River Guide | Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

BA SCORE
87
very good
233 Ratings
River GuideRiver Guide
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
Massachusetts, United States
berkshirebrewingcompany.com

Style: American Dark Wheat Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly River Ale

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-13-2002

BEER STATS
Ratings:
233
Reviews:
123
Avg:
3.93
pDev:
9.67%
 
 
Wants:
60
Gots:
15
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 233 |  Reviews: 123
Photo of KelsoSaaz
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.37/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been a challenge lately to get through anything new, but I decided to let my family have a crack at a few things this weekend and pulled a sample off of each. Part of the " Random BBQ Event" at my in laws on 07/19/2009.
 
 
Appearance - Solid brown color here with only the slightest bit of reddish touches around the sides. Very smooth looking head of tan pops up on top and settles down nicely into a fine pillow. Rich side lacing and a good lacing keep up the impression that this was what I was looking for.
 
Smell - Lots of nuttiness going on here. Caramel, grassy notes, hints of nuts and bready aromas all coming together. Sweet and dark at the same time. Hints of some prunes perhaps, maybe a touch of grass in there as well, definitely had a kitchen sink mentality to it.
 
Taste - Smooth, soo smooth. Caramel comes across first, rippling and inviting all at the same time. Then it comes knocking at my door with a roasted peanut like flavor that dives with a hint of molasses. Very sweet. A bitter note pops it head up, piney maybe? Interesting, as it fades and leaves behind a nice touch of fruit and a really solid sweet flavor that continues to tug on your taste buds as it floats away.
 
Feel - Very nice here, creamy medium feel on this one. Carbonation was damn near spot on and the rich Mouthfeel was just what I was looking for. Coating as it allowed the taste to flow nearly perfectly.
 
Drinkability - It was a touch strong I do have to admit, but it was well hidden behind the copious malts that were laid down in front of it. I could have done the whole bottle by myself, but there was really no need to.
 
Overall - Again another very solid offering here and a really nice way to cap off the Berkshire session. I am very impressed with what they have to offer and would gladly do this one again.

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Photo of gfreed
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another excellent choice from BCB. This one is about two shades darker than their APA, being somewhat ruby-colored when held up to a light, with a decent tan head. The head lets go a lovely bouquet of malty caramel and even a little alcohol, but also some nice dark tones of toffee and fruit. This is one of those beers I want to smell as much as drink. The malt is front and center with this one, but you'll find that the hops gives a subtle whack as you swallow. The 7.0% ABV gives it some warmth, but the alcohol remains in the background. As with many BCB beers, the carbonation is relatively low so the overall feel is smooth, making the beer highly drinkable. Worth going out of your way to find and, as always, it's extremely affordable. Buy two.

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Photo of BostonHops
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber in a pilsner glass.
served two months from best by date.

pours a translucent, dark amber tone while yielding a finger and a half of a creamy/foamy beige head. decent retention and lacing; overall a beautiful looking beer. nose is appetizing. very wheaty with a big sweet malty presence to it.

taste is exceeds the nose. bold notes of wheat, caramel, brown sugar, and a underlying fruitiness i can quite pin down. pretty damn fantastic. medium bodied mouthfeel with average carbonation.

overall, a real pleasant surprise. did not expect to enjoy this beer as much as i am. ordinarily not a style i seek out, but this is just really flavorful and tasty. hands down my favorite offering to date from berkshire, a somewhat under-the-radar local brewery that continues to impress me.

(originally reviewed: 07-19-2011)

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Photo of perrymarcus
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber served in a pilsner glass.
best by date 10/13/11. (year is a bit smudged, at least i think/hope that's an "11")

pours a translucent, dark amber tone while yielding a finger and a half of a creamy/foamy beige head. decent retention and lacing; overall a beautiful looking beer.

nose is appetizing. very wheaty with a big sweet malty presence to it.

taste is exceeds the nose. bold notes of wheat, caramel, brown sugar, and a underlying fruitiness i can quite pin down. pretty damn fantastic. medium bodied mouthfeel with average carbonation.

overall, a real pleasant surprise. did not expect to enjoy this beer as much as i am. just really flavorful and tasty. hands down my favorite offering to date from berkshire.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a Duvel tulip. The #1-rated American Dark Wheat Ale - one more best-of-style tick down, far too many to go.

A: Clear dark caramel body under two fingers of dense tan foam. Good retention, decent lace. Very good.

S: Breadiness is the first thing I notice, resembling a well-toasted multi-grain bagel. As my nose dips deeper into the glass, I'm met with some major hop notes - lots of earth and spice. Tangy wheat finally shows up on the back end. Quite complex, thoroughly enjoyable, and definitely to style.

