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River Ale - Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

River AleRiver Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

191 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 191
Reviews: 119
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 9.87%


Brewed by:
Berkshire Brewing Company Inc. visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Dark Wheat Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-13-2002)
View: Beers (40) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 191 | Reviews: 119 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of GJ40
GJ40

North Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on cask at Doherty's in Pawtucket, RI.

A - Light brown and hazy with a moderate beige head and good lacing.

S - Some nutty and bready malts but not a lot of aroma.

T - A flat somewhat bland start with a smoky, earthy flavor that develops midway through. There's not much room to hide with a cask presentation. This one doesn't have any off flavors that detract from it but it didn't have much that stood out either.

M - A nice smooth and creamy texture.

D - This was a pleasant, easy to drink beer. At 7%, it's not much of a strong ale but it was enjoyable enough.

Serving type: cask

07-01-2009 11:29:06 | More by GJ40
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a cloudy ice tea brown color and a loong-lasting head that provides decent lacing

Smell: Modest caramel and chocolate with a fruity peach element

Taste: Caramel and milk chocolate up front with fruity flavors arriving mid-palate; a really interesting finish with herbal bitterness, banana and chocolate

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with soft carbonation

Drinkability: Rich with deep fruity flavors and a complex finish - excellent

Serving type: cask

08-02-2007 01:45:21 | More by brentk56
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin

Colorado

4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

best dark wheat beer ive had in ages upon ages. needed this one bad, missing four nights of further at red rocks for an academic conference in western mass. funny they should have a lost sailor and saint of circumstance ipa, but that's for later on. enjoying the live stream though. enough, this pours a decadent caramel color with a lovely but short lived khaki head. the nose assaults me the second I crack the bomber, rich copper and toffee notes from the English malt, and an almost german banana or plantain character from the yeast, a really delicious autumn combination. the taste is just identical to the nose, perfect from one to the other, the banana over the darker wheat malt is just sensational. feel is also exquisite, with a fuller body, soft in feel but still well carbonated. this impressed the hell out of me for less than 5 bucks a bomber. really this is great stuff. dying to crack the ipa I got too, go Berkshire brewing! hell of a first impression! never would guess its 7% abv either, drinks like 4%

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2013 04:33:07 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of MistahBeah
MistahBeah

Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a weizen glass. Clear dark brown amber with a nice finger of borderline kahki head. Lots of carbonation and streaky lacing. Decent retention

Smells of roasted malts. Fresh baked bread. Some dried figs perhaps? Chestnuts. Some faint cocoa

Taste follows the nose. Roasted malts steal the show. Bready, nutty, and slightly earthy. Yeasty doughy bread provides much of the backbone here. Roasted chestnuts. Some dark fruit sweetness throughout. Cocoa again is faint. The finish is earthy with very mild bitterness

Feels medium bodied and crisp with a smooth finish

Overall a very nice beer. Combines the crispness and light body of a wheat beer with the robust malty smoothness of say a dopplebock. One of my favorites from Berkshire

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2013 20:50:58 | More by MistahBeah
Photo of KelsoSaaz
KelsoSaaz

Connecticut

4.39/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Weizen glass

A: Mud brown to dark translucent copper with a tan 2 finger head. Leaves all around lacing.

S: Sweet and bready malts; chocolate, caramel and nutty aromas.

T: Fantastic malt flavors: toasty grains, fresh bread, sweet malts. Hints of caramel and hints of chocolate. Very subtle hop presence that present earthy and ever so slightly bitter tones. Possibly some dark fruity tones in the finish.

M: Viscous body with mild carbonation.

A: Definitely a brew for a malt aficionado. River Ale is super tasty and fairly unique, certainly worth trying when you can find it. River Ale is a year-round brew for BBC, but I think it is an excellent beer for fall.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2013 20:21:36 | More by KelsoSaaz
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a weizen glass.
7% ABV, Best by 07/12/11

[Review from notes taken on 06-13-11]

Thanks Thorpe!

A - Hazed through completely, the chocolaty brown beer has golden highlights and a plump tan head. Good retention but little lace is left adorning the glass.

S - Crisp wheat aroma that's soft but full. Chocolate notes immediately set this beer apart. Nice balance of earthy, mulch-like Willamet hops. Yeasty undertones carry through to a caramel malt finish.

T - Much maltier than I had anticipated, this is loaded with chocolate and caramel tones with overlapping yeast and soft wheat. Little balance comes from the earthy hop notes.

M - Medium-bodied and soft with a clean but estery, sweeter finish. Mild spice notes add depth to the feel.

