Top 10 Best Brown Ales


Brown Ales: Top 10 Best Options

Choosing which refreshing brew you will consume with a hearty savory meal on a winter’s day or which you will reach for to quench your thirst as a summer refreshment, leaves you with many options. Even once you have narrowed down the type of ale you might like to indulge in, you are still left with an overwhelming selection.

To make this choice easier, we have examined a variety of ales and compiled this list of the 10 best brown ales. We broke down all you need to know–from pricing and availability to distinct characteristics–to simplify your choice.

If you are a novice to the world of brown ales, you will find this an informative introduction. If you consider yourself a beer aficionado or even a professional cicerone, perhaps you care to compare your preferences to ours and see how they stack up. Either way, this information will aid you in price, preference, and overall ratings when deciding which brew you reach for next.

Overall Price Range of Brown Ales

The price range for the ales selected for our list do not vary much in terms of real cost relative to others in the selection. However, that being said, due to location (shipping, importing and exporting, etc), these can vary in price.

Moose Drool Brown Ale

Moose Drool Brown Ale falls on the darker side of the spectrum with a chocolate-brown coloring and a smooth and creamy texture. As such, it is a malty beer with enough hops present to prevent too much sweetness. The aroma is a bit spicy as it is brewed with a solid mix of malts along with Kent Goldings, Willamette, and Liberty hops. This particularly dark ale is surprisingly light in flavor and feel with a somewhat nutty and toasty aroma. (ABV 5.1%)

About the Brewery

Moose Drool Brown Ale is brewed by Big Sky Brewing Company located in Montana, USA.


A six pack of Moose Drool Brown Ale can be purchased for about $8.

Third Stone Brown

This brew emits a toasty malt aroma for a stronger bouquet than our other selections. Nevertheless, the flavor is a pleasant mix of a chocolatey caramel blend with a hint of hops balancing out the sweet/malt combination. The flavor is exactly what you would expect from a typically darker American brew. Overall, this beer has a smooth feel. (ABV 5.30%)

About the Brewery

Third Stone Brown is brewed by Empyrean Brewing located in Lincoln, NE USA.


A six pack of Third Stone Brown can be purchased for around $8.

Anchor Brekle’s Brown Ale

Brekle’s Brown Ale is a dark brown color with a thick eggshell foamy head. A light touch of white foamy lace was present. The aroma included a hint of milk chocolate, brown sugar, and roasted malts accompanied by an herbal scent. A sweet and fruity aftertaste was present. Mouthfeel seemed medium bodied and carbonation was also on par. Though an American ale, it held many of the qualities seen in the English brews. (ABV 6.00%)

About the Brewery

Brekle’s Brown is brewed by Anchor Brewing Company located in California, USA.


A six pack of Brekle’s Brown can be purchased for around $8 per six-pack.

Bear Republic Peter Brown Tribute Ale

Another unique entry to our list includes Peter Brown Tribute Ale. Once again, reaching toward the darker brews on our list, this ale combines orange hop aromas with dark chocolate and roasted malts creating a balanced bouquet of flavor. A smooth brew, it leaves a more bitter sensation immediately followed by a caramel touch mid-sip. (ABV 6.30%)

About the Brewery

Peter Brown Tribute Ale is brewed at Bear Republic Brewing Co Inc located in Cloverdale, CA.


A six pack of Peter Brown Tribute Ale can be purchased for around $8.

Tenaya Creek Bonanza Brown Ale

This is certainly one of our bolder choices on the list. Strong aroma and flavor are evident. Chocolate, caramel and roasted peanut aroma permeates from the bottle. A smooth feel compliments a nutty sweetness. Along with a strong hop bitterness, this ale is not for the shy or timid in tastes with a strong dry finish. (ABV 5.60%)

About the Brewery

Bonanza Brown Ale is brewed by the Tenaya Creek Restaurant and Brewery located in Las Vegas, NV, USA.

Red Brick Ale

Red Brick Ale maintains a light brown color with an eggshell foam. It has a distinct toasted malt aroma coupled with a caramel and fruity scent leaving a sweet scent. This ale coats the tongue and lingers slightly longer than our other choices on this list. The slight malt flavors combine with a bit of hop bitterness, creating a perfect bitter and sweet combination at the finish. (ABV 6.00%)

About the Brewery

Red Brick Ale is brewed by Atlanta Brewing Company located in Atlanta, GA, USA.


