As the saying goes, “if you’ve got it, flaunt it,” and in the case of Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., that’s just what the brewery is doing on the label of its year-round brown ale. There, alongside product information and other brand imagery, is the likeness of a gold medal the brewery was awarded for Davy Brown Ale at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival.

Figueroa Mountain Davy Brown Ale bottle

Dig even deeper and you’ll find that the award mentioned above isn’t the only time this beer has received recognition. In fact, according to the brewery’s website, Davy Brown has brought home over a dozen medals from various competitions since 2011. High marks, indeed, for a beer the brewery describes as being “rustic and refined,” and one that would seem to be a celebration of the simple things in life.

The rustic part is likely driven by the beer’s inspiration, which comes from a recluse pioneer named Davy Brown who settled near Figueroa Mountain in the late 1800s. As for the refined part, that no doubt stems from words found in the brewery’s backstory, and how it works to create hand-crafted beers made from the finest quality ingredients.

Now, some might hear “rustic” and assume that Davy Brown is plain, but I think the underlying meaning points more to the beer being classically-styled. Davy Brown may not have a lot of bells and whistles from a recipe standpoint, but by no means is it boring. With base flavors of roasted malt, toffee and a nutty character, the beer hits directly on flavor components consistent with the American brown ale style.

Figueroa Mountain Davy Brown Ale

Regarding other style points, Davy Brown is malt-forward with a medium body and bright, but not obtrusive carbonation. It doesn’t come across as hoppy in terms of flavor or aroma, though there is a fair amount of bitterness on the back end. Really, the only thing that kind sticks out beyond expectation is an element of sweetness that emerges at warmer temperatures. It’s not cloying or unpleasant in any way, but for my taste I’d prefer the beer to be a little drier. Outside of that, Davy Brown finishes quite well, with a smooth character and long-lingering aftertaste.

Figueroa Mountain Davy Brown Ale
BREWERY: Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Buellton, Calif.
STYLE: American Brown Ale
ABV: 6 percent
IBU: 40
PRICE: n/a
RELEASE DATE: December 2015
AVAILABLE IN: 12-ounce bottles
22-ounce bottles
To be fair, style guidelines allow for a brown ale to be "malty-sweet," which is probably how I would classify my overall impression of this beer. With that in mind, it's probably just a matter of whether or not the sweetness present in Davy Brown is too much, too little, or just right for your particular taste. For me, I'd like it to be a little less present, but it's not something that would deter me from having this beer again in the future.
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