1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of River Ale Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 51-75 | 76-100 | 101-125  | next › last »
Ratings: 191 | Reviews: 119 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Hagbard
Hagbard

Connecticut

3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

BBC's River Ale is a strong robust beer that pours a hazy dark brown capped with a fairly thick white head. It is murky, like a river that's running low. It smells a bit like mollases with a distinct alcoholic twinge. There is a nice malty base supporting everything. The taste is interesting and complex. Loaded with brown sugar, molasses, alcohol, and finishing with a hoppy bitterness. Throughout, there is huge malty base that imparts a nice sweetness that never becomes cloying. It's a great tasting beer, the only fault is that the alcohol is too hot and harsh, especially for only 7%. The mouthfeel is nice and chewy and seems appropriately full. The drinkability is good. This is a nice beer to be sure, one that I'll definitely be revisiting.

I have 2 complaints about the packaging of this beer. First, the best buy before date was not notched. At 7% and bottle-conditioned, this probably isn't much of an issue. Still, it's frustrating to see the dates, but not a notch. Secondly, the label makes no mention of the strength or style of the beer. The picture of 2 guys rafting on a river made me buy it thinking it was a light, refreshing, maybe hoppy brew. I was a little disappointed when I opened it to find a 7% strong ale and not the refreshing brew I was expecting. This didn't affect my review of the beer itself, but I thought it was something I should mention.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2006 16:20:13 | More by Hagbard
Photo of travduke
travduke

North Carolina

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

Appearance: Deep amber in color. Two fingers of white fluffy head, great lacing down my chalice.

Aroma: Its hard to really finger anything here. Ethanol and fruits stand out the most.

Taste: The nose was misleading, this is very complex. Dark fruits, sweet caramel malt. Really interesting and tasty.

Feel/Drink: Great creamy, sweet mouthfeel. Medium bodied. Drinkability is nice, enjoy this over time.

Serving type: on-tap

04-06-2010 01:35:47 | More by travduke
Photo of micahgoldfus
micahgoldfus

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

The pour looks good: a copper-brown color with a nice, frothy lace that leaves a mark on the glass with every sip. The smell was of sweet malts, a little bit of hops, and a little sting of alcohol. The taste is not too far off from that. It's dominated by sweet malts right up fronts: caramel, toffee, and bready and toasted notes. Still, the flavor ends up with a double-bite along with the sweetness: a little bit of alcohol and a mild touch of hops. Unfortunately, the combination of flavors (especially the sweetness), combined with a somewhat thick mouthfeel, gives a slightly syrupy feel to the beer. However, the high level of carbonation saves the beer. Overall, it's an enjoyable beer to drink, with plenty of flavor.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2009 03:42:07 | More by micahgoldfus
Photo of mcarroll10177
mcarroll10177

Massachusetts

3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a BBC pint glass

A- dark carmel brown, but with very little head just a hint of carbination

S- malts and some alcohol

T- very very sweet malts almost like a candy sweetness, which I did not really like. The alcohol was very well disguised.

M- thinner than I would have liked with very little carbination

D- this is a smooth easy drinker considering its 7% ABV, but the candy like sweetness was too much for me and it lacked the refreshment that I expect.

Overall a disappointment from my favorite brewery

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2006 12:38:05 | More by mcarroll10177
Photo of abgba121
abgba121

Connecticut

4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Light brown with about an inch of white head that recedes slowly and leaves a light lacing over the top of the entire brew.

S: wheat and sweet, reminds of toffee

T: A sweet beer, but well balanced with the hop additions, which leave a good crisp finish. Very tasty.

M: Medium body and good carbonation, easy to drink.

O: I was pleasantly surprised by this dark wheat, a great job by BBC and at a great price of 3.99 a bomber. I will surely have more of these.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2011 03:45:37 | More by abgba121
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 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 shaebs99
shaebs99

New York

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

Another solid offering from BBC. I haven't had this in over a year now.

I wish I gave a more vigorous pour. I seem to remember a better head and head retention in the past. Decent lacing ( I poured my share second so I got the majority of the yeast sediment which settled fairly quickyl to the bottom)

Aroma is of sweet malts with a light fruitiness and something about it reminds me of higher ABV beers, but you dont really sense alcohol in nose.

