Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Lift Bridge Brown Ale | Keweenaw Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
58 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Lift Bridge Brown AleLift Bridge Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Keweenaw Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Reportedly the widest and heaviest double-decked lift bridge in the world, the Portage Lake Lift Bridge connects the cities of Houghton and Hancock here in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. So get a lift from this American Brown Ale; a rich, dark brown color, complex malt flavor with hints of chocolate and caramel and a mild hop finish.

Added by mikesgroove on 03-03-2008

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 58 | Ratings: 113
Photo of mooseisloose
2.98/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Big bridge. Is the beer as big? Let's give it a whirl. Popping the top I get a waft of molasses and hops. Pours to a deep brown with a tan head that recedes quickly. On the taste this brew is a little thin on mouthfeel up front then starts with earthy hop metallic flavor that is consistent throughout. Not much backbone at all. Hopping is good but where's the malt. I throw this one back, not a keeper.

 405 characters

Photo of Victory_Sabre1973
3.74/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours fairly dark. The head was frothy, but did dissipate fairly fast. The nose is got a maltiness to it. The taste of this beer has a bit of smoke to it. It does feel a bit watery, but not a bad beer at all.

 218 characters

Photo of stevoj
2.58/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Could barely tell the difference between their brown, amber and Scottish. All had the same hue, same body, same aroma, same consistency (watery). Nothing memorable here, folks.

 176 characters

Photo of thebeerman25
4.23/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.25

appearance-dark brown

smell-smells very sweet. no chocolate or caramel as stated on the can.

taste-has a sweet and smooth taste. easy drinking. no chocolate or caramel as stated on the can

feel-i really dont know

overall-overall its a good beer. my favorite from the keweenaw brewing company.

 296 characters

Photo of Blueribbon666
2.39/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

Another let down from this sixer mixer of cans from the brewer.
Pours well, dark mahogany decent head of about a half inch.
Nothing on the nose, a bit of hop, a bit of malt & not much at all.
Mouthfeel; another buttery one from the brewer before crisp hop & sweet malt come in w/a good bit of metallic dactyl taste.
Really another reason for me not to revisit Keweenaw

 368 characters

Photo of superspak
3.58/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce can into pint glass, canned on 6/2/2014. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy deep ruby red/brown color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, nuttiness, light chocolate, herbal, and toasted earthiness. Nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and light earthy hop notes; with good strength. A lot of perceived malt sweetness in the aromas. Taste of caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, nuttiness, light chocolate, herbal, and toasted earthiness. Light earthy herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, nuttiness, and toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Good complexity, balance, and robustness of dark/bready malt and light earthy hop flavors; with a solid malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; very a very smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with zero warming present after the finish as expected of 5%. Overall this is a very solid brown ale style. All around good robustness, balance, and complexity of dark/bready malt and light earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

 1,473 characters

Photo of tjsdomer2
3.89/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Excellent white lacing and decent white foam. Carbonation is extra active and bubble. Bright beautiful ruby Red. My only issue is that it is red and not brown...

Smell: Roasted toffee and nuts. Very fresh as well and slightly mineral-like.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Bitter lemon rind with a sweet caramel finish. A bit too bitter and first, but it mellows out nicely in the finish with a honey-like mouthfeel. Overall, the mouthfeel is a tad thin, but much better at the end.

Overall Drinkability: A beer that just gets better.

 533 characters

Photo of ZeekLTK
5/5  rDev +45.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is only available in cans. For this review I poured it into a pint glass, but I often drink from the can and it is just as good.

A - A nice copper/brown color with a little bit of head that eventually disappears.

S - The description on the can itself says that it has "hints of caramel and chocolate" and you can certainly detect hints of them in the aroma.

T - The taste is amazing, there is no bitterness at all, it is very smooth. You can also taste the chocolate and caramel that are noted as ingredients, along with the obvious nut flavor that a brown should have, making this not only a very easy drink, but a very delicious one too.

Overall, this is the best beer I've had. The taste is the best part, as it should be. I love that there is no bitterness and that it has hints of sweets to give it such a good flavor.

 833 characters

Photo of Phocion
2.85/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

12 oz. can given to me as a sample from a distributor. Aggressively poured into a shaker pint... really more of a very dark amber than brown, with a thin off-white head and little retention. Decent amounts of thin lacing.

Aroma is very light. Caramel/maple, roasted grains. A little bit of a crackery type flavor as well. Even these are pretty thin.