A six pack of Red Brick Ale can be purchased for around $8.

Hop Karma Brown IPA

Having a lighter, off-white head atop a murky dark body, this brew emits a sweet, candy like aroma. A combination of caramel and light milk chocolate captures your senses with a backdrop of spice. Smooth with little drag, the combination of flavors first appear as malty, but then the chocolate and caramel flavors appear as the beer continues back. This brew finishes with a semi-dry finish. (ABV 6.00%)

About the Brewery

Hop Karma Brown IPA is brewed by the Terrapin Beer Company located in Athens, GA USA.


A six pack of Hop Karma Brown IPA can be purchased for about $10.

Dogfish Indian Brown Ale

Indian Brown Ale is one of our more unusual choices for our favorites. This ale has a unique combination of qualities that the others on this list do not. Though it is classified as an American ale, it has the darker color of the typical American ales, with a more caramel hue of the English ales and the hopping regiment of the more common pale ales. Brown sugar and barley are detected aromatically. (ABV 7.20%)

About the Brewery

Indian Brown Ale is brewed by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery located in Delaware, USA.


A six pack of Indian Brown Ale can be purchased for $10.

Really Old Brown Dog Ale

This choice is slightly more copper in tone than the rest of our selection here. The dark cream colored head, about two fingers high atop of a dark coppery body. This brand relies heavily upon hop bitterness in terms of flavor and less so on intermittent hints of sweetness of a caramel and toffy nature. The hints of sweetness do not go unnoticed in the bouquet as the toffy and caramel are obvious and present aromas. (ABV 11.10%)

About the Brewery

Really Old Brown Dog Ale is brewed by the Smuttynose Brewing Company located in New Hampshire, USA.


A six pack of Really Old Brown Dog can be purchased for about $10.

Pullman Nut Brown

This is one of our nuttier selections on the list. With very little head at the pour and a super dark aromatic body, this brew is smooth with very little drag. Though brewed in the United States, Pullman Brown is also one of the more traditionally English ales with a strong hazel nut and Brazil nut aroma. Accompanying this is a scent of molasses. The flavor itself is caramel and malty though the sweetness from the molasses is evident. (ABV 6.00%)

About the Brewery

Pullman Nut Brown is brewed at Flossmore Station Restaurant and Brewery located in Illinois, USA.


A six pack of Pullman Nut Brown can be purchased for about $10.

Brown Ale FAQ

In compiling our list, we considered the brewery information, pricing, and availability. In addition to this, we painstakingly reviewed each ale and evaluated each in terms of industry standard characteristics, including appearance, aroma, flavor, mouthfeel, and strength (ABV–alcohol by volume present).

What Is Brown Ale?

Simply put, it is a style of beer categorized by color, typically a dark brown, coppery, or amber hue. The flavors range widely from fruity or roasted flavors to more malt-flavored brews.

Where Does Brown Ale Originate From?

Beer has been mentioned throughout ancient texts for thousands of years going as far back as ancient Mesopotamia. It is found in nearly every culture on the planet in one form or another. It can be traced specifically to its English roots, and shortly thereafter, branching out into Belgian and American territories.

How Is Brown Ale Different from Other Beers?

All beers belong to a certain category or style of beer determined by color. This is measured by the Standard Reference Method (SRM) which measures the attenuation of light of a particular wavelength in determining its style. With its distinctive dark, amber color, brown ale measures among the darker beers on the scale, only to be beaten by stouts and porters in darkness of color.

Besides color, these ales also ferment at higher temperatures creating a layer of foam atop the fermented surface. These types of beers are classified as ales. Color and temperature at fermentation determine the classification of a beer as a type of ale.

What Is the Difference between American and European Brown Ales?

Brown ales are darker than most other beers (save stouts and porters) as a result of the selection of malts and grains and their subsequent treatment. American types tend to be light to darker brown as opposed to their European counterparts which carry with them a more copper or reddish-dark brown color. In addition to color, American brown ales tend to have a more malty flavor as opposed to the more sweet or fruity flavor of the European brands.

Is Brown Ale Affordable and Widely Available Compared to Other Types of Beers?

Pricing and availability of ales varies due to location and whether it is domestic or imported. It is competitive in terms of pricing relative to other beers in the same category. In our evaluations below, we include price and availability with each review to give you a general idea as to how each selection compares.

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