Taste, not surprisingly, features sweet and toasted malts. Light caramel notes with a good balance. Maybe a hint of alcohol or it could be the aroma invoking memories of higher abv beers. There is a nice crisp carbonation about it. Not slick or oily, but a decent amount of carbonation to give it a fairly crisp mouthfeel, but I can imagine this gentle crispness disappearing if one were to drink it with a little age on it.

Overall another solid offering from Berkshire. I don't know if they make the best beer in MA, but they are my favorite brewery in MA.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2008 22:47:44 | More by shaebs99
Photo of BeerMaverick
BeerMaverick

Massachusetts

4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this both on-tap at BBC and in bombers. Both were fantastic, but my review is based on the 22 ounce bottle.

A - Now I see what they mean by a "DARK wheat ale"...very dark indeed for a wheat beer. Similar in shade to a brown ale, but more greyish...I've never seen a beer this color before. I guess it resembles a scotch ale, but with less lively colors. Frothy inch-and-a-half darker head that complements the beer. Good level of lacing on the shaker pint glass...to be expected from BBC. Some sediment present obscuring the clarity which is typical for a wheat beer.

S - The bready/biscuity aromas of a wheat beer are present, but there is also a musty/rustic feel to the esters.

T - Fantastic and perfectly representative of the style with added unexpected kicks. Tastes like a wheat beer (the usual spicy/bitter flavor), but loads and loads of malt to sweeten things up. In terms of fruity notes, I'm getting grapes and raisins mainly. On the sweeter side I'm picking up brown sugar and caramel.

M - Provides the spicyness that wheat-beer-lovers crave. Medium to full-bodied beer that also satisfies the sweet tooth.

O - This is my favorite beer by BBC (the coffee house porter is a close second). The alcohol is detectable, but doesn't deter. I could easily down two of these bad boys in the springtime...and here I go!

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2011 17:24:33 | More by BeerMaverick
Photo of paceyourself
paceyourself

Connecticut

4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I thought this was going to be my weakest selection of my last beer haul but i was very wrong. Bershire surprised me again with this refreshing brew. This brown brew produced very little head and carbonation. The aroma was fruity with a little vanilla in the background. Mango and banana fruit flavors jump out at first then a coffee and sweet bread softly sneak in before the hops balance it out. I think River Ale would be very drinkable in the summer like other american wheat brews around here.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2003 17:06:52 | More by paceyourself
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 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 GWaters
GWaters

New Hampshire

4.8/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on Tap
Mohawk Park in Charlemont, MA

If you love sweet malty ales, this is a must! Truly Exceptional.

Pour: Pours the color of dark gingerbread with a slight head, but ample lacing. Sticks to the glass like a thin liqueur.

Smell: Sweet, sweet buttery malt with lower notes of caramel and moss. Heavenly, and very inviting.

Taste: A sweet roasted malt throughout. Smooth layers of caramel and cashew are mixed in. Hops punch through the buttery sweetness in spots. Darn near perfect for the style.

Mouthfeel: Opens with a soft coating of some sweet nectar to coat the mouth. Thins out quickly and rolls of the tongue seductively to leave a smooth happiness behind.

Drinkability: Rarely do I lose track of the number of beers I have in a pub, but I can't tell you how many I had one night. I can tell you this beer will let yo uknow the next day. It is a very easy to drink beer, and will invite you to another everytime.

Serving type: on-tap

03-24-2009 18:39:30 | More by GWaters
Photo of bobbypaulson
bobbypaulson

Minnesota

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

22 oz bottle thanks for davey101!!!! The beer poured out of a bottle into a townhall cuved pint glass. Nice murky cloudy light redish brown color with a nice froathy white head. The head tapered off quick to a nice white top on the beer. smell is yeasty and sweet. taste is roasty and that same sweetness. This beer is a very nice starting beer, nice on the palate and very smooth. A very enjoyable beer to say the least. Thanks for sharing it Davey101 my buddy and I really enjoyed it!!!

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2011 00:36:12 | More by bobbypaulson
Photo of Macdoyal
Macdoyal

Vermont

3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Alrighty here we go.

Appearance: A dense white head that goes fast and leaves excellent lacing on the glass. The color is that of a copper or leather.

Smell: Sweet smell of malt and almost caramel with a sharp hops bite at the end.

Taste: Bold taste of malt with a roasted note that is a little bitter. The hops add another layer of bite thou not a lot. Overall it's nice but it's that roasted note i can do with out.