O - A very nice wheat ale with good malt tones and mild hop balance. The yeast qualities add esters and phenols that work well with the brew as a whole.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2013 14:36:08 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of flagmantho
flagmantho

Washington

4.16/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I had this beer on-tap in a pint glass at Stone's Public House in Ashland, MA.

Appearance: nutty brown hue with a moderate haze and almost no head as poured. Still pretty attractive.

Smell: light chocolatiness and a hint of wheaty malt that leaves me wanting a taste.

Taste: rich chocolatey flavor with a nice hint of raisins and toffee. It almost reminds me of a mix between a double chocolate stout (without the roast) and a toffee-laden nut brown ale. This beer does dark wheat ales real justice!

Mouthfeel: rich, smooth, soft creaminess that really soothes the soul. Just wonderful.

Overall: this beer absolutely rubs me the right way. More please!!

Serving type: on-tap

06-09-2013 00:50:48 | More by flagmantho
Photo of sommersb
sommersb

Tennessee

4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tasted On: 01-31-2013
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 22 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Weizen glass
Purchased: Received in a trade

Reviewing my first in this rare style...

Pours with a huge off-white head, showing excellent lacing and very good head retention. Beer is mostly clear and dark amber in color.

Aromas are very pleasing, with a malty, sweet start, plus typical wheat yeast smells of cloves and bananas. Also has a bready and caramel character from the malts.

The taste is in line with the nose -- sweet and malty with caramel, fruit and spicy flavors. The earthy hops lend a low bitterness. Also has some nutty tastes.

Mouthfeel has a medium body with a moderate amount of carbonation. The finish is smooth, malty and sweet, but in balance.

Overall, this is an exceptional beer that I'm glad I had the opportunity to try. Highly recommended

Thanks to davey101 for this one!

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2013 05:19:50 | More by sommersb
Photo of DavidS88
DavidS88

Massachusetts

4.48/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great little brew with great big flavor. I drank this one right out of the bottle so I can't comment too much on the appearance other than it was nice and cloudy within the bottle just like a wheat beer should be. The smell was also nice and wheaty with strong hints of sweet fruits and some nuts. The nose greatly resembled the mouth as the taste was pretty much the same: wheat, maybe a hint of some other malts, with an interesting aftertaste that can only be described as sweet, but not really like a fruit. Maybe banana? That's the only thing that really came to mind since the nut flavor also makes an appearance. Feels great within the mouth. Essentially, RIver Ale will be remembered for the wheat used. I really recommend this one and can't wait to drink more from Berkshire Brewing Co.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2012 02:36:03 | More by DavidS88
Photo of BEERMILER12
BEERMILER12

Maine

4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a ruddy mahogany color with a fingers worth of head

S: Starts off with a good deal of wheat, spices, and fruit. The hops provide some light fruit and floral notes. Some nuttiness also comes through, mostly almonds that lend a sweet cherry note as well

T: Starts off with a nice fruitiness that combines with the nuttiness. Lightly spicy. Wheat comes through at the end. The nutty almond/cherry notes are the key point with the fruity hops nearly standing up to them

M: Light-medium bodied with a solid level of carbonation

O: A very solid dark wheat, with a good amount of fruitiness and flavor. Very easy to drink, and solidly refreshing. I can see why this is at the top of the style

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2012 02:09:49 | More by BEERMILER12
Photo of garuda
garuda

Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Ruby, off white head has nice retention with some lacing.

S - A little light on the nose with fresh baked bread and a touch of floral hops.

T - Depths of malt in this one with baked bread, hints of chocolate, molasses, nuttiness... a little wheat twang. Minimal hop presence, finishes a little sweet with some booze heat. Nice.

M - Medium body, silky smooth carbonation and mouthfeel. Finishes dry with some booze.

O - My first of the style, but I reckon its a pretty good one.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2012 23:28:19 | More by garuda
Photo of Celtics76
Celtics76

Rhode Island

4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up as a pre-dinner drink. Drank it while grilling a whisky-pepper pork tenderloin on the grill.

Pours a nice clear copper with a half inch of bubbly head that reduces quickly. Nice aroma here - sweet caramel. Quite tasty - caramel flavor hits the tongue and eventually gives way to a bready, crisp wheat finish with mild alcohol detection. Lightly carbonated with a good spicy, somewhat herbal kick. Perhaps due to the Willamette hops, as stated on the label. Overall a mild hop profile.

