El Oso | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

17 Reviews
no score
Send samples

Brewed by:
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Crafted in the spirit of thirst quenching Mexican lagers, this well balanced amber lager is crisp with just a suggestion of caramel.

2009 California State Fair - SILVER
2008 Great American Beer Festival American-Style Amber Lager – BRONZE

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-10-2003

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 65
Photo of seedyone
4.43/5  rDev +35.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

07/17/13 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Not your grandfather's lager, unless he's from South of the Border. This is a lager more in the style of a Dos Equis or Modelo. IMO most US lagers lean to the pilsner side, not in this case. Thicker in body & more substantial in flavor this is a great beer. Even though the ABV says 4.5% it taste like a bigger brew. Give it whirl.

 369 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.27/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured minimal head on a clearer, medium straw colored body.
The aroma is faint; a little grain smell comes through.
The taste is grainy, mild bitterness with caramel which rounds it out nicely.
The texture is crisp but soft with moderate carbonation.
Overall, a nice and easy drink.

 283 characters

Photo of avaldivia
2.64/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Bear Republic.

A: Really nice clear amber color. Surprisingly nice head and lacing.

S: Light. Very light. Some cereal grains. Not much going on.

T: Again, light. Some grains. A bit of hops, but it is very light.

M: Light. Crisp. Good carbonation.

O: Not one of Bear Republic's best offerings. Just not much going on.

 331 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.05/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: dark amber in color with a short 1/2" head that breaks apart quickly.

Smell: very little aroma here as some bready and caramel flavors are tough to pull from the glass.

Taste: caramel, light grainy bread, hints of fruit sweetness, and some mild grassy / earthy tones are the main flavor components. Bitterness is barely detectable.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Light crispness to start, smoother at the finish. Aftertaste is very short.

Overall: I was looking for a lower alcohol beer on tap while at a bar, and seeing a Bear Republic beer on I figured it was an easy selection. It had a mild flavor but left me a bit unsatisfied. I only had one.

 661 characters

Photo of zacross
2.56/5  rDev -22%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Excited to try the new bear republic labeled (misguiding) as amber ale just tapped at the local craft brew bar in a rural city not known for its selection of beer. There were high hopes as i received a pint of an amber hued draft with a thinner head. First sip gave way to an increase of these high hopes as it went down smooth and enjoyably. As i continued to drink, the sour things got. I have utmost respect for this bar, filling my growler here very often, yet this was a great let down. The beer started retaining a metallic taste (no doubt from the keg) but more importantly the smell began to shift the more i drank. A distinct fish smell preceded every sip making me feel ill the more i drank. The taste became less enjoyable (drinkability=a good pilsner) and more forceful to get each swallow down. I love and will continue to love bear republic and hopefully this is an outlying case of disappointment for the el oso, but i would not recommend taking the risk.

 970 characters

Photo of DiabolikDUB
3.5/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-Tap @ Saraveza poured into Pilsner glass.

Pours a light golden-brown color with a couple fingers of off-white head that quickly dissolves into a thin ring around the glass. The aroma is mostly caramel and toasted bread and some sight hints of nuttiness. The flavor is all malt, nice a mellow, not abrasive and extremely smooth with a slightly dry, slightly bitter finish. It has a light-medium mouthfeel with a crisp carbonation. Really enjoyable and highly sessionable. I really liked the malt profile of this beer which is what and why it really shines in my book.

 570 characters

Photo of Floydster
3.32/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had a pint of this up north back in April, looking at my notes it does not say where from and I cannot recall at the moment, straight from my notebook, color is golden amber, not much of a head, aroma has grass, earthiness, flowers, and cereal, flavor starts off with a crisp grain and toasted malt taste, ends earthy with a hint of citrus sweetness, medium bodied, lots of carbonation, easy to drink, no alcohol present, smooth and crisp, not a bad lager but nothing special either, good to see Bear Republic branching out with new styles, although they seem to come up a bit short with this one, would skip in the future, worth trying

 636 characters

Photo of jneiswender
2.94/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I had this beer as part of a flight of samples at the Healdsburg, California restaurant. From tap and in 3oz sample glasses.

A-copper body with an off white head

S-sweet scent

T-malty, almost candy-like, no detectable hop flavor


D-I would have liked to have seen more hop character to this brew. The malt side is really nice but too sweet.

 354 characters

Photo of SurlyDuff
3.7/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

As usual, lagers suffer from a specific chronic syndrome on BA. However, I attend to review this objectively, judging it to style, not against iipas or impy stouts.

Had a pint at the Healdsburg pub. Wasn't served with fruit accessory (apparently some other BA's were not as fortunate).

Bright yellow with a white rocky head, plenty of tasty little bubbles were all aflutter.

