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Lift Bridge Brown Ale - Keweenaw Brewing Company

Lift Bridge Brown AleLift Bridge Brown Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

91 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 91
Reviews: 52
rAvg: 3.47
pDev: 13.83%

Brewed by:
Keweenaw Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Reportedly the widest and heaviest double-decked lift bridge in the world, the Portage Lake Lift Bridge connects the cities of Houghton and Hancock here in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. So get a lift from this American Brown Ale; a rich, dark brown color, complex malt flavor with hints of chocolate and caramel and a mild hop finish.

(Beer added by: mikesgroove on 03-03-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 91 | Reviews: 52 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of tjsdomer2


3.9/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Excellent white lacing and decent white foam. Carbonation is extra active and bubble. Bright beautiful ruby Red. My only issue is that it is red and not brown...

Smell: Roasted toffee and nuts. Very fresh as well and slightly mineral-like.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Bitter lemon rind with a sweet caramel finish. A bit too bitter and first, but it mellows out nicely in the finish with a honey-like mouthfeel. Overall, the mouthfeel is a tad thin, but much better at the end.

Overall Drinkability: A beer that just gets better.

Serving type: can

03-24-2014 00:58:36 | More by tjsdomer2
Photo of ZeekLTK


5/5  rDev +44.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is only available in cans. For this review I poured it into a pint glass, but I often drink from the can and it is just as good.

A - A nice copper/brown color with a little bit of head that eventually disappears.

S - The description on the can itself says that it has "hints of caramel and chocolate" and you can certainly detect hints of them in the aroma.

T - The taste is amazing, there is no bitterness at all, it is very smooth. You can also taste the chocolate and caramel that are noted as ingredients, along with the obvious nut flavor that a brown should have, making this not only a very easy drink, but a very delicious one too.

Overall, this is the best beer I've had. The taste is the best part, as it should be. I love that there is no bitterness and that it has hints of sweets to give it such a good flavor.

Serving type: can

03-23-2014 09:08:50 | More by ZeekLTK
Photo of Phocion


2.86/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

12 oz. can given to me as a sample from a distributor. Aggressively poured into a shaker pint... really more of a very dark amber than brown, with a thin off-white head and little retention. Decent amounts of thin lacing.

Aroma is very light. Caramel/maple, roasted grains. A little bit of a crackery type flavor as well. Even these are pretty thin.

Slightly sweet, mildly nutty flavor. Profile is very thin. Hint of spicy hoppiness.

Light-medium body, well carbonated. Very slick and oily mouthfeel that's just a tad chewy.

Meh. This isn't a bad beer, it's just not a good one. Very thin in flavor and mouthfeel. Easy to drink, but then again so is water. I'm glad this was a free sample, because I wouldn't pay for it.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2013 22:39:28 | More by Phocion
Photo of StoutHunter


2.83/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I picked up a can of Keweenaw's Lift Bridge Brown Ale last week for $1.19 at The Lager Mill. I haven't tried any beer from this Michigan Brewing Company yet so I thought I should stop procrastinating and give this beer a try, so lets see how it goes. No visible freshness date. Poured from a 12oz can into a imperial pint glass.

A- The can looks good and has a nice picture of a lift bridge on it to go with the name. It poured a hazy amber/light brown color that took on a ruby red copper color when held to the light with three fingers worth of fluffy off white head that died down to a thin layer that stayed till the end and left some lacing. The beer looks good.

S- The aroma starts out with large amounts of pretty sweet malts that impart a sweet, bready, and grainy aroma along with a slight toasted malt aroma that imparts some light caramel aromas. At the end I pick up a slight nutty aroma. The aroma was pretty on par for a Brown Ale, but it was a little boring.

T- The flavor seems to be where this beer starts to fall apart. It starts out with a lot of lightly toasted malts that have hardly any sweetness to them and impart a mild and bland, bready, and stale grain flavor. It had hardly any bitterness and the only other flavors that I picked up were a mild nuttiness and some faded earthy hops on the finish and aftertaste. This beer tasted watery and it had a pretty bland and boring flavor, I didn't like the flavor that much.

