Buena Vista Brown Ale | Alley Kat Brewing Company

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Buena Vista Brown AleBuena Vista Brown Ale
Very Good
56 Ratings
Buena Vista Brown AleBuena Vista Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Alley Kat Brewing Company
Alberta, Canada

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly Alley Kat Amber

Alley Kat Amber, is our version of the original London-style Brown Ale. Amber pours a nice reddish hue and accompanied with a nose of caramel malts and floral hops. Golding hops are used in this brown ale to give it that light floral hoppiness and slight bitterness.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-29-2003

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 56 |  Reviews: 33
Reviews by elricorico:
Photo of elricorico
4.02/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a ruddy caramel colour with a centimeter of creamy tan head. Smell is a battle of malt and hops, with definite roasted malt edging out the citrus hop aroma. A very smellable beer.

The first mouthfull is smooth and flavourful. The roasted malt isn't as prevalent as it was in the aroma, but it is there in the finish. A bit of burnt toffee type flavour for sweetness, then a hit of lemon lime and a bitter, roasted finish. Not a strong bitterness, but enough to make a well balanced beer.

This is an easy drinking, smooth feeling beer. Highly recommended, and a favorite session beer of mine. Goes great after a golf game in the hot sun.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of FadetoBock
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of niangelo
4.42/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a heavy beer glass at my house, and enjoyed while cooking some t-bones on the grill...

Poured at a deep copper with flashes of dark gold. Perfect one-inch tan cinnamon head with a respectable density. Disintegrated after a couple of minutes leaving some light lacing on the glass.

Scent... wow! An airy lightness, some mild malts, and apricots! A refreshing fruit aroma floats over everything. The mouthfeel is exceptional. A pleasing viscosity that I can only describe as silky, with a lively and sparse carbonation.

Taste... the rubber hits the road. I was just not expecting this. Medium darkness of malts gives way to toffee, coffee and caramel. A pleasing complexity with every sip, giving way to shifting flavors as the beer slowly warms. My only complaint is a slight lack of body in the finish, but no worry. As the beer warms up I even get a hint of cinnamon.

This thing flows down. I finish it off, enjoying the world and vowing not to wait long before I take a tour of the Alley-Kay brewery and shake the hand of the brewmaster.

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Photo of bsp77
3.33/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Received in August shipment of my BOTM club.

First of all this is a Brown Ale, a London-Style or Southern English Brown Ale to be precise. It says so on the label and on the website, plus it tastes like one. Yes, it is called Alley Kat Amber, but is that enough to fool most people here who talk about how well it fits the American Amber style? C'mon, we are supposed to have discerning palates. Anyway...

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Brownish-amber with thin white head and slight lacing.

Smell: Caramel, fruit, molasses and earthy English hops.

Taste: Somewhat sweet caramel, slight fruitiness, with a nice touch of English hops. Very mild overall, but it does have nice balance.

Feel: Low carbonation, somewhat thin body.

Drinkability: This seems to be relatively true to style for a London-Style (or Southern) English Brown Ale, although 5% is slightly higher than typical. Unfortunately, it is not the most exciting style that is often trumped by Northern English Brown Ales (or American Brown Ales for that matter). That said, it is still nice, albeit mild, and quite sessionable.

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Photo of LDuke
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

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

341ml bottle. A common enough find on tap in yer finer ale joints around town of late, which is a good thing.

This beer pours a clear, very deep orange brick amber hue, with a few fingers of puffy, lightly frothy, and soapy beige head, which dissipates slowly and evenly, leaving some bleeding cloud lace around the glass.

It smells of lightly-roasted caramel malt, oily nuts, dry chalky cocoa, a hint of muddled dark fruit, earthy cola notes, and leafy, earthy hops. The taste is more softly roasted caramel malt, a touch of hard toffee, milk chocolate, ethereal black fruit, pasty nuts, and decently drying floral and earthy hops.