I've had this a few times and I must say it's one of the most unique brews I've had. Flavorful and highly drinkable. The only other American style dark wheat ale I've had was Mayflower's, and that one doesn't touch this.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2012 22:56:10 | More by Celtics76
Photo of match1112
match1112

Illinois

4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to davey101 for sending this to me! bomber pours into a mug a dark wheat bread color, weird huh. smells and tastes like warm bread from the oven. full wheat body with hints of yeast a little hops . some burnt sugar and alochol is also detectable. full body, good carbonation, smooth creamy body with a slight hop bite on the finish. really like this beer. after receiving this i realized i needed it to knock out the style and what a solid representation of the style it is.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2012 02:06:56 | More by match1112
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Connecticut

4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a Duvel tulip. The #1-rated American Dark Wheat Ale - one more best-of-style tick down, far too many to go.

A: Clear dark caramel body under two fingers of dense tan foam. Good retention, decent lace. Very good.

S: Breadiness is the first thing I notice, resembling a well-toasted multi-grain bagel. As my nose dips deeper into the glass, I'm met with some major hop notes - lots of earth and spice. Tangy wheat finally shows up on the back end. Quite complex, thoroughly enjoyable, and definitely to style.

T: Follows the nose quite precisely. Nutty, bready malts are up front, spicy wheat and hops show up a bit later, and it ends with a clean, spicy, mildly bitter finish. Slight chalky minerality on the aftertaste. The sweet/spicy/bitter combination of disparate flavors is really pleasant, but the aftertaste is a bit oppressive. Quite good overall, though.

M: Soft, luxurious, creamy medium body. Perfect.

O: Every other beer of this style I've had has been god awful. This is really tasty - it really is like a Weizenbock done with American ale yeast. Great stuff.

Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2012 02:25:22 | More by woosterbill
Photo of Darkmagus82
Darkmagus82

Virginia

4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bomber into pint glass

Appearance – Pours a slightly hazy brown color with a two finger off white head. The head had great retention, but eventually faded to give a nice level of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is heaviest of a sweet wheat smell. The wheat is of a bready nature with the sweet being of caramel and some dark fruits. Mixed with these aromas are some lighter notes of a roasted malt and a very light citrus nature. Overall quite nice.

Taste – The taste begins sweet and roasty with a nice wheat flavor mixed within. The sweet at the front is of a caramel nature, but as the taste goes on some brown sugar and a very light citrus hop come to the tongue. As the taste advances further a subtle boozy flavor comes to the tongue. It overall creates a very nice slightly warming sweet bready aftertaste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel- The body of the beer is on the medium to just above medium side with the carbonation level being on the average side. The body is very nice for the sweeter bready flavors and really allows the boozy flavors to warm the mouth.

Overall – A great sweeter brew. Wonderful flavors and a great warming feel. Fantastic!!

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2012 00:29:03 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of VelvetExtract
VelvetExtract

Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a superbly clear dark brown color. Head is fluffy and off-white. The head sits in stark contrast to the beer's body and it makes River Ale a beautiful brew. Great lacing too.

S-Smell is wheat and yeasty with notes of banana bread and brown sugar. Light spiciness too. Also there are toffee and butterscotch notes as well.

T-Creamed and bread with plenty of toasted wheat. Quite sweet. Caramel, molasses and toffee. Light tobacco. Finishes with a bubblegum flavor. Tastes a bit like toast with a light caramel glaze. A peppery spice sneaks up on you.

M-Very creamy. Light, tingling carbonation. Alcohol masked incredibly well. Somewhat full in body but it also seems light during some sips.

O/D-One of Berkshire's more unique brews. I think they craft cool beer at a good price and this is no different. Not my favorite in their lineup but I must say that there should be more Dark Wheat Ales out on the market because it is a neat style. Seek this out.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2012 21:29:21 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of ummswimmin
ummswimmin

New Jersey

3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My buddy (Naugros on the website) brought a bottle back from his trip and shared it with me to knock this style off my list. After this review I only have two left (happoshu and kvass).

I drank this beer in a wheat glass. It was deep brown with about two fingers of head that retained really well. It left some decent lacing on the glass. You can see a lot of particulates in the lower third of the glass.

In the nose I get sour, some malt, and a venous presence. The flavor is consistent with the smell. I get a little bit more malt than in the nose. I also pick up more of the sour.

This beer is a little heavy for summer. I would recommend it for the cooler months.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2012 03:56:48 | More by ummswimmin
Photo of Naugros
Naugros

New Jersey

3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Murky, coppery brown with visible dregs on the bottom. Light tan head that really lasts and coats the side, promising lacing.

Fruity nose from the wheat yeast, something akin to plums with a touch of treacle in the back. Grassy aromas waft up as well.