M- Smooth, dry, on the lighter side of being medium bodied with a high amount of bubbly carbonation. I wish it was a little thicker and that the carbonation were a little tamer, average at best.

Overall I didn't really like this beer and I thought it was a below average American Brown Ale, it was just too bland and boring, in the end it just tasted watered down and none of those great American Brown Ale aspects got to stick out. This beer had ok drinkability, it went down smooth but that was it, the flavor was too bland to hold my attention and I wouldn't want another, I kind of have to force myself to finish this one. What I liked most about this beer was the way it looked, it looked like a proper American Brown Ale, to bad that was the only thing proper about this beer. What I liked least about this beer was pretty much everything else but it was the taste that stuck out as the worst, it way to bland and watery tasting. I wouldn't buy this beer again, it was cheap, but pretty tasteless, if that's what I wanted I would grab a case of Bud Light and be done with it. I don't recommend trying this beer, it's not a worthy example of an American Brown Ale. I wasn't impressed with this beer and it didn't make for a good first impression of this brewery, but I already bought their Black Ale, so I will have to wait till I have that to form a more solid opinion about this brewery but for now I am not too interested, better luck next time guys.

Serving type: can

04-04-2012 03:18:09 | More by StoutHunter
Photo of WastingFreetime


2.93/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Transcribed from my notebook.

Poured into a tulip glass from a can, appears coppery-brown with hardly any head, no lacing, translucent. Strange faint aroma of pineapple upside-down cake with caramel topping is coming straight out of left field and leaving me scratching my head in confusion. On the one hand, I like this smell, but on the other hand, I'm pretty certain that a brown ale is not supposed to smell like pineapple upside-down cake with caramel topping. But I feel I should judge according to style, so some points are subtracted for this. Mouthfeel is on the thinner side of medium, not much depth to it, but tastes more like a standard brown ale than the nose would have me believe, some muddy malts, bready notes, and toffee...

An average brown ale with a confusing, oddball aroma.

Serving type: can

10-14-2011 18:18:41 | More by WastingFreetime
Photo of oline73


3.03/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a can into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with two fingers of off white head that disappears completely.

Smell: Very bread like and malty. Some sweetness and a bit nutty.

Taste: A very mild flavor. Some malt with hardly any sweetness. Mildly nutty and there is some hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, tingly carbonation and a very dry finish. Almost too dry.

Overall: A very average brown ale. Not at all unpleasant, but not a whole lot of depth. Probably won't search this out again.

Serving type: can

09-12-2011 01:41:28 | More by oline73
Photo of BeerBuckeye


2.85/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours a deep mahogany brown with decent off-white head, leaves a bit of lacing.

S - Not a ton of scent, mostly some dark malts, some caramel, some sweet chocolate.

T - Malty, a bit of the sweet chocolate, a touch of caramel.

M - Pretty smooth mouthfeel, carbonated, good drinkability.

Overall - It was decent, very drinkable, if nothing else.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2011 15:39:57 | More by BeerBuckeye
Photo of whatthehull


3.48/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


A - Copper/red, one finger tan head and a little lacing

S - Very malty, tons of dried fruits, slight hops, nice flowers, earth, ground up branches and slightly sweet

T - Lots of malts, wheat, grain, toastiness, flowers, a bit of hops and silky sweet

M - Medium bodied, low acidity, medium complexity, well balanced and medium finished

D - Goes down like butta, sweet, malty, smooth, balanced and very easy to drink

Final thought - I am a fan. Another canned beer that tastes great. Wish I knew the ABV

Serving type: can

08-19-2011 21:15:39 | More by whatthehull
Photo of deadbody


2.6/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Drank straight from the can on a camping trip with the family. Picked this up because it is not in MN and was in cans which are good for the camping trips.

Opened a bit of head right off the bat, looking kinda creamy, and then dissapating to a reddish brown ale. Smell was pretty weak bordering on non-existant. Taste was interesting. Super sweet, the chocolate and toffee were really prevelant. Mouthfeel was thin, like kate moss on a 3 week heroin binge thin. Overall, meh. I wouldn't buy it again, but if I was offered it at a party I don't think I would turn it down.

