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
Photo of maclean25
4.64/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Bought a six pack of bottles in Grande Prairie, AB. My first reaction was, 'wow, this is one tasty amber ale.' Now I see it is actually a brown ale that is called "Amber".

It pours with very little head. The beer has a dark, clear brown-red body.

Complex bouquet. While the chocolate is dominant, I also get toast (like a rye bread) and maybe cola or Dr. Pepper. The taste is more like cocoa. It's clean & crisp with floral hops in there.

The body has little carbonation and a light (maybe medium) body. My only critical comments are that perhaps there is too much hops taste (and I didn't really find it had a full body) for a brown ale and I'd prefer more carbonation.

Overall, a delicious, flavourful beer. I really enjoyed this one.

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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 lipschitz
4.32/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours the colour of well-steeped tea, with a thin, but creamy head. The aroma is of molasses, with a hint of caramel...delightful. The predominant flavour here is wonderfully malty with hints of caramel on the finish. Some hops show up to clean up any lingering sweetness, leaving your palette ready for another delicious taste. The mouthfeel is creamy & coating with restrained, but sufficient carbonation.
This is yet another prodigious offering from the Alley Kat brewing company. The balance of malt vs. hops combine splendidly to make this a top-drawer beer.

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Photo of Tackledorange
4.29/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ive had many alley kat offerings but never their amber so i jumped at the opportunity to try this. it poures a nice amber brown colour with a very thin head that goes away fast and leaves no lacing. the smell more than makes up for the lackluster appearance nice malty caramel smell and a little bit of chocolate and roastyness. the taste is very good lots of caramel and hints of chocolate and some roasted coffee. its a good mouthfeel a little sticky and some moderate carbonation. very good beer again alley kat never fails me.

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Photo of Noxious26
4.24/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

341ml bottle poured in a pint glass. Label on the bottle says "Craft Brewed Brown Ale. A medium-bodied brown ale with caramel maltiness and just a hint of chocolate." I will review as a brown ale rather than the amber/red ale classified here.

Clear and a dark red-amber colour. Head is only a thin cap and beige. Even with it's little head it still manages to leave some spots of lace.

Sweet maltiness with hints of chocolate, caramel, coffee and a little sweet-citrusy hops.

This is nice and smooth. Mostly malt at the start, but as it progresses it catches waves of caramel and chocolate at various points with different sips. Mildly malt-bitter at the finish with a slightly dry bitter aftertaste. Easy going, smooth and enjoyable.

Light-Medium bodied with little carbonation. This beer is very smooth going down like velvet. Perhaps a little thin though.

This is a really nice relaxing beer. Everything works together in harmony and there really aren't any harsh flavours. Just smooth and mellow.

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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 Idrankthat
4.06/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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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Photo of wordemupg
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml bottle poured into pint glass 25/7/11

A clear deep reddish copper with lots of bubbles popping up everywhere feeding a long lasting finger of cream colored head that slowly falls to a thick film leaving loads of unorganized lace deep down the side of the glass

S nutty chocolate with a little cherry and plum

T mimics the smell quite well but with a little earthy herbal hops and metallic flavors still quite mellow and flavors mingle well together

M medium bodied and just a little bitterness, well carbonated and a nutty aftertaste

O a pleasant surprise for sure, pretty well rounded and good in all areas

not sure why I'm surprised that this was a tasty brew because I love Alley Kat, perhaps I should only be surprised I've never reviewed it before

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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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Photo of FadetoBock
4/5  rDev +6.4%

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 Alberta_Beer_Guy
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of Vandelayindustri
4/5  rDev +6.4%

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

This was poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

A - clear ruby amber color with a thick head that settles into a fine collar

S - toasted amber malt aroma, faint hops in background

T - toasted malts are dominant, as expected from aroma, hops are subdued but noted on the mild bitter hop finish

M - medium body, moderate carbonation

D - This is a very nice American amber. It delivers all that is generally expected of the style and is well done.

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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 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 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 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 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 Cwrw
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally available outside of Edmonton! This is a rich-looking amber ale. Deep hues of red mix with a rosewood brown, and more cola-brown near the edges. The tiniest glance of dark-orange. The head was more than ample, 6-7 cm, lightish brown on the edge and more bone-white in the centre. In my glass, the head went down rather quickly to a bare minimum, but my glass was a little wet with water, which could explain its short life. Lacing that leaves rings of foam, moves slowly, and leaves clinging patches, or even screens of light head. With the cap twisted off, the first aroma I detected was a faint herbal spiciness, which I was not really expecting. In the glass I get extremely strong pumpkin smells; a definite spice that lingered throughout the whole drink. Roasted malt behind that, a difficult-to-define creaminess akin to Alley Kat's Aprikat Ale. With the beer freshly poured, and the head full, the creamy, almost buttery, candied malt is much more detectable.
Never a brewery to disappoint on hops, the Amber does have some oily grassy aroma up front, no doubt the cause of the pumpkin I can smell so much in this beer. I taste at first the smooth chocolate-like malt, reminding me of Wild Rose's Brown Ale. The taste was not quite what I expected for an Amber ale; instead of a good sweet malt hit, I get more of this herbal/pumpkin hop taste, sharing some characteristics with the Full Moon Pale Ale. The malt is in the background. This is a very tasty beer, I just think it is a misfit for the style; and personally for me, a malthead, this is far too hoppy, to the exclusion of some underdefined malt which this beer could have had. That being said, the finish is actually not half as dry as I was expecting, but more lactose and bread. The beer is a little watery in the mouth; again, some more malt might give this beer more body. Apart from the hops, for me, this is a very drinkable amber ale, leaving little aftertaste and being light in body. The carbonation is medium. With the hops toned down a little, this would be an extremely good amber ale, and one which I would purchase frequently.

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Photo of microwavabledish
3.89/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of barnzy78
3.89/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L - copper in color with a persistent beige head
S - rich aroma of toasted grain, caramel, bread crust, yeast
T - earthy hops compliment sweet toasty grain and caramel malt, toffee, bread, yeast, and floral hops are also present
F - higher carbonation gives it a fuller but medium feel, finishes dry and semi-bitter, fairly clean as well
O - nice English brown with plenty of balanced flavor. Thanks to some Canadian friends for bringing this down for me to try!

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