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Hub City Brown Ale - Hub City Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hub City Brown AleHub City Brown Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

39 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 39
Hads: 49
Avg: 2.62
pDev: 25.19%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hub City Brewing Company
Iowa, United States

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  4.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Deuane on 08-20-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Our Brown Ale is a medium-bodied beer in the traditional English style. It has a pale brown color with hints of nut and caramel. This beer has a light, clean flavor and smooth finish with just a hint of sweetness, perfect for warm summer days.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 39 | Hads: 49
Photo of emerge077
2.51/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This pours IPA orange, not really brown ale at all. A flaccid skim of bubbles strain to form on the surface. Aroma is strange, sweet with sulfur and grain.

Odd sulfury flavor, just off with some astringency and sweet husky grain. An upleasant watery grainy mess. Muddled with no distinct flavors. Not looking forward to drinking the rest of this, or ever seeking out again. Glad this was a single bottle.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.6/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Generously carbonated dark bronze with bright orange highlights. This is one of the lightest brown ales in recent memory. Actually, it looks like an Oktoberfest. The khaki colored cap is airy and rocky, but it isn't tacky enough to grace the glass with more than a few scattered shards of lace.

The aroma isn't consistent with the style either. More like two parts amber ale to one part brown ale. There's also an alarming amount of metal (which fades) and a subtle, clove-like phenolic character. Hmmm, did something go wrong with this batch or is it just poor design?

Hub City Brown Ale is the worst beer from this brewery yet. Golden Ale was no better than average. This one can't even make it over that low bar. Chalk it up to a lack of malt, a rogue yeast strain and an abundance of bubbles. And to think I was (mildly) excited to see another HCBC beer on local shelves.

This brown ale *almost* tastes like a poor-quality dubbel due to the funkiness of the clove-like phenols. Since I'm sure that isn't what the boys from Stanley were shooting for, no credit will be given for the brewing of a quasi-Belgian ale. Let's go with earthy-toasted-nutty malt and the aforementioned, out-of-place spiciness. There's too much bitterness as well. Not good.

Hub City's biggest hurdle as a new brewery looks to be figuring out body and mouthfeel. With the exception of their best offering (Wheat Beer), none of them have been anything to shout about. This one is much too thin, and isn't helped by a surfeit of sharp-edged carbonation.

Since Millstream (this state's only other brewery) doesn't brew a beer of this particular style, the obvious choice for 'Iowa's best American brown ale' would seem to fall to Hub City Brown Ale by default. Given what I've just experienced, 'Iowa's worst American brown ale' is a much more appropriate title.

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Photo of tempest
3.44/5  rDev +31.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at William's in Uptown. My pint appeared dark amber (not brown). It was a simple, but drinkable brown ale. There was a mix of nutty chestnut and cashew with mild cocoa for the flavor with a like caramel sweetness in the background. The body is light and beer goes down very easy, but this isn't enough beer for a brown ale.

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Photo of johnnnniee
1.78/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Received in trade from tedpeer, thanks for the opportunity.

Pours a slightly cloudy Dark orange/amber color with a huge bubbly off white head that caused massive pouring issues. This bottle is over carbonated and possibly infected. The aroma is of spicy Belgian yeast, some phenolic. Taste is about the same as the smell, barely palatable. The bottle has no freshness date, Its too bad my first beer from IA is tainted.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.3/5  rDev +26%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, copper/amber color. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. Slight retention and poor lacing. Smells of yeast, sweet malt, slight hops, and slight citrus. Fits the style of an American Brown Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of hops, yeast, slight citrus, and a faint sweet malt background. Overall, not near the malt flavor I'm become accustomed too, but overall a drinkable beer. It just doesn't remind me of a Brown.

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Photo of Tone
3.15/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, copper/amber color. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. Slight retention and poor lacing. Smells of yeast, sweet malt, slight hops, and slight citrus. Fits the style of an American Brown Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of hops, yeast, slight citrus, and a faint sweet malt background. Overall, not near the malt flavor I'm become accustomed too, but overall a drinkable beer. It just doesn't remind me of a Brown.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.73/5  rDev +42.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A - Reddish brown with almost no head at all. Some tan bubbles around the edges. Slight lacing left on the glass.

S - Nuts and malts, all very slight.

T - Sweet Nutty and blueberries???

D - Low carbonation.

O - Very drinkable. different than expected, but nice.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
2.71/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into an imperial pint. No date or info.

Thanks to Beerwolf77 for bringing me four of this brewery's beers from a vaca! Starting with this guy.

A - I got more head from pouring Samuel Adams Utopias than this! What gives?! An absolute disaster to start with, nothing but a small ring of off-white foam rests on the clear amber-brown colored beer.

S - Light notes of cocoa do nothing to mask the adjunct grainy aroma. Toasted amber malts are in there too as well as this port-barrel hint that's actually quite nice, even if it is wayyyy off for what this beer should smell like. Hints of brown sugar and maple syrup on the finish. I'm going back and fourth over the aroma being off and the fact I actually kinda like it that way.