Serving type: can

08-08-2011 14:00:23 | More by deadbody
Photo of brdc


3.23/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a can into a pint glass.
The color is somewhere between orange and brown, clear, minimal head and no lacing.
Aroma is malty, caramel mostly. Thin on the palate, it has notes that are mostly malty in nature, caramel, some bread, toffee, in some ways similar to their scottish ale, which already shows a bit of a problem.
It is pleasant, and better than their scottish ale, but it also lacks body, and depth.

Serving type: can

08-04-2011 02:04:59 | More by brdc
Photo of DannyDan


3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A. Pours a dark brown body with a red highlights that has decent retention and some lacing to it.
S. The smell has some hints of caramel and chocolate with a little bit of a nutty flavor. Nothing really stands out here.
T. The taste is a hint of chocolate, caramel, some sweet nutty maple flavor, and finishes off with some earthy hops.
M. The mouthfeel is a nice smooth creamy feel that finishes with a dry feel.
D. A nice light to medium bodied beer that is easy to drink and has a nice flavor to it. At $6.99/ 6 pack makes it a decent alternative to Short's Bellaire Brown, New Holland's Cabin Fever or Michigan Nut Brown ale when low on money. Don't get me wrong on this the others taste better, but this is not bad for the price.

Serving type: can

02-20-2011 01:18:35 | More by DannyDan
Photo of rings


2.88/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Lift Bridge Brown is an American Brown Ale, named after the double-decker bridge that connects Houghton and Hancock on the Keweenaw Peninsula, which extends north into Lake Superior. It's a solid brown in color, with a thinner body than I'd expect, and it was overcarbonated in the can that I poured. There's a touch of chocolate on the roof of the palate, but with a softer finish and dryness on the sides of the tongue, it reminded me a bit of a Bell's Amber Ale. The bittering hops were slightly out of balance due to a lack of sweetness, particularly for a brown, although the body opens up a bit as it warms. All and all, it's not a bad effort and a average effort.

Serving type: can

02-11-2011 19:07:57 | More by rings
Photo of bishopdc0


3.23/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer is presented as a dark amber brown with a decent head forming to start it dissipates to a wisp cover

The aroma is is buttery full of crystal malt and a slightly roasted malt.

The taste is an average brown, has slightly roasted with crystal maltiness. a slight nuttiness in the finishes but nothing special.

Serving type: on-tap

01-14-2011 20:23:13 | More by bishopdc0
Photo of DoctorDog


3.2/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz can into a nonic. Big thanks to "beveritt" for passing this one along to me.
*Not listed here, but said to be 5% ABV "elsewhere."

A- Brown/amber, and a bit hazy. Pours with ~2 fingers tan head, which settles gently into a thin cap.

S- A moderate malty caramel with a slightly metallic undercurrent.

T- A bit of earthy hops, followed by some lightly sweet caramel malts. Moderate earthy, faintly metallic bitterness.

M- Moderately high carbonation. Medium light feel.

D- OK. Flavor and aroma are nothing to write home about, but are not off-putting, and overall is still a pretty easy drink.

Future outlook: Another brown that failed to stir me in any significant way. Not available around here, so not really a concern anyways.

Serving type: can

12-12-2010 04:48:17 | More by DoctorDog
Photo of SickGnar


3.35/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: slightly orange/red medium brown with a large and rocky just off-white head. Keeps a nice ring with okay lacing. Has a bit of haze, but is pretty clear for the color.

S: Rather restrained. Thin whiff of caramel malts with a hint of sweetness. Some faint fruity esters. No hops or much of anything else.

T: Steely caramel flavor. Not super malty, it more of a biscuit base with some low level sweetness. Some toasty and nutty notes. A bit of toffee, but really not much in the way of roastyness. Only some light chocolate hints. Actually, it is more toward being hop forward. Not super bitter, but quite flavorful. Earthy, herbal, & woody flavor up front gets grassy in the finish. As hops linger a bit, some more (though still reserved) roasty and chocolate notes emerge.