Light cereal graininess and a mild noble hop crispness in the aroma. Light honey sweetness.

Its a good drinker for sure, beating any american macro lagers hands down. It's a bit thinner than I'd like even for a pils, and the carbonation was a bit too fizzy, almost had some blow out my mouth/nose on a vigorous swill. I'd recommend it to a craft newbie, but otherwise get yourself a racer5 and you'd be infinity more happy.

 805 characters

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.8/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Elmer Sudds. Presented in a shaker "pint" glass and appears a clear golden amber color with about a finger of fluffy off white foam. No lacing to speak of. Smells and tastes of bready toasted grains, light grassy hops, hint of caramel malt. Crisp and quenching with medium body and carbonation. My glass was empty in no time and I ordered another. Tasty stuff.

 370 characters

Photo of illidurit
3.11/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at The Red in Santa Cruz. Poured into a pint glass. Clear gold with thick but watery white head. Aroma is earthy with some toasty grains. Flavors of dough with a touch of toffee. Some vague noble hoppiness. Thin and well-carbonated. Pretty boring.

 254 characters

Photo of Deuane
3.76/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Light copper with a thin white head leaving nice lace.

S-Slightly bready with a faint whiff of citrusy hops.

T-Sharp but somewhat light hop bite. Very crisp. Followed up by a nice malty finish.

M-Medium-light body with a very nice crispness.

D-Great summertime drinker. Like what one would hope all Mexican Lagers could be like! Super crisp and refreshing--Nice.

 368 characters

Photo of yourefragile
3.48/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap at Ginger Man in NYC. Not familiar with it at time when ordering, but always happy to try something new from BR. It was listed under the lager category so I knew what to expect.

A: Dark, clear golden color with a large white head that hangs around for a while and leaves streams behind on the glass.
S: Very mild, grain, malts, everything expected from a lager. Nothing remarkable, nothing bad.
T: Immediately reminds me of Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold, but, well, not as great. Fit exactly what I was looking for at the time however, a refreshing, flavorful "beer". Slightly more hopped than the GL, but in the end a pretty average lager. Medium body with active carbonation. Very drinkable, but nothing special, plenty of other beers fit this style and better

 769 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.23/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at The Gingerman, NYC:

Pours deep golden with a thin white head that stays. Trailing, mostly vanishing, lacing sticks.

The smell is floral/slightly tropical with a whiff of alcohol. This isn't "bad", but is out of style.

The taste is even more out-of-style. Honey sweetness with floral/almost medicinal bitterness. Not much of a finish. A touch of alcohol comes through.

Light-bodied, slightly coating despite thinness. Not quite as crisp at a lager should be.

Not a fan of this one, and I don't know that I enjoyed it as much as the score shows. They tried to do too much, but not enough in the right direction of the style. A bit out-of-control and not the thirst-quencher it should be. A disappointment, especially considering the brewery.

 754 characters

Photo of Offa
3.01/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is decent, light, clean, crisp, but a bit thin.

Light golden amber, it has a medium white head and a little lace.

The aroma is grain, crackers, lemon, and a little pine and fruit.

The taste an aromatic character of crackers and grain with light citrus and pine and even a hint of caramel. However, it is a bit thin in feel and character.

 348 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.2/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: Sampled at the Brewpub on a wet and windy Monday lunchtime.

Appearance: Served in a pint glass with a slice of lime!!! WTF!? I decided to remove the offending article and make a mess on the Bar with it. Brilliantly clear dark golden body with a broken white head, not sure if that was intentional or whether the acids in the lime slice were responsible for the broken head. Lots of streamers & solid carbonation.

Nose: Sweet malts with some Lagery hints. Faded nose with a mild character.

Taste: Starts with a low profile, center-piece has a sweet malty feel but the finish is decidely weak. Rather bland but nonetheless a clean drinking Lager that has some nice aspects.

Mouthfeel: Thin bodied, not even the supporting carbonation can rescue it from what is an average feel.

Drinkability: Has a quaffable dimension, but it is supposed to have I guess. Still, I could not manage more than one of these; it lacks any real depth to return to.

Overall: The name strongly hints at its influence and hence its intended market. Not that bad, I tried it once as I had not sampled this one before, but somehow it doesn’t really exhibit any of Bear Republic’s traits. I’m sure this one plugs a hole in the Brewpubs portfolio but it’s not one that gets out of the Pub for obvious reasons.

 1,315 characters

Photo of rastaman
2/5  rDev -39%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

[email protected] Republic Brewpub. In a similiar vain to the Oso De Oro, a little better though, pretty smooth and bland, with some honeyed flavours. I was more excited about their hoppier stuff it has to be said. This didn't do much for me at all, pretty good for a run of the mill lager though.

 288 characters

El Oso from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
3.28 out of 5 based on 65 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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