Rio Chama Amber Ale | Chama River Brewing Company

12 Ratings
no score
Send samples

Brewed by:
Chama River Brewing Company
New Mexico, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
If the river were made of beer, it would run amber. First brewed as the house beer for our Santa Fe based steakhouse, Rio Chama Amber Ale has become a cult favorite. This easy to drink, yet flavorful ale is brewed with a blend of pale, toasted and caramel malts. Its spicy, dry hop character complements the malt with a nice balanced finish.

Added by Wolfsdenbrew on 03-30-2005

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 12 |  Reviews: 8
Reviews by ZenAgnostic:
Photo of ZenAgnostic
3.73/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Clear amber body. Offwhite head. Decent retention and low stick.

Smell - Nutty malt. Light on the nose. Slight grassiness.

Taste - Grassy. Very mild. Hop balanced well with the light honey-sweet maltiness.

Mouthfeel - Very frothy and smooth. Plenty of bite.

Overall Drinkability- Delicate but with a bit of hop kick. Easy to drink.

 349 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of LXIXME
3.5/5  rDev +2%

Photo of WoodBrew
3.71/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I tried this beer at a steakhouse in Santa Fe. It poured a clear amber with white head that is leaving a spotty lace. The scent had hints of sweet malt. The taste was nicely balanced and easy to drink. Good caramel base. The mouthfeel was medium in body with good carbonation. Overall it was a solid beer.

 309 characters

Photo of Determined_021
3.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. On tap at the brewpub in August 2009.

Pours a moderate amber color with a light off white head that's about two fingers but quickly recedes without too much lacing. Nose is some pale amber and biscuit malt and some light hopping. Taste is fairly plain with a good malt bill but not much else. Good medium body. Drinks fairly well but is a bit plain.

 371 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.08/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured on-tap at Chama River Brewing Co, the beer was served in a pint glass. The beer pours a nutty orange coloring with a slight foamy head. There is a caramel sweet smell, but it remains on the light side. The initial taste is slightly sour and nutty sweet, with very light peppery hops at the end. The beer remains light and smooth bodied, with a tangy sweet aftertaste. The beer has a clean and smooth finish, but overall the beer is light in all categories. Meh.

 468 characters

Photo of buckyp
3.5/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
3.88/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber-copper colorwith a moderate light beige head. Nice clear ale that leaves a nice amount of lacing behind.

Aroma is mild, just a light hop bouquet.

Flavor has a bit of toasted and caramel malt. Nice balance of malt and hops, with a pleasing mild hop finish.

Good carbonation and light body make this a wonderful session beer. I hhaven't in the past really liked this brewer's normal lineup of beers, but this is really good.

 450 characters

Photo of HardTarget
3.16/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Aroma: Ok, this was an odd beer. My first impression was: stale sandwich. It smelled like milk when it’s just on the edge of going bad, but hasn’t yet.

Appearance: Clear amber glass with a off-white/tan head that left great lace.

Flavor: That odd milk flavor, this one’s a new one for me, never experienced anything like it. It wasn’t BAD, just odd. After I got past it, I got some orange rind and some nice malt flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy body, creamy texture, which just added to the whole “milk” thing.

Overall Impression: Odd, but drinkable. Lactose? I just don’t know what was going on with this one.

 630 characters

Photo of taxguyjase
2.31/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The Rio Chama Amber was a real disappointment. The aroma from the beer was...unique, but in a bad way. It was bordering skunky and that prevented much of any good scents from being detected. I was very sure the beer hadn't gone bad... The beer had a slightly bitter taste and mild, lingering aftertaste. I had to keep drinking it to avoid that aftertaste from sticking around. This beer had to be served cold cold cold, which is where it had the best taste (and that's saying something).

Look - 3.0/5.0 - A standard amber color, nothing to write home about.
Smell - 2.0/5.0 - Yikes, skunky.
Taste - 2.5/5.0 - The bitter taste was nice, but then had a lingering aftertaste that wasn't terribly enjoyable.
Feel - 2.5/5.0 - Lingering aftertaste...bleh.
Drinkability - 2.0 - Very disappointing - they have enough beer there that I can avoid this one.

On a side note - I'm part of the Albuquerque 20/30 Club and we put on an annual charity event called the Equestrian Cup. This is the first year we would get local breweries to add their beers to the tasting menus (normally just really good food and wine). We asked Chama River and they denied us saying "We have given enough this year."

All I wanted was 2-3 kegs to have to feature their beer and market themselves...didn't think I was asking for that much. Anyway, if you go there, talk to them and tell them you want to see Chama River beer at the Equestrian Cup!!! That, or if you know someone who can make something happen, I'll owe you a beer.

 1,505 characters

Photo of thekevlarkid
3.63/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Off the tap at the Rio Chama Steakhouse this beer was an amber color with an one-finger, khaki-colored head. The retention was great and the lacing in fishnets. The aroma was of pale malt, toasted malt and a slight sourness. The flavors were quite good, caramel malt, toasted malt, hints of nuts (almonds) and some balancing hops. The body was medium/light, the mouthfeel semi-creamy and the carbonation spot-on. If it had a better hop profile and less sourness in the nose this one could be very good indeed.

 509 characters

Photo of BcOneSeven
4/5  rDev +16.6%

Rio Chama Amber Ale from Chama River Brewing Company
3.43 out of 5 based on 12 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.