Slightly sweet, mildly nutty flavor. Profile is very thin. Hint of spicy hoppiness.

Light-medium body, well carbonated. Very slick and oily mouthfeel that's just a tad chewy.

Meh. This isn't a bad beer, it's just not a good one. Very thin in flavor and mouthfeel. Easy to drink, but then again so is water. I'm glad this was a free sample, because I wouldn't pay for it.

 726 characters

Photo of StoutHunter
2.88/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I picked up a can of Keweenaw's Lift Bridge Brown Ale last week for $1.19 at The Lager Mill. I haven't tried any beer from this Michigan Brewing Company yet so I thought I should stop procrastinating and give this beer a try, so lets see how it goes. No visible freshness date. Poured from a 12oz can into a imperial pint glass.

A- The can looks good and has a nice picture of a lift bridge on it to go with the name. It poured a hazy amber/light brown color that took on a ruby red copper color when held to the light with three fingers worth of fluffy off white head that died down to a thin layer that stayed till the end and left some lacing. The beer looks good.

S- The aroma starts out with large amounts of pretty sweet malts that impart a sweet, bready, and grainy aroma along with a slight toasted malt aroma that imparts some light caramel aromas. At the end I pick up a slight nutty aroma. The aroma was pretty on par for a Brown Ale, but it was a little boring.

T- The flavor seems to be where this beer starts to fall apart. It starts out with a lot of lightly toasted malts that have hardly any sweetness to them and impart a mild and bland, bready, and stale grain flavor. It had hardly any bitterness and the only other flavors that I picked up were a mild nuttiness and some faded earthy hops on the finish and aftertaste. This beer tasted watery and it had a pretty bland and boring flavor, I didn't like the flavor that much.

M- Smooth, dry, on the lighter side of being medium bodied with a high amount of bubbly carbonation. I wish it was a little thicker and that the carbonation were a little tamer, average at best.

Overall I didn't really like this beer and I thought it was a below average American Brown Ale, it was just too bland and boring, in the end it just tasted watered down and none of those great American Brown Ale aspects got to stick out. This beer had ok drinkability, it went down smooth but that was it, the flavor was too bland to hold my attention and I wouldn't want another, I kind of have to force myself to finish this one. What I liked most about this beer was the way it looked, it looked like a proper American Brown Ale, to bad that was the only thing proper about this beer. What I liked least about this beer was pretty much everything else but it was the taste that stuck out as the worst, it way to bland and watery tasting. I wouldn't buy this beer again, it was cheap, but pretty tasteless, if that's what I wanted I would grab a case of Bud Light and be done with it. I don't recommend trying this beer, it's not a worthy example of an American Brown Ale. I wasn't impressed with this beer and it didn't make for a good first impression of this brewery, but I already bought their Black Ale, so I will have to wait till I have that to form a more solid opinion about this brewery but for now I am not too interested, better luck next time guys.

 2,908 characters

Photo of WastingFreetime
2.91/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Transcribed from my notebook.

Poured into a tulip glass from a can, appears coppery-brown with hardly any head, no lacing, translucent. Strange faint aroma of pineapple upside-down cake with caramel topping is coming straight out of left field and leaving me scratching my head in confusion. On the one hand, I like this smell, but on the other hand, I'm pretty certain that a brown ale is not supposed to smell like pineapple upside-down cake with caramel topping. But I feel I should judge according to style, so some points are subtracted for this. Mouthfeel is on the thinner side of medium, not much depth to it, but tastes more like a standard brown ale than the nose would have me believe, some muddy malts, bready notes, and toffee...

An average brown ale with a confusing, oddball aroma.

 798 characters

Photo of oline73
3.03/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a can into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with two fingers of off white head that disappears completely.

Smell: Very bread like and malty. Some sweetness and a bit nutty.

Taste: A very mild flavor. Some malt with hardly any sweetness. Mildly nutty and there is some hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, tingly carbonation and a very dry finish. Almost too dry.

Overall: A very average brown ale. Not at all unpleasant, but not a whole lot of depth. Probably won't search this out again.

 540 characters

Photo of BeerBuckeye
2.82/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours a deep mahogany brown with decent off-white head, leaves a bit of lacing.

S - Not a ton of scent, mostly some dark malts, some caramel, some sweet chocolate.

T - Malty, a bit of the sweet chocolate, a touch of caramel.

