Hi-Wire Bed of Nails Brown Ale


North Carolina breweries have churned out some incredible IPAs over the last several years. I have to admit, the party my taste buds are most comfortable at involves citrus, pine, and hoppy bitterness. We’re all about broadening horizons here, so it’s time for a North Carolinian take on a classic English brown ale.  I’m hoping that Hi-Wire’s Bed of Nails brown ale will refresh my palate with some rich roasted flavors that put the hops in the back seat.

Beer: Bed of Nails Brown Ale
Brewery: Hi-Wire Brewing
Country: Asheville, NC, USA
Style: English Brown Ale
ABV: 6.1%
Beerlandia Advisory: I’m a North Carolinian with a British wife. This is a good brown ale.  

Bed of Nails pours a deep, but not opaque brown topped with a finger of tan head that dissipates quickly. Light will reveal a dark ruby red hiding beneath that veneer of cola brown. Ample carbonation maintains a thin, bubbly head of tan as the beer rests. This is a beautiful brown ale to admire from a distance, but it’s been resting long enough. Let’s do the smell thing so we can drink it. 

The toasted and roasted aromas that one expects of a brown ale present themselves subtly. After several more exploratory sniffs, I can detect some dried fruit; I’m thinking cranberries.  Toasted malt and toffee dominate the overall understated aroma. 


My mustache went for an unauthorized dip in the glass and I’ve been avoiding licking it until now. Wow. I am kind of blown away by this one. I don’t have brown ales often, and I’m starting to wonder what I’ve been doing with my life. The first sip of this beer is a pleasant flood of cocoa, roasted malts, and nuttiness. There is a pleasant, lingering sweetness that adds a chocolate element to the flavor. I could certainly have more than one. 

Brown ales can be intimidating to some with that nearly opaque darkness that they share with porters and stouts. There’s nothing to worry about with Bed of Nails, which occupies the low to middle range of medium-bodied. Moderate carbonation prevents the sweeter notes from devolving into a syrupy mess that’s hard to get down. 

A brown ale with local character

I’m impressed at how well a North Carolina brewery has nailed the brown ale style while adding its own character to it. It’s true that the classic English brown ale is a bit more bitter than Bed of Nails, and perhaps Hi-Wire added some sweet cocoa to make it more palatable to the locals. The end result is a brown ale that is more than a one-off, and could be downright sessionable if you have that notion.