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9 Popular Brown Ales To Try

A deep, dark brown ale is the ultimate indulgence for a beer lover. A smooth, rich brown ale is a perfect way to warm up a cold winter night or any day.

Nutty, chocolatey, or with hints of espresso, brown ales will make you forget all about light beers and lagers. The best brown ales have a bold flavor and smooth finish that are as much of a treat as ganache on a chocolate cake or the perfect espresso.

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Whether you’re at your favorite pub or home, enjoying a thick, juicy burger or sipping a brown ale on its own, these nine choices are the best brown ales to enjoy now. Try one or try them all, these best brown ales won’t disappoint.

If you’re in the mood for a soul-stirring brown ale to warm you up this fall or winter, step over to the dark side by trying these best brown ales, each a perfect companion with hearty fall fare or a winter nightcap.


Avery Ellie’s Brown Ale  

A deep brown brew with a heavy malt flavor including notes of chocolate and brown sugar, Ellie’s Brown Ale also has hints of vanilla and nuts.

It beats anything on the dessert cart, brewed by Avery Brewing Co.

With an ABV of 5.5 percent, Ellie’s Brown Ale was originally named Elle’s Brown Ale for Adam Avery’s chocolate lab. The fashion magazine of the same name objected so it became Ellie’s.

Pair Ellie’s Brown Ale with the fall flavors of a pork roast with gravy. Its malt-forward flavor is also delicious with a chocolate dessert.

Even a humble peanut butter cup is taken up a notch with this smooth-sipping brown ale.


Bell’s Best Brown Ale  

If you’re going to name your brown ale “Best Brown Ale,” then you’ll need a flavor to live up to the name.

Bell’s Brewing Co. delivers with Bell’s Best Brown Ale, a toasty beer with smooth caramel and cocoa flavor.

Some dark beers can have a high ABV, making them ones to enjoy at home or before calling an Uber, but Bell’s Best Brown Ale has a 5.8 percent ABV to go with their full flavor and velvety finish.

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Bell’s Best Brown Ale has a gravity of 1.058, lower than some brown ales and dark beers such as stouts and porters.


Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale  

Tampa-based Cigar City Brewing Co. Was inspired by the dark, complex Maduro cigar to create the Maduro Brown Ale.

Just like this rich cigar, Maduro Brown Ale has chocolatey, earthy flavors. Notes of espresso and toffee are blended with a light hoppy taste to make Maduro Brown Ale a must in Florida or your hometown. 

Try this beer with a cigar of the same name, or enjoy Maduro Brown Ale with churros, ropa vieja, or other Latin foods plentiful in the Tampa area.


Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale  

Sipping a Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale is like drinking history.

This dry, nutty ale with notes of beechnuts, almonds, and walnuts is brewed in Tadcaster, England, with well water from the Old Brewery’s original 1758 well. To that water comes barley malt, yeast, and hops.

Fermenting in stone Yorkshire squares gives Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale its signature flavor.

Pair this with a traditional plate of fish and chips and you’ll feel like you’re in merry old England.


Brooklyn Brown Ale  

Starting as a seasonal for the holidays, Brooklyn Brewery’s Brown Ale is popular all year long.

A blend of the Northern English style of strong, dry brown ales and the Southern English sweeter, milder brown ales, Brooklyn Brown Ale is a toasty “just right” brown ale.

Six different malts give Brooklyn Brown Ale its deep color and a flavor that’s smooth, rich, and a little fruity but enveloped in flavors of chocolate, caramel, and coffee.

A bold flavor and smooth finish make Brooklyn Brown Ale one of New England’s most popular dark beers.

No wonder Brooklyn Brewing often makes lists of the best U.S. breweries to visit.  


Genesee Honey Brown Ale  

The lightest of the bunch, Genesee Honey Brown Ale isn’t a lightweight when it comes to flavor.

Hitting the happy medium between a heavy, dark beer and a lighter lager, Genesee Honey Brown Ale is an amber-colored beer that’s light enough for you to enjoy a second pint.

This golden beer pairs well with just about anything, from pizza on game day to a steak off the grill.

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Because New York brewer Genesee brewed this to be a lighter version of a brown ale, Honey Brown Ale is easy to enjoy any time of year as a refreshing, drinkable beer.


Newcastle Brown Ale  

This iconic brown ale has been a favorite in Northeast England since Col Jim Porter began brewing Newcastle Brown Ale in Newcastle Upon Tyne in 1927.

A blend of pale malts and dark caramel malts gives Newcastle Brown Ale its rich, smooth flavor, and its ABV of 4.7 percent makes it an exceptionally drinkable brown ale.

In case you were wondering, that famous blue star has been on every Newcastle Brown Ale bottle since 1928, and its five points represent the five founding Newcastle breweries.

The recipe hasn’t changed since 1927, so drink to this best brown ale’s rich history.


Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar  

This Oregon brown ale from Rogue is heavy on hazelnut, so if you are a Nutella fan, this entry in our best brown ale list is for you.

Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar has a delicious hazelnut aroma with a rich flavor and smooth, malty finish.

Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar, at heart a European brown ale, has a nutty flavor that will make hazelnut fans happy.

It has a 5.6 percent ABV, in the typical range for brown ales. Try pairing Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar with pork chops.

Its toffee-nutty flavor goes well with desserts like a rich bread pudding or savory options like a smoked cheddar grilled cheese sandwich.


Surly Coffee Bender Brown Ale  

Surly Coffee Bender Brown Ale lets you know by its name that it’s a coffee-forward brown ale.

If you love a refreshing iced coffee but also would like to enjoy a beer, Surly Coffee Bender Brown Ale is the best brown ale to choose.

Guatemalan coffee roasted in Surly Brewing’s home of Minneapolis is added to Surly’s house oatmeal brown ale.

The oats in the oatmeal brown ale balance out the deep, cold-pressed coffee flavors in Surly Coffee Bender Brown Ale, resulting in a creamy cappuccino flavor that makes it one of the best coffee beers to try.


Chocolate, caramel, coffee, toffee, hazelnuts, and brown sugar are some of the most tempting flavors on earth.

Enjoy these rich, delicious flavors in a pint or a mug by ordering one of the best brown ales that we’ve listed above. Paired with the rich foods of fall, winter, and the holiday season, or just on their own, these brown ales satisfy.

See also  16 Christmas Beers for the Holidays 

If you’re looking for something lighter, check out our favorite fruit forward beers!

2 Comments

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  1. I came here because I’m searching for my new favorite beer. Newcastle Brown Ale was my go to for decades until they sold to Lagunita and changed the recipe. New recipe is commercial garbage.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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