M - Pretty smooth mouthfeel, carbonated, good drinkability.

Overall - It was decent, very drinkable, if nothing else.

 350 characters

Photo of whatthehull
3.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


A - Copper/red, one finger tan head and a little lacing

S - Very malty, tons of dried fruits, slight hops, nice flowers, earth, ground up branches and slightly sweet

T - Lots of malts, wheat, grain, toastiness, flowers, a bit of hops and silky sweet

M - Medium bodied, low acidity, medium complexity, well balanced and medium finished

D - Goes down like butta, sweet, malty, smooth, balanced and very easy to drink

Final thought - I am a fan. Another canned beer that tastes great. Wish I knew the ABV

 513 characters

Photo of deadbody
2.56/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Drank straight from the can on a camping trip with the family. Picked this up because it is not in MN and was in cans which are good for the camping trips.

Opened a bit of head right off the bat, looking kinda creamy, and then dissapating to a reddish brown ale. Smell was pretty weak bordering on non-existant. Taste was interesting. Super sweet, the chocolate and toffee were really prevelant. Mouthfeel was thin, like kate moss on a 3 week heroin binge thin. Overall, meh. I wouldn't buy it again, but if I was offered it at a party I don't think I would turn it down.

 572 characters

Photo of brdc
3.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a can into a pint glass.
The color is somewhere between orange and brown, clear, minimal head and no lacing.
Aroma is malty, caramel mostly. Thin on the palate, it has notes that are mostly malty in nature, caramel, some bread, toffee, in some ways similar to their scottish ale, which already shows a bit of a problem.
It is pleasant, and better than their scottish ale, but it also lacks body, and depth.

 420 characters

Photo of DannyDan
3.55/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A. Pours a dark brown body with a red highlights that has decent retention and some lacing to it.
S. The smell has some hints of caramel and chocolate with a little bit of a nutty flavor. Nothing really stands out here.
T. The taste is a hint of chocolate, caramel, some sweet nutty maple flavor, and finishes off with some earthy hops.
M. The mouthfeel is a nice smooth creamy feel that finishes with a dry feel.
D. A nice light to medium bodied beer that is easy to drink and has a nice flavor to it. At $6.99/ 6 pack makes it a decent alternative to Short's Bellaire Brown, New Holland's Cabin Fever or Michigan Nut Brown ale when low on money. Don't get me wrong on this the others taste better, but this is not bad for the price.

 734 characters

Photo of rings
2.88/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Lift Bridge Brown is an American Brown Ale, named after the double-decker bridge that connects Houghton and Hancock on the Keweenaw Peninsula, which extends north into Lake Superior. It's a solid brown in color, with a thinner body than I'd expect, and it was overcarbonated in the can that I poured. There's a touch of chocolate on the roof of the palate, but with a softer finish and dryness on the sides of the tongue, it reminded me a bit of a Bell's Amber Ale. The bittering hops were slightly out of balance due to a lack of sweetness, particularly for a brown, although the body opens up a bit as it warms. All and all, it's not a bad effort and a average effort.

 670 characters

Photo of bishopdc0
3.25/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer is presented as a dark amber brown with a decent head forming to start it dissipates to a wisp cover

The aroma is is buttery full of crystal malt and a slightly roasted malt.

The taste is an average brown, has slightly roasted with crystal maltiness. a slight nuttiness in the finishes but nothing special.

 317 characters

Photo of DoctorDog
3.21/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz can into a nonic. Big thanks to "beveritt" for passing this one along to me.
*Not listed here, but said to be 5% ABV "elsewhere."

A- Brown/amber, and a bit hazy. Pours with ~2 fingers tan head, which settles gently into a thin cap.

S- A moderate malty caramel with a slightly metallic undercurrent.

T- A bit of earthy hops, followed by some lightly sweet caramel malts. Moderate earthy, faintly metallic bitterness.

M- Moderately high carbonation. Medium light feel.

D- OK. Flavor and aroma are nothing to write home about, but are not off-putting, and overall is still a pretty easy drink.

Future outlook: Another brown that failed to stir me in any significant way. Not available around here, so not really a concern anyways.

 754 characters

Photo of SickGnar
3.33/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: slightly orange/red medium brown with a large and rocky just off-white head. Keeps a nice ring with okay lacing. Has a bit of haze, but is pretty clear for the color.

S: Rather restrained. Thin whiff of caramel malts with a hint of sweetness. Some faint fruity esters. No hops or much of anything else.