Taste really follows the smell with the treacle turning more to molasses. Dark fruit (again, could be plum) with a slight wheat tang to it. A little bit of a red wine sense in the aftertaste.

If you're looking for a light, bright wheat beer for a summer day, this is not it. This is right in the medium level for body and is a little sticky on the tongue.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2012 00:29:30 | More by Naugros
Photo of Duff27
Duff27

Illinois

4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Half inch white head recedes to a cap. Brown red body. Lotsa lacing going on.

Not a whole lot going on with the smell. Slight sweet wheat perhaps.

Some banana sweetness but not overpowering. Very drinkable.

Medium mouthfeel, adequate carbonation.

Drinkability is the name of River Ales game. No flavor is over eatin which I feel is an asset here. Recommended for fan is the style. Thanks ru94conn.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2012 03:11:56 | More by Duff27
Photo of BostonHops
BostonHops

Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber in a pilsner glass.
served two months from best by date.

pours a translucent, dark amber tone while yielding a finger and a half of a creamy/foamy beige head. decent retention and lacing; overall a beautiful looking beer. nose is appetizing. very wheaty with a big sweet malty presence to it.

taste is exceeds the nose. bold notes of wheat, caramel, brown sugar, and a underlying fruitiness i can quite pin down. pretty damn fantastic. medium bodied mouthfeel with average carbonation.

overall, a real pleasant surprise. did not expect to enjoy this beer as much as i am. ordinarily not a style i seek out, but this is just really flavorful and tasty. hands down my favorite offering to date from berkshire, a somewhat under-the-radar local brewery that continues to impress me.

(originally reviewed: 07-19-2011)

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2012 21:32:41 | More by BostonHops
Photo of FosterJM
FosterJM

California

4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1342nd Review on BA
Bottle to Spiegelau Wheat glass
22oz

Thanks to BA RudZud for this one

App- Has a lot of color in the glass. A mix of browns and yellows and crimsons. A small cascading look to it with the falling colors. A very good two finger head with a small cling.

Smell- A good bit of wheat with a caramel candy note flavor. A bit sweet and malty. Like a smaller roggenbier. Nice small aromatics that blend nicely.

Taste- Flavorful little beer. A good sweetness meets a small wheat and fruit flavor but for 7% hits you on the finish. A nice bit of what seems like a rye/spice note. Seemingly prickly but not like A barrel aged prickly.

Mouth- A nice medium body with a creamy medium carbonation. Residual wheat and spice remain with a touch of malts and candy esque flavors.

Drink- A nice beer. Nice layers, good flavors and a unique style. Better than an average wheat. I wouldn't mind another bottle to sip on.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2012 02:34:14 | More by FosterJM
Photo of bbeerman
bbeerman

Massachusetts

4.53/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A..Nice amber hue on the pour. Decent head.

S..Above average malt notes.

T..Malty. Syrupy caramel flavors. Slight chocolate, though faint. Almost a smoked flavor near the end (but only on some sips I found). Quite tasty.

M..Medium bodied despite the 7% ABV.

O..Very excellent beer overall. Really enjoyed this much more than I was expecting and look forward to getting another round of bombers in the near future.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2012 21:23:39 | More by bbeerman
Photo of mltobin
mltobin

Connecticut

3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle purchased in CT, split w/ a friend.

Appearance is brown with one finger of head. Its` nose contains malt, caramel, nuts and some fruit. River Ale tastes of wheat, more caramel, syrup, caramel, but also some hops in there. A pleasant mouthfeel, smooth, balanced for its` characteristics. This is one of the better options from this brewery out of Western Mass.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2012 02:22:15 | More by mltobin
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice beer. It reminds me of a weizenbock for the dark fruity notes. The aroma has more malt character with a gentle toast and milk chocolate. The flavor is slightly sweet and the body is a medium weight that rolls down smoothly. Over the cocoa runs figs and a creamy rum spices. While most American wheat beers turn out fairly boring, this is a tasty dark ale that belongs in the same realm as dubbels and weizenbocks.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2012 01:57:12 | More by tempest
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
JoeyBeerBelly

New York

4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this beer from tzieser. Thanks Tom!

22oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - clear amber color with a cream colored head that left some thick lacing behind.

S - cocoa powder and roasted malt.

T - roasted malt and chocolate nibs, a little smokey towards the finish which is slightly dry and bittersweet.

F - medium bodied with good carbonation.

O - an all around good beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2011 22:01:16 | More by JoeyBeerBelly
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River Ale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
88 out of 100 based on 191 ratings.