Mouthfeel: Not a lot of carbonationwhich works well. It's got a thicker mouthfeel the best of which i can explain as saying Velvety.

Drinkability: It's good stuff and i could drink a couple of these but there are other beers by these guys i prefer.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2009 04:29:37 | More by Macdoyal
Photo of shredsofautumn
shredsofautumn

Massachusetts

3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle purchased on 10/30/2010. I figure it's an appropriate Halloween beer due to the fact that It's entitled the "River Ale". Berkshire Brewing, based in South Deerfield, is within close proximity to the Deerfield & Mill Rivers. Crossing one of these two, I cannot remember which, is the Eunice Williams Bridge in Greenfield where numerous tragic events occured, leading to the covered bridge being one of the most haunted places in Massachusetts.

Appearance- Murky dark brown with straw hues. Not much of a head on this one, but the lacing is nice.

Smell- Earthy. Slight soil notes, huge butterscotch malts hit you in the face, very slight hopped finish.

Taste- Crisp initially. Leads into a strong lip smacking hopfest and finishing with a strong sweetness of malts and sugar. After swallowing, the heat from the alcohol warms well in this cool weather. Doesn't taste like any wheat beer I've ever had.

Mouthfeel- Thick. Full. Creamy finish.

Drinkability- Good. Tasteful, thick, quality flavors. I like it.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2010 22:15:30 | More by shredsofautumn
Photo of SeussMD
SeussMD

Connecticut

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

i have liked just about everything BBC has put out. And my brother-in-law spoke highly of this beer. So it already had quite a bit going for it. But you can't write about beer you never drank. Let's open this 22 oz. bomber and address that problem.

Poured into: A Yuengling pint glass. Whatever you might think of the beer, Yuengling's label KICKS ASS. Classy script lettering and a BAMF bald eagle (really, is there any other kind?) with a barrel of beer. Timeless.

Appearance: good 1 1/2-inch head receedes to about a half inch. A lovely golden brown, the color of the crust of a freshly-baked loaf of bread, with a yellowish-creamy offwhite head. Very interesting.

Smell: Wheat. Surprise! And honey and caramel.

Taste: Lovely malt sweetness. Wheat bread, and a slight hint of the Willamette hops. A little touch of biscuit. And yet with a crisp finish. Quite tasty. I don't recall any other beer this sweet tasting this good.

Mouthfeel: fairly well carbonated, nice dryness, both of which offset the sweet malted character.

Overall: It's like drinking a loaf of delicious home-baked bread. And who doesn't love home-baked bread? OK, except for people with gluten issues, who doesn't love home-baked bread? Another winner for the folks at BBC. Big ups to Western Mass!

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2011 22:11:36 | More by SeussMD
Photo of Dopplebock
Dopplebock

Rhode Island

4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I feel that this is a very under-rated beer from the BBC. Brownish-Amber in color with minimal lacing. Like most strong ales, the alcohol is very apparent in this beer. The sweet, toasted malt character of the beer is enhanced by hidden flavors of dark fruit. One can draw similarities between this style and the belgian strong ales. I believe that the American Strong Ale is a slightly subdued version. For beer drinkers that want a local favorite, give River Ale a try! Behind the coffee house porter, this is probably my favorite offering by the Berkshire Brewing Company.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2007 04:16:24 | More by Dopplebock
Photo of LessThanHKY10
LessThanHKY10

Rhode Island

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

My first beer review here on BA...so here goes:

A - Pours a deep and dark, but clear amber color. Decent sized off white head quickly recedes to a well defined collar. Good amount of lacing down the side of the glass.

S - An assault of malt on the nose with hints of fruit, caramel, and a little alcohol.

T - Similar to the aromatic characteristics...roasted malty taste overall with bits of sweet caramel and alcohol towards the end. Really is a delicious brew and I can definitely understand its label of an American Strong Ale.

M - Medium mouthfeel with smooth and light carbonation.

D - Smoothness of this brew gives it decent drinkability for the style.

Overall a good brew, and one of my favorites from BBC - will buy again.

Serving type: on-tap

07-07-2010 21:23:44 | More by LessThanHKY10
« first ‹ prev | 51-75 | 76-100 | 101-125  | next › last »
River Ale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
88 out of 100 based on 191 ratings.