Athletic Brewing – Upside Dawn Golden


Athletic Brewing – Upside Dawn Golden

Golden Ale / Athletic Brewing NA / <0.5%

Classic craft Golden Ale Style. Refreshing, clean, balanced, light-bodied. Aromas subtle with floral and earthy notes. Brewed with premium Vienna Malt along with combo of English and traditional American hops. Crafted to remove gluten*

When it comes to the world of non-alcoholic beer, Athletic Brewing seems to stand out from a marketing perspective, appearing in plenty of social media posts and podcast ads. I recently decided to give in to the hype and started with their Upside Dawn Golden Ale. I was pleased with the flavor and found that it has a lot else going for it as well.

You can learn a lot from a can of beer before you even open it. Upside Dawn has a pleasantly colorful label showing the sun rising over a mountain range. The Connecticut-based company is clearly catering to athletes and those looking for a healthier beer option who would like a better idea of what is going into their bodies.

It’s worth noting that the label states that this beer is not entirely devoid of alcohol but rather has an ABV below 0.5 percent. Online it is listed at 0.4 percent, obviously not enough to give anyone a buzz but possibly important to some consumers.

The company is clearly proud of what they are doing and making a concerted effort to be transparent with their product. Each can of Upside Dawn contains just 50 calories and 11 grams of carbohydrates. The label also does something rarely seen by listing its rather unremarkable ingredients; water, barley, organic Vienna malt, hops, and yeast. In fact, the entire beer is certified organic, and perhaps best of all, two percent of all sales go toward restoring local outdoor trails.

Is Upside Dawn Golden Ale Good?

The makers of this beer have clear principles and intentions, but the real question remains, is Upside Dawn good? The answer isn’t entirely straightforward.

The first thing you notice when you pour a can of Upside Dawn into a glass is that its appearance is truly that of a golden ale. The beer has a very slight hazy tint but is predominantly a crisp golden color. This might not seem like something that needs to be pointed out. A golden ale is golden. Water is wet. But I did find it noteworthy after sampling the brew and realizing that not much else about it reminded me of a stereotypical golden.

What hit my nose first when I poured the beer was honey. It was mixed in with some light citrus and floral aromas. Nothing was overpowering, but the mixture was enough to evoke thoughts of a juicy IPA. When it comes down to it, though, the flavor, not the aroma, will determine the quality.

Athletic Brewing Upside Dawn Golden Ale Review

What I first identified as pineapple turned out to be more of a grapefruit note after further investigation. This was the predominant flavor up front, but there were lingering hints of everything from guava to bread. Malt was definitely present on the tongue. The finish, while relatively clean, was fairly hop heavy to me, which is not a bad thing.

The bit of carbonation that was obvious in the pour disappeared entirely upon drinking. My mouth was left with a fading hoppiness that was rather pleasant and made it feel like I was sipping something far more full.

All in all, the body of the beer was light, which is to be expected with something of this calorie count and ABV. But there was certainly no lack of complex flavors intertwining to make a pretty interesting non-alcoholic offering. Over the course of a few days working my way through a six-pack, I caught notes of black pepper, grass, melon, and pine along with others.

All of these factors will end up playing into my final Upside Dawn Golden Ale rating. I believe there is a fine line to walk between evaluating a beer on whether it lives up to your expectations and forgetting those preconceptions to strictly analyze the quality of the brew. In this specific case, my expectations were not terribly high, which made for a gratifying surprise.

I can’t quite put my finger on whether this beer reminds me most of a honey wheat or a blonde. A wit or a pale ale. That makes my Upside Dawn Golden Ale review a little bit more challenging. Perhaps it was properly given the rather vague categorization of a golden. Regardless of how we want to label it, the beer is easy to drink and guilt-free. It has just as much flavor and personality as a standard alcoholic counterpart, as well as an impressive list of characteristics that have nothing to do with taste.

I think it is fair to say that this type of beverage is not what most people would think of when they hear the words “non-alcoholic beer.” Athletic Brewing has definitely made a name for themselves in this sphere, and from my experience I would say that they deserve it. I hope that their other offerings have just as much character as Upside Dawn.

Upside Dawn Golden Ale rating

Overall I was completely satisfied by my first sampling of Athletic Brewing’s craft beer. Upside Dawn didn’t blow me away by any means, but it is an extremely solid beer that appears to be built upon solid values. As the name of the brewery suggests, I found it particularly well-suited following a good workout. The low calorie total is just enough to provide some replenishment without undoing all of the hard work you just put in. And the second one is just as light and drinkable as the first. As much as I tried to go in with an open mind, Upside Dawn didn’t end up meeting many of the expectations that I did have. It surprised me in good ways a number of times, and I will gladly keep a few on hand for when I need some of the refreshment without any of the negative effects.

On a scale of 1 to 5 stars, I give Athletic Brewing’s Upside Dawn Golden Ale a solid 3. If you love the taste of beer but are looking to stay sober or avoid hangovers, this is a perfectly good place to start.

You can purchase all Athletic Brewing Co beers directly from their website here.



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