M: Just under medium body with CO2 over-matched somewhat. Not bad, but could use some more body. Rather dry and just barely enough body to carry hops and carbonation.

D: Approachable and drinkable. Nicely balanced, and with a bit more body and malts (especially in the nose) it would shine even more. No flaws and quite nice.

Serving type: can

12-09-2010 21:05:22 | More by SickGnar
Photo of masey222


4.75/5  rDev +36.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Seriously one of the best beers I have had ever...
It comes in a can which is just absurd but what ever haha...
It pours a deep dark chocolate brown with a thick creamy smooth head that is a nice tan, the lace is sticky but thin and leave a nice film on the surface....
The smell is of a roasted malt with some chocolate and maybe cherry notes....
The taste is spot on with my ideal brown sweet yet tart like a good chocolate perfectly balanced with a mild mild hop when it first hits your tongue but then its right to a deep deep chocolate malt with some coffee under tone the finish is dry but sweet and rich....
consistency wise it is just right too again it is a bit dry at the end but isn't bitter so its ok, it leaves you wanting another drink.

Drinkability is perfect for a heavy deep dark beer I could drink these all night and not get sick of it. It just goes down so easy and nice and it is my comfort food because in my eyes it is everything a brown should be.

Serving type: can

11-25-2010 22:34:09 | More by masey222
Photo of Bighuge


2.73/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep brown/auburn tone. Light brown head. Lacing comes in abundant rings. Aroma brings some brown malts, a little chocolate and a lot of butterscotch. Flavor is more of the same, though the butterscotch isn't totally out of hand. Flavor has caramel and butterscotch, very light roasted malt, and light chocolate. Sweet in the mouth but actually a lingering bitterness after drinking. Not a particularily pleasing meld of flavors. Medium bodied and slightly astringent.

Serving type: can

10-26-2010 21:02:58 | More by Bighuge
Photo of jampics2


2.7/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz can into a snifter. Thanks to Paul for grabbing this at the brewery on a trip to the UP. 

The beer is a cloudy brown with amber highlights, a ring of head and decent enough lace. Just not enough head for the style - an American brown from the can should be able to demonstrate more staying power.   

Instantly upon inhaling the aromas, we have a problem. A slight tartness is present and is pretty disturbing. Mild roast and hops are overshadowed. Just has a sour overtone, is it infected or is it the house yeast?  Either way, this is a legit review since the cans were purchased at the brewery this week!  

The taste is interesting and does have some redeeming qualities. I get a well defined taste of Graham cracker and malted milk balls, standing out from typical brown ale mild roast and some hoppy bitterenss. Then the problems re-emerge- a tart cherry and cardboard taste come through. This is strange, it's not like most infections I've had, it's almost like the tartness from a Belgian Wit. My buddy swears it tastes better out of the can, but the snifter in front of me is just plain bad.  

The beer features a very crisp carbonation and is slightly watery in the finish. The body is medium to light.    Somethings off - it's not so drinkable, and not a beer I will be revisiting any time soon.  

Serving type: can

10-08-2010 02:17:09 | More by jampics2
Photo of beveritt


3.13/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz can into an Imperial pint glass. Picked this up when in Michigan to visit a friend last weekend. Label depicts, what else, a draw bridge, and contain a description of the brewery, the beer, and the bridge. Stamped with 10/06/03 on the bottom. Not sure what that means; hope the beer is not 7 years old.

Appearance: Pours with 2 finger is light tan foam. This settles to a thin, almost complete layer of foam. The beer itself is perfectly clear mahogany with a slight orange hue. No sediment in the can.

Smell: Sweet caramel malt aroma with hints of toffee.

Taste: Significant carbonation bite upfront, followed by a slightly sweet caramel malt more mellow than in the aroma. Hints of baker's cocoa and mild coffee. Vegetal undertones with a mild sweetness lingering in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Average to slightly above average carbonation level. Body is decent.

