Brown Bear Ale
Catawba Brewing Co.

Brown Bear AleBrown Bear Ale
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English Brown Ale
Ranked #144
Ranked #36,416
3.68 | pDev: 14.13%
Catawba Brewing Co.
North Carolina, United States
Brown Bear AleBrown Bear Ale
Reviews: 22 | Ratings: 61 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Buckeye55
3.54/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown, with minimal fast fading head. Scent is of grain and hops. Taste is equal parts malt and hop bitterness. Medium mouthfeel and an aftertaste dominated by hops on the backend

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Photo of PhantomWolf
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A rich, dark beer with a tan/ white head that settled quicker than I like- However, there was still plenty of carbonation in the beer. The flavour was quite nice. Earthy, toasty, coffee, and toffee. A very easy drinking beer for how dark it is. A great beer to pour for a friend who swears they hate dark beer.

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Photo of SmokySignals
4.28/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown ale poured from can, with a very slight head that settles out quickly.
Aromas are rich, typical choco-malt notes are there. Love some crystal and chocolate malts.
According to Cartawba, this is a British styled brown with the hop selections, and so it is drier, lighter and refreshing ale , not the sweet fruity tootsie roll type. yum
The light watery feel makes it super crushable.
My can says 5.2% abv.
Overall, I really like the Brown Bear for its light, dry character and the blends of malts and hops that authenticate its great taste. Try one if/when you see it.
Libate! Don't hibernate!

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Photo of chinchill
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From a 12 oz can.
Clear, dark brown body with a decent white head.
Aroma: fine toasted grain with faint spicy hops.
Flavor: moderately strong for style with more hops than the aroma suggests. Mildly bitter.
Feel: Medium body with medium carbonation.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I'm trying this at Buffalo Wings and Rings in Franklin, TN. It poured a nearly opaque dark amber with off white head that is not leaving any lace. The scent had hints of sweet bread. The taste was nicely balanced and easy to drink. The mouthfeel is lighter in body with good carbonation. Overall it's a good beer.

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Photo of Gavage
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: brown in color with a one finger head that falls apart quickly.

Smell: some bread and earthy tones rise from the glass.

Taste: moderate malt profile with some hints of nuts, hint of chocolate, and an earthy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp from start to finish. Short aftertaste here.

Overall: a decent brown ale that is easy to drink.

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Photo of OldSwampy
3.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

My second beer from this brewery, and another winner. Dark brown, as dark as a stout, and a light tan head. Lacing minimal. Nose and taste also in some ways like some porters or stouts. Nose dominated by caramel malts. More malt than hops, more nutty than floral, but altogether a solid flavor, though not extravagant. Mouthfeel simple, clean, a little dry, a minimally bitter finish. Just a nice solid dark ale package without being truly complex or outstanding. From a can, poured into a nonic for drinking, bottom dated 117-16 (i.e. 25 April 2016).

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Photo of kell50
3.71/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On draught at The Pizza Peel in Charlotte, NC.

A: Pours a dark brown body with reddish copper highlights. Not too much head to speak of.

S: Definitely an English style ale. Not too powerful, not too roasty, and very understated.

T: Very malt forward beer. It's quite nutty, earthy, roasty and does finish with a mild sweetness.

M: Medium bodied, with a medium amount of carbonation.

O: Let me start by saying I love Catawba and most of what they do. This beer totally fits the bill this time of year. Super drinkable with a great deal of roasted malt flavor. Dig it!

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Photo of metter98
3.52/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria, Asheville, NC

A: The beer is very hazy brown in color. It poured with a thin white head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light aromas of dark and brown malts are present in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has light flavors of dark malts.
M: It feels a bit shy of being medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is easy to drink as it seems lighter in body compared to other beers in the style.

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Photo of Bung
4.01/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Draft at Macs. This is a very dark brown pour. Finger of cream head. Sticks to the glass nicely.

Aroma, toasted malt, peat, some chocolate some coffee.

Taste, toast malt and nut. Some molasses. Lesser chocolate and lesser yet coffee. Faint herbal hops. There is a light coffee in the finish.

Heavy side of light, almost creamy, thinness prevents it from being really creamy. Could drink a large amount if this. Pretty flavorful session ale.
One of the better English browns I've had in a while.

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Photo of tdm168
4.33/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Barley's Taproom in Asheville

A - pours a dark brown with a thin layer of brownish head that has good retention

S - creamy, nutty, faint caramel

T - toasty, caramel, toffee, coffee, nutty, earthy

M - smooth, medium bodied, good carbonation

This is a great, full flavored, highly drinkable beer. It's definitely worth trying.