T - Toasted amber malts have good flavor initially. That goes away pretty quickly though. It turns into a grainy, husky finishing flavor.

M - Medium-bodied but thin with no carbonation. It's even a little slick on the tongue. It finishes dry and slightly metallic.

D - I don't really understand what's going on with this beer. It seems like it's either off, or just poorly made, or maybe a combination of both. The flavor is just odd. It's not awful, but it does need a lot of work. I just finished bottling my second 'real' batch of beer, a Brown Ale, that's far better than this. I'm a little worried about the other three...

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Photo of ZAP
1.43/5  rDev -45.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Pours a cloudy bronze color...no head...smells fruity like apples and pears....some of that fruitiness on the taste too but a sweeter caramel accented flavor...doesn't mesh well..body is lifeless...little carbonation...thinnish....just doesn't drink well...not recommended..

As it warms it takes on a bit of a vomit flavor...it is only warming because it is hard to drink...

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.06/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This beer took twenty minutes to pour. A torrent of foam exploded out of the bottle the second I opened it. Upon pouring one once of liquid into the glass the entire glass was full of foam. That foam took minutes to recedes enough for me to continue pouring. Another once poured, another glass full of foam. The process repeated until the whole of the beer was poured. The color of the beer is brownish amber and cloudy. The aroma is of faint caramel with a hint of barnyard. The over-carbonated head really gets in the way of the aroma. The taste is of a sour brown ale. I'm sure this beer is infected, but it tastes good nonetheless. There are some nice chocolate and caramel notes with some mild funkiness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and nearly flat. Overall, I'm really surprised this beer is drinkable given its condition. I actually like the taste quite a bit, and if the aroma wasn't so hidden by foam I could really get into this beer. As is I'll just have to content myself with the knowledge that infected beers can actually taste good on rare occasions.

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Photo of morimech
2.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, reddish amber color (Brown Ale huh???) with half inch of white head that slowly settles to a thick cap. A little lacing is left on the glass. Has a carmelish and fruity aroma that does not scream brown ale to me. Taste likewise is confusing. Carmel malt and slightly fruity. Has a caustic aftertaste that is not pleasant. Nothing remarkable about the body but it has nice carbonation. Not a horrible beer but as a brown ale it is a failure. If they called this an amber ale I could almost go along with giving it a B rating. A cheap beer that you can pawn off on your leaching buddies.

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Photo of andrenaline
2.4/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Picked this one up in a mixer pack from Hub City.

A - Pours a copper brown, thin layer of head and no real lacing. A little disappointing.

S - Scent is metallic with some chalky chocolate scents. Need to check the date on this as I'm concerned it's off.

T - Taste is sour with a nutty chocolate malt coming through. Almonds and cashews are present, but the sour flavour is a bit of a turn-off.

M - Nothing wrong with this aspect, but the rest of the aspects are kind of dragging this beer down.

D - A little disappointed with my first Hub City experience. I've got 5 more, and this is not the best first impression. Is it terrible? No, I've had worse. Would I buy it again or recommend it to others? Nope.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.18/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Reviewed on 8/23/08. Bottle courtesy of pepsican. Pours a light brown with a small white head. Aroma of dark fruits, raisin, molasses, and caramel. Flavor of dark roasted malt, faint coffee, and sweet molasses. Kind of odd tasting and hard to describe, perhaps musty? In any case, I didn't care for this beer at all.
5/3/4/2/12 (2.6/5)

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Photo of Deuane
3.25/5  rDev +24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Deep, clear brownish amber with a small off-white head.

S-Light toffee and roasted malt. Aroma improves upon warming.

T-Light roasted malt a bit of toffee/coffee but all VERY mild.

M-Light body with a thin watery finish.

D-Nothing bad but very unexciting. A drinkable session brew that you barely notice you are drinking. The perfect drink it and forget it beer for that family BBQ when everyone else is pounding BMC.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.05/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Dan for sharing this one last Friday night. The last time I reviewed a Hub City beer, the brewer contacted me and questioned my review of one of his beers. Here we go again. Poured a light amber color with a minimal amount of light beige foam on top. Bits of nuts, milk chocolate, caramel and sweet malt, but fairly disappointing.

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Photo of FreshHawk
2.4/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A - Caramel, copper brown. Really light for a brown ale. Small creamy off white head. Average retention that fades into a thin creamy lace.
S - Strong metallic and apple aromas. Smells a lot like an amber ale or a cider and less like a brown ale. A lot of tartness and some spicy aroma. Not a horrible aroma but definitely not like any other brown ale I've had.

T - Similar to the nose with a good amount of caramel and funky apple taste. Some metallic flavor on the finish. Some slightly off dark fruit flavors as well. A bit off tasting with an odd funky and mineral taste. Doesn't really taste much like the brown ale taste that I was expecting.

M - Lighter body with a fair amount of carbonation. A bit thin and watery feel with a bit of a slickness.