The carbonation is a tad peppy, but just enough to help bridle the inherent sweetness, the body a sturdy medium weight, and generally quite smooth. It finishes still sweet, but with an evolving dry offset, and some pleasant chocolate essence lazily lingering.

A genuinely enjoyable, and balanced malty ale, the yin in Alley Kat's arsenal to Full Moon's zippy yang. Drinkable, especially with Indian food, as for some reason those sorts of restaurants stock this around here, and yet not anything hoppier. Oh well, how will we get by?

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Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this at Smokeless Joe's, the only Ontario place with Alley Kats. A brown colour and tradition to it. Reminded me of Hebrew, with a roasted taste. A bit of bitterness, and grass hops with some malt and molasses. Mixed reception by my mates. More experienced drinkers thought it was better than average, and similarly for less experienced drinkers.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - clear deep ruby, one finger of head retained fairly well with random lacing
S - strong toffee with some roasted nuts, light leafy aroma on the back end
T - very similar to the nose along with light fruitiness, not really getting the hint of chocolate mentioned on the label
M - medium body with a smooth feel that finishes refreshing
O - a damn good beer from one of my fave brewers, an easy sessioner

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Photo of Orrshow
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This beer is very deep amber. It almost appears brown. There is a small ring of head on time but nothing much.

Smell – Predominantly smells of sweet malt. There is a slight hop aroma which arises as well. Not bad.

Taste – This is a nicely balanced beer with caramel malt and citrus hop being the dominant players. There is the slightest hint of roasted malt and chocolate as well. It pleasant to sip.

Mouthfeel – Quite average carbonation and enough body to make it interesting.

Drinkability – Great. This was an extremely easy beer to drink and enjoy.

I could session this one like there’s tomorrow. It could also serve as a nice sipping beer as it possesses some nice malty qualities which I like to savor.

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Photo of vanrassel
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well, as much as it pains me as a Calgarian to give props to anything from Edmonton, I have to say this is a nice beer.

It poured dark with a ruby-red hue from the bottle and the head was a slightly disappointing one-finger even with an aggressive pour. This beer made up for its shortcomings in the looks department with a nice complex aroma: mostly roasted malts with a nice backing of fruit and hops mixed in.

The taste didn't quite live up to the complex smell, though it delivered better than other ambers I've had (Fort Garry Dark comes to mind). The toasted malt tastes are subtle, and yield to a light hoppy finish that's clean on the palate.

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Photo of Merlin68
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.5/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A very bland and boring amber. No discernible hopping and a very bland caramel/sugary sweetness that becomes unpleasant half was through the bottle. Obviously not aimed at the beer geek crowd but could still improve a lot.

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Photo of Garin
3.94/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a lovely clear caramel brown with red highlights. Very little head sits on top, and what little there is disappears almost immediately.

Caramel, grassy hops, and.... celery? Yes, celery. Interesting aromas rise up from the glass. Malty rich flavour with toasty highlights with a sweetness cut short by a decent bitter finish. Smooth and oily in the finish, with an herbal hops finish.

Honestly, it's a really odd beer. However, I'm an Alley Kat fanboy, and this reinforces my fanboydom. Try it if you can get it.

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Photo of Mlkluther
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Nice smooth beer with a roasted malt finish.

44 characters

Photo of IronDjinn
4.18/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

To think that such a fine ale has been brewed in Alberta for years and I hadn't managed to get my grubby mitts on it until now. Oh the humanity...

Pours out a stunning cherry oak copper hue, capped by a small thickish beige head which recedes fairly quickly to a ring and leaves slight lacing. Aroma of rich malt, caramel and faint grassy hops. Flavour is thick malt up front, highlighted with mild toasted and coffee tones, and then becomes a runaway of hops on the finish, a very pleasing transition. Full mouthfeel at the beginning which follows through the whole way but becomes a little oily on the finish. I think I've fallen in love all over again, this is a very fine ale, I'll need to stock up the next time I am in Edmonton. Pun intended, this stuff is the kat's ass, my new favorite from Alley Kat after their Full Moon Pale Ale.