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Photo of TheKingofWichita
1.65/5  rDev -55.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a deep brownish black color with a thick tan head and a little lacing. Smells of tons of malts and a little coffee. Tastes like a malt bomb. Nothing else. Mouthfeel is medium and it has a good carbonation. Drinkability is less than average because the flavor is so bad.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another day up in Asheville, and it was HOT! The only thing to keep you cool was several trips around
to the local watering holes. Consumed on tap on 07/06/2010.

Finally I get to drink the brown bear. Sat down in the mushroom and ordered this one up. Nice dark
brown pour with some light garnet shining in on the sides and bottom and nice off white head capping
the top,

Aroma is caramel, coffee, touches of light chocolate and loads of roasted malts. Warming allows some
earthy hops to take hold but not too much. Just enough to keep it interesting. Rich, creamy feel hits
you just the right way as it was not too filling but had enough of a bite to keep me interested. Nice
smooth, fading finish was just about right as the final touches of flavor lapsed off the tongue.

Overall this was very solid and something I would love to try again any day.

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Photo of aubuc1
3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured flat in to a shaker pint glass

looks like a dark flat coke. clear but dark brown.

smell is mellow roast and slightly tame

taste is a smooth roasty kind of like a porter.

good full mouthfeel and and nice drinking english style brown ale.

a solid beer from catawba. wish it was poured with some head.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an opaque, dark brown body with a thinnish, beige head.

Smell: Brown malt aroma with a nice amount of chocolate to it.

Taste: Brown malt flavor that, while light, does display nutty, earthy tones and a mild sweetness. Hints of chocolate. Finishes dry and with a soft bitterness and still more of the chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Very drinkable and quite flavorful for a light-ABV brown ale.

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Photo of Duster72
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company. I tried to send it back because I thought it was a porter, but they assured me that it was the Brown Bear and other locals assured me that it was the correct brew.

Pours a very nice dark brown with a off-white head. Aroma is huge chocolate. Taste is cocoa with definite nuts, coffee, and toasty malts. A little more toasty than I like, but in line with the style. Medium body was a little on the heavy side. The beer is very tasty, but I have to be in the mood for a brew like this, and wasn't expecting anything so heavy on a hot summer day. Definitely worth checking out!

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Photo of ncvbc
4.3/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was the first of the beers I tried from CVBC and this is also my first review. Tried on-tap at Barley's in Asheville.

Beautiful dark brown color with a smell of chocolate coming through first. Taste is unlike any other Brown Ale I have tried to date and in my opinion a category of its own. Chocolate, caramel, a little more thick and leaning towards Porter. Smooth mouthfeel and light body make this a very drinkable brew. I just hope they put out some growlers soon!

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Photo of AlexJ
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark walnut brown with a thin, but creamy and dense head of light tan that holds quite well. Darker than your average Brown Ale, to me this is a good thing.

Aroma is mild, creamy, and almost nutty. Smooth caramel malt is accented by whispers of dry cocoa, charred wood, and a hint of sweet tobacco.

Flavor thankfully holds up to the nose. Creamy caramel and toasty chocolate malt notes with a strange but welcome charred note. More complex than expected from such a low abv.

Body is medium, creamy, and very smooth. Feels like velvet on my tongue. A joy to drink.

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Photo of chanman20
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Note: Had this Beer as part of a 'sampler' called 'Malt Madness' (6, 6 oz glasses of beer)

Appearance - Dark brown with thin tan head that laced the glass

Smell - malty cocoa aroma

Taste - Slightly sweet with milk chocolate and roasted nuts - very well built

Mouthfeel - Light and Smooth - just enough taste for you to want another

Drinkability - Amazing Flavor

Sebago used to be my favorite - this one kicked its a$$

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Photo of Enola
4.23/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint at Barley's

This was damn good for a brown ale. The beer is very dark brown. There was a thin head. The smell was caramel like. The taste was very good. The beer had a nice smooth finish. This will be one of the beers I get in my growler when the brewery moves into town.

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Photo of wcudwight
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at Barley's
Darker than I expected. More of a porter color. Excellent head with lot's of retention. Very mild in the nose. Maybe some caramel and a hint of nuts. This is a unique brown ale. Very malty and sweet. WIth some roasted and caramel taste. Nice nutty finish. Feels good in the mouth, but just a tad bit syrupy. Very drinkable. After one you'll order another.
I've been impressed with the two Catawba Valley brews I've had.

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Photo of homersimpson
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy deep reddish brown with a frothy tan lace that quickly turns to lace
Earthy aroma tinged with malt
Slightly slick medium body with light carbonation
Very malty with a bit of a peat note. Earthy with only a faint hint of hop. Lingering yeast and dryness in the finish
Nice english malts, a rather interesting brew. Not the run of the mill brown ale. I was rather surprised that this was coming from NC.

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Brown Bear Ale from Catawba Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 61 ratings