I just figured out that I've NEVER brewed a brown ale. Charlie Papazian's article and recipe for an American Brown Ale in the Mar/Apr edition of Zymurgy has inspired me. I think I'll brew my own version of this for my next "session beer" to have on tap. Session beer is defined by:
"Any beer that contains no higher than 5 percent ABV, featuring a balance between malt and hop characters (ingredients) and, typically, a clean finish - a combination of which creates a beer with high drinkability. The purpose of a session beer is to allow a beer drinker to have multiple beers, within a reasonable time period or session, without overwhelming the senses or reaching inappropriate levels of intoxication. (Yes, you can drink and enjoy beer without getting drunk.)"
I've never felt a need to have a brown ale on tap. I absolutely hate the sweeter versions of the style that lots of clone-happy extract brewers love, (like Newcastle). Mine will be crisp and clean, with a twist, (no doubt). I've tasted some very nice versions of this style over the years, but nothing comes to mind as "outstanding" or especially memorable. I would like to at least try to brew a "very decent" tasting beer that some would say is at least memorable.
For the last 2 years or so, my session beer of choice to have on tap has been a Kölsch. Non-beer-snobs who are scared to venture "out of the box" usually like my versions of a Kölsch, so it's a nice beer to have on hand. It's also a nice palate-cleanser between high-gravity beer tastings. It's just always been a decent beer to have around. (I used to have American Pale Ale on tap for the same reasons).
I'll try a brown, for a while, instead. I'll let you all know what I come up with for a recipe. I won't be able to brew it for a couple of weeks, though, due to time constraints. Darn!