D - Not all that drinkable. Just not balanced very well and has some funky, off flavors.

Notes: Not what I was expecting for a brown ale. The flavors just seemed a bit off. The flavors aren't really offensive, they just aren't all that appealing. Probably one you could skip.

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Photo of bashiba
3.45/5  rDev +31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy copper color with a big thick foamy head, long lasing almost rootbeer float like head.

Had a sweet caramel malt nose mixing in with a tangy copper odor, along with some funky yeast.

The flavor is dominated by a slightly sweet toffee malt body with a bit of grainy bread and some chocolate hints. Has the same metallic coppery finish as their golden ale along with some funky yeast flavors.

The mouthfeel is ultra carbonated with a medium body.

A solid drinkable brown ale.

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Photo of hardy008
1.83/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Dark orange to brown color with a very small head which vanishes quickly and leaves no lace. Smells somewhat of caramel and fruit. This is supposed to be a brown ale?

Tastes like caramel, fruit, and grain. Also somewhat watered down and unpleasant. Not much good to say here.

Light bodied, low carbonation, metallic. In general, pretty bad. Hub City needs to go back to the drawing board on this beer.

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Photo of alleykatking
2.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from 12oz bottle. Review from notes.

A- Pours a amberish brown color. Half finger off white head dies rather quickly. Light whisps of lacing on the sides of the glass fall back into the beer.

S- Light chocolate malts along with a toasted caramel malt give way to most of the nose. There is a light grainy scent from time to time. A dash of brown sugar in the ending and this beer is done for in the nose department. Average at best.

T- Nice caramel malts in the front of the beer with a light toasted taste to them. A light darker fruit flavor gets covered by a metallic taste from about the middle of the beer to the ending. This really killed anything from the middle on with this beer.

M- Light mouthfeel. Carbonation is alright for the beer. Metal is all I can taste and is left on the palate for awhile after each sip. No real alcohol drying on the palate. Flavors are off and no real clean taste to this beer at all.

D- This beer had potental and I would like to try a batch that isn't...well...off in flavor. I've had a couple offerings from Hub City and it looks like they either brew a good beer or else don't come close to what they were doing.

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Photo of FreshmanPour77
3.88/5  rDev +48.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Golden brown with a finger of foam, lacing ring present

S - Brown sugar and caramel malts, couldn't pick up any hop presence

T - Medium bodied, taste the caramel with hints of brown sugar. Can't taste any hops

M/D - A pretty tasty brew, I recommend this brew and will purchase again. It was a pretty well balance brew. Medium bodied that sat really smooth. Could pass off as a session brew.

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Photo of Blakaeris
3.38/5  rDev +29%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark orange- brown with a thick fluffy head leaving sheets of lacing.

Aroma is caramel malt, with hints of toffee. Hints of tropical fruit, slightly nutty with earthy hop.

Taste is malty and sweet with plenty of tropical fruit undertones - pineapple and mango. Earthy hops bring a balancing bitterness. Nutty and woody. Finish is crisp, yeasty, with a slight metallic quality.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied.

Not too bad. Although initially sweet, there is a surprising amount of bitterness that seems to gradually increase as you drink. Certainly worth a try.

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Photo of match1112
3.07/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

poured from bottle to pint glass. appears more red than brown with little to no head, and no lacing. has a strong sweet malt smell with lots of chocolate. tastes like watered down tootsie rolls with a slightly creamy mouth feel. not a brown i would recommend.

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Photo of Lemke10
3.4/5  rDev +29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I bought a Hub City 6-pack sampler from Woodman's in Janesville, WI for $7.79 in Spring 2011.

Pours a semi-dark brown color with a cream colored head of foam that doesn't stick around too long. There's a scent of sweet cocoa and chocolate malts as well as some hops. Taste starts off rather promising with a bold chocolate nutty flavor but quickly goes away. Some sweet carmel malts in the mix and it leaves a nice after taste on the tounge. Decent and something new to try from Iowa but that's about it.

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Photo of biggred1
2.72/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Clear orange amber..not the color I expest from a Brown ale with a creamy tan head. Dark cherries and caramel in the aroma with some herbal hop notes. While not a bad tasting beer, Hub City Brown is not true to the style at all, this beer tastes more like an Amber or even an O-fest than a Brown ale. Caramel and a hint of fresh strawberry and floral hops. Medium light bodied. Sorry, this beer is not a Brown ale.

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Photo of JackieTH
2.9/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Red-amber-brown with a half-finger of off-white foam.

Smell: I get fruit, dried apricots and sweetness.

Taste: Initially sweetness, caramel, but then tart with more dried apricot-like fruit. I want to say complex, but I think it's just unbalanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium.

Drinkability: For about 1/2 the bottle I thought...okay, this isn't at all bad. But by the end the unbalanced flavor was a bit off-putting.

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Hub City Brown Ale from Hub City Brewing Company
66 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.