T: Follows the nose quite precisely. Nutty, bready malts are up front, spicy wheat and hops show up a bit later, and it ends with a clean, spicy, mildly bitter finish. Slight chalky minerality on the aftertaste. The sweet/spicy/bitter combination of disparate flavors is really pleasant, but the aftertaste is a bit oppressive. Quite good overall, though.

M: Soft, luxurious, creamy medium body. Perfect.

O: Every other beer of this style I've had has been god awful. This is really tasty - it really is like a Weizenbock done with American ale yeast. Great stuff.

Cheers!

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Photo of snowmageddon
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%

Pours a foggy caramel color with a head that recedes quickly. Leaves nice lacing as it goes. On the nose, you can detect honey, biscuit, clove, hay. On my first sip, im hit with honey, toffee, caramel, straw, some banana, clove, raisins. The willamette hops provide a long, earthy hop finish. The mouthfeel is light, with moderate/low carbonation. This is very drinkable with some great notes perfect for a chilly fall day.

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Photo of SeussMD
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
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!

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Photo of tgbljb
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy deep copper color with massive white foamy head. Good retention and perfect lacing.
Smell is a bit mild with some mild dark fruitiness present.
Taste is superb. There is a strong dark fruit malt presence. At the back end a mild bitterness does a perfect balancing act.
Finish is sweet and very refreshing.
What a surprise when I found out this beer was 7%. So easy to drink it is scary.

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Photo of Celtics76
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

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Photo of brentk56
4.26/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a cloudy ice tea brown color and a loong-lasting head that provides decent lacing

Smell: Modest caramel and chocolate with a fruity peach element

Taste: Caramel and milk chocolate up front with fruity flavors arriving mid-palate; a really interesting finish with herbal bitterness, banana and chocolate

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with soft carbonation

Drinkability: Rich with deep fruity flavors and a complex finish - excellent

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Photo of mctizzz
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of Rusty_Pabst
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of yossarian14
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of ctwybeerguy
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of 666_MPH
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of Stoutmeister
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of PEIhop
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of Gatch
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of dangermusic
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of thespaceman
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful dark copper, minimal head size but excellent lacing down the glass. Lots of bubbles flowing up the glass.

Smell: Toasty, bread like aromas fill the nose, a caramel and toffee exchange pair nicely through the malt. Very roasting and inviting, hints of vanilla and spiciness slam the palate in the finish.

Taste: Chocolate malt plays a huge roll up front, very milkshake like flavor follows a huge dose of alcohol and dark esters, a bit of espresso bean is faint but dried out from the sweetness of the crystal malts and sugar. Big bodied taste for such a sweet tasting brew.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, rich and robust.. Medium bodied, a bit dry yet balanced on the tongue and sweet to the feel.

Drinkability: C'mon .. At 3.99 a bottle this is such a good beer to be such a good price. This is what a strong ale should be like, malty, nice mouthfeel, big ABV and a good price. Highly recommened!

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Photo of 2014LM2X1
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Berkshire Brewing was the first craft brewer that I fell in love with. I started out on Steel Rail and went through all of their flavors, including River Ale, in quick succession. That was three years ago; since then, I have been branching out to a number of different breweries.

I revisited Berkshire's Coffeehouse Porter recently, and it was slightly disappointing. Fortunately, I can't say the same for River Ale. I am glad I picked up a bomber on my way home.

The best way I can describe River Ale is this: try it alongside Trappistes Rochefort 10, St. Bernardus 12, and Westy 12. Other than the higher alcohol burn of the latter three, I find the tastes are very similar. I actually don't favor Belgian ales, so I prefer River Ale to the big-name Belgian quads. River Ale doesn't focus on the yeast flavors like the Trappist quads; instead, its more balanced nature allows the sweetness of the malts to shine through.

For $5.00 per bomber, I'd say this is the best value that Berkshire offers. I would highly recommend trying it. And, just for kicks, I would also recommend a blind taste test against some of the more famous Trappist ales - the results might be surprising!

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Photo of wburch1967
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of BeerMaverick
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
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!

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Photo of flexabull
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of gn0sis, thanks again!

Pours a dark amber/brown color, clear, bright, with a nice off white head and good lacing. Looks good.

Aromas aren't strong, but they are pleasant. Light chocolate, cocoa, and dark baked bread.

Taste is nice, this is a flavorful beer. Lots of cocoa and chocolate notes, roasted malts, toasted bread, and light creamy sweetness. Finish is crisp and dry, with a nice mineral hoppy bite that cuts the malts nicely.

Mouthfeel is good, very full, yet quite smooth.

Drinkability is great. This was a pleasant surprise, very tasty and easy to drink. Nicely done Berkshire, this is a keeper!

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River Guide from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
3.93 out of 5 based on 233 ratings.
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