T: Steely caramel flavor. Not super malty, it more of a biscuit base with some low level sweetness. Some toasty and nutty notes. A bit of toffee, but really not much in the way of roastyness. Only some light chocolate hints. Actually, it is more toward being hop forward. Not super bitter, but quite flavorful. Earthy, herbal, & woody flavor up front gets grassy in the finish. As hops linger a bit, some more (though still reserved) roasty and chocolate notes emerge.

M: Just under medium body with CO2 over-matched somewhat. Not bad, but could use some more body. Rather dry and just barely enough body to carry hops and carbonation.

D: Approachable and drinkable. Nicely balanced, and with a bit more body and malts (especially in the nose) it would shine even more. No flaws and quite nice.

 1,104 characters

Photo of masey222
4.71/5  rDev +37.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Seriously one of the best beers I have had ever...
It comes in a can which is just absurd but what ever haha...
It pours a deep dark chocolate brown with a thick creamy smooth head that is a nice tan, the lace is sticky but thin and leave a nice film on the surface....
The smell is of a roasted malt with some chocolate and maybe cherry notes....
The taste is spot on with my ideal brown sweet yet tart like a good chocolate perfectly balanced with a mild mild hop when it first hits your tongue but then its right to a deep deep chocolate malt with some coffee under tone the finish is dry but sweet and rich....
consistency wise it is just right too again it is a bit dry at the end but isn't bitter so its ok, it leaves you wanting another drink.

Drinkability is perfect for a heavy deep dark beer I could drink these all night and not get sick of it. It just goes down so easy and nice and it is my comfort food because in my eyes it is everything a brown should be.

 973 characters

Photo of Bighuge
2.74/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep brown/auburn tone. Light brown head. Lacing comes in abundant rings. Aroma brings some brown malts, a little chocolate and a lot of butterscotch. Flavor is more of the same, though the butterscotch isn't totally out of hand. Flavor has caramel and butterscotch, very light roasted malt, and light chocolate. Sweet in the mouth but actually a lingering bitterness after drinking. Not a particularily pleasing meld of flavors. Medium bodied and slightly astringent.

 468 characters

Photo of jampics2
2.71/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz can into a snifter. Thanks to Paul for grabbing this at the brewery on a trip to the UP. 

The beer is a cloudy brown with amber highlights, a ring of head and decent enough lace. Just not enough head for the style - an American brown from the can should be able to demonstrate more staying power.   

Instantly upon inhaling the aromas, we have a problem. A slight tartness is present and is pretty disturbing. Mild roast and hops are overshadowed. Just has a sour overtone, is it infected or is it the house yeast?  Either way, this is a legit review since the cans were purchased at the brewery this week!  

The taste is interesting and does have some redeeming qualities. I get a well defined taste of Graham cracker and malted milk balls, standing out from typical brown ale mild roast and some hoppy bitterenss. Then the problems re-emerge- a tart cherry and cardboard taste come through. This is strange, it's not like most infections I've had, it's almost like the tartness from a Belgian Wit. My buddy swears it tastes better out of the can, but the snifter in front of me is just plain bad.  

The beer features a very crisp carbonation and is slightly watery in the finish. The body is medium to light.    Somethings off - it's not so drinkable, and not a beer I will be revisiting any time soon.  

 1,324 characters

Photo of beveritt
3.15/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz can into an Imperial pint glass. Picked this up when in Michigan to visit a friend last weekend. Label depicts, what else, a draw bridge, and contain a description of the brewery, the beer, and the bridge. Stamped with 10/06/03 on the bottom. Not sure what that means; hope the beer is not 7 years old.

Appearance: Pours with 2 finger is light tan foam. This settles to a thin, almost complete layer of foam. The beer itself is perfectly clear mahogany with a slight orange hue. No sediment in the can.

Smell: Sweet caramel malt aroma with hints of toffee.

Taste: Significant carbonation bite upfront, followed by a slightly sweet caramel malt more mellow than in the aroma. Hints of baker's cocoa and mild coffee. Vegetal undertones with a mild sweetness lingering in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Average to slightly above average carbonation level. Body is decent.

Drinkability: Nothing over the top, but not too bad. As it is unavailable in Ohio, don't imagine I will be revisiting this one.

 1,028 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Lift Bridge Brown Ale from Keweenaw Brewing Company
3.43 out of 5 based on 113 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!