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Photo of papat444
3.33/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to stagger for this one.

Poured from a 341ml. bottle, best before Dec. 12, 2009.

Appearance: Pours a ruby colored body with a thick & fluffy off-white head.

Smell: Nuts, malt, some caramel but not sweet. Creamy with slight hint of fruit but this is all on the low spectrum of aroma. It's very but it's brief.

Taste: Starts out malty with a discreet caramel presence. Ends at first with a low bitterness. There's a metallic feel to it, subtle, like licking the shell of a nut. As it warms, it has a weird spoiled finish to it. I almost downgraded the score to a 2.5 but it's really only at the end and doesn't terribly affect the taste though it is weird.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is a bit high but otherwise the smooth feel on the palate is pleasant though more of a low body than medium as the label states.

Drinkability: It was ok but just had a weird aftertaste. I'd have another once in a while.

Overall: So-so. Not bad but not great either. Middle of the road with nothing particularly memorable.

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Photo of Alberta_Beer_Guy
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of TheEclecticGent
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Had this one up in the sleepy little town of Sylva, NC.

A - It pours into a pint glass a clear but deep red amber with moderate carbonation. Head quickly fades into a fairy ring. A bit of lacing.

S - The nose is malty, sweet, with perhaps a few floral hops.

T - It has a very good amber ale flavor. The flavor is a bit more richer and complex than the typical amber ale and that is very welcome. It's flavor is a winter spice sort of maltyness with a splash of floral/citrus from the hops. The finish is a bit off but compared to the overall experience isn't a big deal. This is a really good red ale.

M - A medium mouthfeel and a bit biting.

D - I will be having more of this beer when I can get it. Very drinkable.

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Photo of Vandelayindustri
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of KentCstrait
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%

Smells caramel and brown sugar. Front of the tongue is malty and similar to smell. Finish is hoppy. This is a very nice beer.

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have heard good things about Alley Kat, so I figured I would start off with their Amber; brown ales being a style I am fond of in general.

It pours a deep coppery-brown colour, producing a thin, tan head. The head dissipates to lacing fairly quickly, but what remains lasts until the end of the drink. The carbonation level appears to be quite low. After a quick whiff of the brew, my nose is immediately overwhelmed with roasted caramel malts. Very enticing...

...and not at all misleading, as the first sip reveals this to be a very tasty ale. Again the roasted malts are the most dominant feature, with a faint hint of cocoa. The finish leaves a very subdued, bitter hop aftertaste. Medium bodied; with a creamy mouthfeel and not very much carbonation.

I am very pleased with this purchase. It's a solid example of the style and I highly recommend giving it a try if you happen to see it. I am definitely going to try some more of this brewer's concoctions in the future.

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Photo of DoctorStrangiato
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 341-ml bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - dark copper colour with a thin but persevering surface head. Looks fairly carbonated.

Smell - prominent creamy caramel aromas and a little roasted barley. Not a lot of hoppiness to detect.

Taste - nutty, flavourful but clean malt. Good roasted, husky taste. A little sweet on the end.

Mouthfeel - fairly smooth, decent balance.

Drinkability - another one that I could partake of extensively. Very tasty and full of flavour, not at all boring.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Reddish amber, full frothy head

S - malts, not much else going on

T - Oncae again, its pretty much all malts. nice, lightly toasted malt falvor. clean tasting, slight hoppy finnish.

M - medium bodied, full carbonation, clean, slightly crisp and dry.

D - Your slightly better than average amber ale

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Photo of Trancesexual
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of Voonder
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep dark amber colour with almost no head. Smell - pretty sweet, caramel, malts with hint of chocolate. Very nice and deep aroma. Taste - very complex, I love it. Lots of caramel and malts with a chocolaty finish. Very smooth and very balanced, carbonation on spot. Very drinkable, I enjoy it a lot.
Really good stuff.

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Buena Vista Brown Ale from Alley Kat Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.76 out of 5 with 56 ratings