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 Alberta_Beer_Guy
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of OriolesFan1008
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of schopenhauerale
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

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 Vandelayindustri
4/5  rDev +6.4%

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 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 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 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 andrenaline
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Alley Kat comes through with a solid amber!

A - Deep golden brown, almost no carbonation present after the pour. Poured a 1/2 cm head which dissipated, with small islands and some fine lacing, which held more than halfway down the pilsner glass.

S - A sweet malty scent. Nothing overpowering, typical amber ale.

T - Definitely a caramel flavour off the top. Finishes with a slight malty flavour.

M - Not too carbonated, pretty decent balance, though slightly reminiscent of a porter. The feel is quite fitting for this amber.

D - I quite enjoyed this amber, and would definitely enjoy a couple at a time. By no means a mind blowing offering, but it still delivers a solid flavour and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a delicious amber!

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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 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 armock
3.28/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a mahogany color with a tan head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is mostly of caramel malt faint hops

T - Is just like it smells caramel malt at first then some slight bitter hops

M - This beer has a medium body wth medium carbonation to it

D - Overall is not a bad beer easy to drink with a decent taste I could have a few of these in a sitting without thinking too much about it

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

Surprised to see this in the Land of Coors Lite & Clam

Decent looking ale. Medium maghogany brown, clear, with an impressive tan head that receeded to a cap/ring that stayed the entire time. Some lacing. Heavy roasted malt aroma with some floral hop in the background. Nice balance between the roasted malt and the slight oily citrus hop. Only knock I have against it is a period of bland wateriness that shows up just before the dry, hop aftertaste. Smooth drinking ale and certainly worth trying again.

Sampling this one again after Medicine Hat's first beerfest...Moving the aroma and mouthfeel aspects up a notch... Aroma seems to have a more balanced aspect to it and the watery taste in my inital review is more towards the inital swig...if beer taste could be discribed as white noise then that's how I would describe the first sensation after I take a swig....

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Photo of bobsy
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle acquire in a trade with voonder - thanks Alex!

The pleasant amber pour is true to style, and it kicks up a small off-white head that only leaves a little lace as it drops to a fine film. I like my ambers to have nice clarity, and this one fits the bill, but does not go the extra distance to secure a higher grade. The same can be said of the aroma. There is some floral hopping which pleases me, but its overwhelmed by a large sweet malt bill and lacks the complexity and depth to kick things up a level.

So it continues... Good balance in the flavor between a very solid malt body and a combination of floral and citrus hops, although the bitterness is quite light. Again, the combination is pleasing, but without depth. The medium-light body and medium carbonation is fairly true to style, and actually fairly refreshing, which makes this beer quite drinkable despite its faults. Overall, though I'd say this is a middling amber which is pleasant but instantly forgettable.

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