Hub City Brown Ale | Hub City Brewing Company

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Hub City Brown AleHub City Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Hub City Brewing Company
Iowa, United States

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Deuane on 08-20-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 49 |  Reviews: 39
Photo of pschul4
1.25/5  rDev -52.3%

Photo of Ragingbull
1.41/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Dark amber in color more than a light brown. There is some light lacing and a rim of foam. Some prickle can be seen where the light shines through. The nose is earthy with some malt tones and a gentle grain character. The nose more like wine than beer. Some sharp notes in the flavor are a major turnoff, especially in a brown ale. A highly grainy attack. Some nut tones are able to come through somehow. It seems to be undermalted in my opinion. Almost as if they used half the grain and malt and twice the water. The malt really struggles to hold up to the grain flavors and the sharp acidic tones. Way lighter and sharper than I expected when I bought a six pack of a brown ale while in Iowa. Ugh. I am not crazy about it. I shouldn't have reviewed it yet. . .maybe some schlub will want to try one of the four I have left.

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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 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 is only warming because it is hard to drink...

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Photo of OldhouseRecs
1.5/5  rDev -42.7%

Photo of PaleAlien2
1.52/5  rDev -42%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

What In The Hell?

The beer is a disaster.

Much to light, transparent for a Brown. I can see right through it. Nice head retention and lacing though, so I have to give credit for that.

Smell is exceptionally sweet. Gets your attention--even from a distance.

I don't know if it's the worst beer I've ever had (see SA Cranberry Lambic), but it's in the conversation. Bizarre. Extremely tart! Made me pucker my lips. Literally tastes like orange juice after you've just brushed your teeth.

Remarkably bad.

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Photo of delmarnate
1.7/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Awful. I hate to pile on any brewer , but I really don't understand how this beer got distributed out of it's local area. Very chemical aroma to start, followed by an appallingly thin mouthfeel for a brown. The taste is watered down caramel and acid with a bitter aftertaste similar to stale coffee. Really bad, stay away.

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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 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 nmann08
2/5  rDev -23.7%

Photo of NoBeerLeftBehind
2/5  rDev -23.7%

Photo of muddyh2oblues
2/5  rDev -23.7%

Photo of barnzy78
2/5  rDev -23.7%

Photo of DesMoinesMike
2.17/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

My second review for Hub City and it's 0 for 2. It appeared more like a red/amber than a brown, initially with 3 fingers of head that setteld to 1/2 a finger that never died. Not much aroma. The tast was undetectible through all the hops. My tongue almost hurt because it was so bitter. This experiment ended in a drain pour.

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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)

 335 characters

Photo of NBMLove
2.25/5  rDev -14.1%

Photo of beerbrains
2.38/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

For a while now I have been excited to see all the beer activity going on in small towns across Iowa. I thought I had lucked out when on a recent trip to Des Moines I had the chance to stop a the store and grab a few 6 packs before heading home. Well, I have to admit I was very disappoited with my foray into rural brewing. I poured this into a pint glass. It had no head at all, thus no lacing. Its taste and mouthfeel were both watery. I got none of the hoppiness that others here have described,almost no flavor at all. The experience can be best summed up as drinking a watered down Newcastle. As I write this I am begining to think this may have been an old package (no date on the bottles or the carrier).

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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.

 1,038 characters

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 ghebel
2.41/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours a clear amber/red. Not brown as advertised. Head is 1 inch off-white orange that dissipates quickly and leaves no lacing.

S - As I was pourig this beer, I got a whiff from a foot away that reminded me of being at the baseball game with my dad in the 70's smelling the cheap ballpark beer from the glass he was drinking.

When I stuck my nose in the glass I experienced a sensation similar to sniffing horseradish except mixed with a background of roasted malt and fruity graininess. Not overly pleasant, but the aroma does seem to mellow with time out of the bottle.

T - Taste is not so good either, sort of mouth puckering and sour with hints of roasted malt and breadiness. It too seems to improve as the beer breathes.

M - Thin and puckering, sour.

D - Not really drinkable for me.

Overall - I am having a hard time differentiating this beer from the Hub City Amber Ale. The main difference is that I may be able to finish this beer as it seems to get better as it sits in the glass.

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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' 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 Kraken
2.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes consumed 8/6/09

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard water glass. Firm pour calls fourth virtually zero head. No lace. Color is a slightly muddied very light brown.

Nose- Slight sweetness, nuttiness, mild caramel.

Pallate- Very mild caramel, some sourness. Very disappointing.

Mouthfeel- Tart, mildly carbonated.

Drinkability- Not great.

 368 characters

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 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 Tballz420
2.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Alright my pour was a little aggressive and im staring at a glass with 98% head. Really pillowy. Give it another ten mins to reset...

Anyways, mine has a really big head, hazy dark caramel body. Sweet brown malt nose. Pretty light on the malts for the taste, which might actually be a plus since it tastes less like a brown ale than a lot of brown ales. Thin to med, pretty soft. Eh, not horrible, but my least favorite style and pretty standard at that.

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Hub City Brown Ale from Hub City Brewing Company
2.62 out of 5 based on 49 ratings.
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