ArticleOud Bruin At one time “sour brown ale” probably described most of what was being served in the local tavern. Beers were brown because the malting of barley was as yet an inexact science,Already a member? Log InWritten by BYO StaffIssue: May 1997You'll Also Like Article MEMBERS ONLY Flanders Red: The Burgundy of Belgium Many people may not realize that Flanders red and brown ales actually trace their roots across the Channel to England. Find out about the history of these styles of beer, the keys to their flavor development, and how to brew one yourself. Article MEMBERS ONLY Witbier: A hazy shade of summer Adding fruit, spices, or other flavorings to beer is commonplace for homebrewers and craft brewers alike, but there are many ways to go about extracting the flavor.