I’m going to rewind to the early days of MadTree when my buddy first told me about them. I remember walking into the taproom for the first time. It was the first time I actually stepped foot into a brewery that wasn’t a macro brewery. At that point in my life I liked craft beer, but I wouldn’t say I loved craft beer. MadTree was the gateway into a new passion in my life. Beer. And do you know which one did it? Gnarly Brown.
Gnarly Brown was the first beer I ordered that night and something just clicked with me. The combo of the coffee, chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and hop bitterness was literally in perfect harmony. I think the bitterness was what grabbed my attention the most. It’s like nothing I had ever tasted before. From that day on a new favorite was born. Gnarly Brown was always my go to when grabbing a six pack at the store and I always had to get at least one each time I visited MadTree’s taproom.
Fast forward to today. The end. The end of an era. Gnarly Brown is no more. I remember when MadTree announced PSA would be coming to cans and I was pretty happy, but then I learned it was taking the place of Gnarly Brown…strange. I felt like I misread it. How could one of their staple beers get pushed off by a newcomer? Oh it would be back I thought…but I was mistaken. I know why and it makes sense, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Never fear though! Even though Gnarly Brown is fading into the night it will rise up once again. It will be branded differently and released on a limited basis. They’ll probably also be doing some fun crazy things with it as well. You can probably figure out why it’s going away from that.
Edit: Well it seems the internet has figured it out since I posted this. The reason MadTree has to pull Gnarly Brown for the time being is that Delicato Vineyards have filed an opposition against MadTree for their trademark claim on the name Gnarly Brown. They produce a wine called Gnarly Head.
Delicato seems to think that the branding and names are a little too close for comfort. As a non copyright law versed person I would say that they were definitely similar in design, but the names are far enough apart as well as the fact that one is a wine and the other is a beer. MadTree did fire back with other examples where the name Gnarly has been used in other trademarks, but it seems since they are saying goodbye to Gnarly Brown they just don’t have the fight in them to combat Delicato. I’m sure fighting something like this would take a lot of time and a lot of money. I would rather MadTree just keep making damn good beer.
So as we say goodbye to Gnarly Brown MadTree has been throwing going away parties at various places around town. The Gnarly Gno More events feature special editions of Gnarly Brown like Coffee and Vanilla, Mexican Hot Chocolate, Bourbon Barrel Aged, and Black Currant! Take a look at the bottom of this article for my tasting notes on each one. Keep on the lookout on social media and MadTree’s event’s page for Gnarly Gno More event announcements!
So far these are the events currently planned:
Tuesday Feb 16th 5:00 – 101 Beer Kitchen Gahanna
397 Stoneridge Lane Gahanna, Ohio 43230
Thursday Feb 18th 5:00– Cappy’s Wine and Spirits
309 W Loveland Ave, Loveland, OH 45140
Thursday Feb 18th 4:00 – The Brass Tap Polaris
1540 Polaris Parkway, Suite 106 Columbus, OH 43240
Thursday Feb 18th 5:00 – CBC Restaurant
525 Short Street Columbus, OH 43215
Friday Feb 19th 5:00 – Jungle Jims Fairfield
5440 Dixie Hwy, Fairfield, OH 45014
Tuesday Feb 23rd 4:00 – MadTree Brewing Taproom
5164 Kennedy Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45213
Wednesday Feb 24 4:00 – Whole Foods Market
1555 W Lane Ave, Upper Arlington, OH 43221
Friday Feb 26th 5:00 – Jungle Jims Eastgate
4450 Eastgate S Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45245
Friday Feb 26th 5:00 – Party Town
6823 Burlington Pike, Florence, KY 41042
Monday Feb 29th 5:00 – Giant Eagle Market District Grandview Yard
840 W. 3rd Avenue Columbus, OH 43212
Moday March 7th 5:00 – Lucky Turtle
8621 Winton Rd, Cincinnati 45231
So how do they taste?
I got to try them all last night at Ei8htball Brewing and they were all great!
The Mexican Hot Chocolate was probably my favorite by far. It smelled like a spiced beer with chocolate. Kind of what you would get with a fall/pumpkin ale. You get the spice right off in the taste as it falls off into the chocolate and pepper notes. It was very rich and a little sweet on the after taste. Truly an awesome treat. If you asked me which one not to miss it would be this one!
I got to try the Coffee/Vanilla version on nitro which was awesome! You get some good coffee and chocolate notes on the smell which transfers well into the taste. It’s a good balance between the two with a little caramel coming in at the end. The nitro made it super smooth and creamy as you would expect. Almost like I was drinking an iced mocha. It was also sweet, but not too sweet.
The Black Currant was an interesting one. It had a fruity smell, but the notes of the brown ale below still came through with some chocolate and hoppy roastiness. The taste kind of threw me off guard as it was very tart. It was almost sour honestly. The overall taste was very dynamic as the tartness wore off you got that chocolate roasted maltiness. Not my favorite one, but it was pretty good.
Finally the barrel aged version was pretty typical to what you would think a BBA Gnarly Brown would taste like. It had a very good bourbon smell and taste, but it did not overpower the original brew at all. Super tasty!
MadTree has made the official announcement themselves today. You can find it here.