Bravus Brewing Amber Ale
Bravus Brewing Amber Ale
Amber Ale / Bravus NA / <0.5%
Our non-alcoholic Amber Ale features biscuit, raisin and caramel notes and is perfectly balanced with earthy and citrus hop aromas. Capped by a very clean bitterness, it’s incredibly versatile with food while being extremely enjoyably on its own.
There are a variety of reasons that someone might want to turn to non-alcoholic beer. Perhaps a health condition won’t allow them to continue consuming alcohol. Or maybe they have a party to attend far from where they live and want to remain sober for the drive home. It could even be as simple as loving the taste of beer but hating the hangover that comes with it. No matter the reason, for a long time people had no option other than flavorless NA light lagers. Then came the IPAs.
Unsurprisingly, the most popular style of beer on the market is where many breweries turned when looking to attract craft brew lovers to the non-alcoholic realm. But not everyone is a pale ale love. Progress is being made elsewhere. Craft breweries such as Bravus Brewing, out of Anaheim, California, are offering everything from stouts to sours. I decided to sample one of their more popular offerings and compose a Bravus Brewing Amber Ale review.
Bravus is one of at least three breweries that I have encountered that claims to have been the first in the country dedicated entirely to NA beers. Since I don’t know who’s telling the truth, I can’t hold this against them, but this should really get cleared up. They seem to be doing pretty well with something of a no frills approach, so let’s dive right in.
Is Bravus Brewing Amber Ale Good?
Before sampling a new beer I like to take in their aesthetic, as well as all of the information I can to get a feel of what they are going for. It helps me evaluate how well they have met their goals for that particular brew. Bravus doesn’t provide a ton on their website or on the can’s label itself, but a simplistically elegant design features two pieces of barley crossed under the name of the brewery and over the name of the brew.
A vague story on the back of the can lets us know that they are doing their best to mimic the taste of successful alcoholic brews, and online they openly compare this amber ale to Fat Tire, perhaps the most widely successful amber on the alcoholic market. This isn’t entirely remarkable, but some NA breweries seem unwilling to be that upfront about it. While not particularly innovative, I enjoy Fat Tire quite a bit, so it’s a high standard to live up to. Let’s crack a can open and answer the most important question, “Is Bravus Brewing Amber Ale good?”
Bravus Brewing Amber Ale Review
Pouring this beer into a pint glass, it appears to have many of the characteristics of a traditional amber. It is a deep red color that can only be described as…amber. There is a generous foamy head that retains its shape for a generous amount of time and provides some lasting lacing around the edges. There is quite a bit of carbonation, which I have found is pretty typical with non-alcoholic options, and the opacity is basically right down the center.
There is one clear word that comes to mind when you take a big whiff of Bravus Amber Ale. That word is malt. I’ve found that a number of NA beers are a little out of whack when it comes to the predominance of elements like malt, hops, or wort. In certain instances this can be a problem, but I don’t find it to be when it comes to an amber. As far as I’m concerned, malt is welcome in this style of beer. It does make it a bit difficult to discern other underlying aromas, but there are some hints of earthy hops and toffee beneath the sweet caramel malt.
Upon taking a big swig, the first thing I noticed is that the maltiness is slightly subdued on the tongue compared to the nose, but it is still the predominant flavor. I also got a fair bit of smokiness, along with those earthy notes that were present in the aroma. Everything is in there from mushroom to black pepper, but these notes are extremely faint. The profile is essentially one of a malty amber.
The body is on the lighter side of medium, particularly for this style. Though it’s not something that sticks out unless you are looking for it. The carbonation present on the pour maintains itself in appearance but was basically negligible when it came to taste. There is a small bit of lingering hoppiness, but really the hops are a secondary thought throughout the brew. Aside from that, the finish is nice and clean.
If this were a blind tasting experience, I don’t think I would be able to identify this beer as lacking alcohol. While that is a point in its favor, it should not be the only goal of the brewer, and its definitely only part of what I will take into account when coming up with a Bravus Brewing Amber Ale rating. I want the beer to be able to stand on its own flavor-wise, and for the most part this amber does just that. There isn’t much of a wow factor, but the comparison to Fat Tire is apt.
Bravus Brewing Amber Ale Rating
There is a pretty obvious trend that I’ve come across while tasting the various non-alcoholic craft beers on the market. Most of the attempts at more challenging varietals are played rather safe. This is completely understandable, and not an entirely negative thing. What we end up with is a lot of rock solid beers, but few that distinctly stand above the rest.
For the most part, that is what I found here. A truly solid amber ale. That, in and of itself, isn’t easy to come by in the NA world. While I would like to see more risks taken in these brews, getting something eminently drinkable with no missing parts is a step in the right direction. I must conclude this Bravus Brewing Amber Ale review by giving in a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. A strong effort, but nothing to really take it over the top. If ambers are your thing, I don’t imagine this one will disappoint.
Photos credit: https://www.bravus.com/products/