Drinkability: Nothing over the top, but not too bad. As it is unavailable in Ohio, don't imagine I will be revisiting this one.

Serving type: can

08-08-2010 23:58:50 | More by beveritt
Photo of ZAP


2.93/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A-Mahogany brown color....light head on top

S-I get a mild butterscotch off flavor to it on the aroma...

T-More of the butterscotch...some might call it caramel but it is butterscotch to me...again I don't think it is intended...some lighter cocoa powder

M-Medium bodied...firm...

D-Seems off to me....butterscotch should not be in this....it is not completely overbearing and this is still fine to drink but this just doesn't seem right to me...tough beer to score..

Serving type: can

08-04-2010 04:13:31 | More by ZAP
Photo of indiapaleale


4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour - dark auburn, brown and somewhat murky in appearance. Fairly large head stands atop this hearty looking brew.

Aroma - lots of sweet brown sugar, caramel and dense malt aromas. Some hints at orange or citrus along with a little vanilla.

Taste - lots of sweetness up front, a little like a Twix bar on the tongue but this is met with a nice hop bite that was a little unexpected. Things get balanced out quickly and this turns into a very delicious brown ale. Plenty of flavor packed into this beer and yet it still pretty light tasting. A nice surprise from the good people in the UP (Upper Peninsula of Michigan)!

Overall - tasty brown ale. Lots of flavor yet balanced and drinkable to the max. This screams session ale and campfire.

Would I buy more of it? - totally. I really need to round out things and find a way to get my hands on their Blonde and Black Ales.

Serving type: can

07-19-2010 02:07:49 | More by indiapaleale
Photo of bilyboy65


3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

To me this beer is pretty standard. But I gave it high remarks because I'm one of those people that believes aluminum cans adds it's flavors to beers. But with this one it isn't that detectable. Maybe that says something about lagers that are normally canned.

The review...
Nice brown color that has an unusually white head. A little cloudy too. Notes of brown sugar, yeast and roasted malts fills the airways to the lungs. While the tastebuds dance with joy as a sweet sugar wakes them up, followed by a crisp sourness and leaving them used and bitter. Awaiting the call the next day. Good life in this beer as the carbonation from the light/medium bodied beer passes through the mouth. Very enjoyable beer and one that is good for today, a wet-rainy day.

Serving type: can

04-18-2010 19:19:56 | More by bilyboy65
Photo of buschbeer


3.78/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured into a pint glass to a generous, tan head. This beer is uniformly brown in color. I just get the faintest of sweet malts on the nose. Now the taste is quite surprising. I get some caramel flavor but it is quickly replaced by moderate hops. The hop presence is that of a weak pale ale. It adds something unexpected to this beer. Otherwise, it would be a rather bland, run of the mill, brown ale. I would drink it again based on this uniqueness.


Serving type: can

12-22-2009 18:06:30 | More by buschbeer
Photo of degerbah


3.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium brown color with lots of head that settles quickly. Huge malt smell, sweet with a tiny bit of roasted malt flavor. The taste is almost creamy with a ton of malt flavor. Slightly over-powering aftertate, but light mouthfeel makes the beer very drinkable. Just a little bit less malt taste would be better for me but still excellent.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2009 18:47:52 | More by degerbah
Photo of Ineedabeerhere

Rhode Island

2.78/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Dave for this one. Had on 10/8, from notes.

Pours a toasted nut brown color into my sam adams pint. Amber hues peeking at the edges. Not much in the way of head retention or lacing, though it is a nice color.

Smells of musty toasted malts and cereal grains. Caramel-toffee sweetness. Gets heartier as it warms. Taste follows the cues from the aroma, some metallic off-flavors and a considerable sweetness.

Moderate to thin mouthfeel for its style, but the metallic finish is pretty off-putting. Drinkability is tolerable for its style (thin body helps), but the off flavors make it tougher as it warms.

Serving type: can

11-26-2009 04:34:45 | More by Ineedabeerhere
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Lift Bridge Brown Ale from Keweenaw Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 91 ratings.