewing Co.