A reliably rich, balanced, and delicious genre of beer, the American Brown Ale is for aficionados of craft brewing, and newcomers alike.  Ranging from boozy and complex, to light and straightforward, it’s hard to pin down exactly what defines an American Brown Ale. Most beers of the style, however, stand on a foundation of malt, chocolate, caramel, or coffee. While the American Brown Ale is among the oldest of American beer, today we look at the standout, innovative beers of the craft brewing revolution. These are the top 5 American Brown Ales.

Sumatra Mountain
sumatra mountain drinkmemag.com drink me top American Brown Ale

This American Brown Ale packs the malt flavor like no other. Caramel malt delivers a body of sweetness, chocolate malt adds color and depth, flaked barley churns the foam into a dense head, and Munich malts further develop the Sumatra’s complex flavor. Bitter hops balance the sweetness of the malts, while delicious Sumatra coffee gives this beer it’s namesake and coffee-forward flavor.

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Palo Santo Marron
Palo Santo Marron drinkmemag.com drink me Top American Brown Ales

One of the boldest beers on the market, let alone in the American Brown Ale category, Palo Santo Marron is loaded with 12% ABV and only 50 IBU. Crucial to this beer’s unique, bold flavor are the brewing vessels. Constructed with Palo Santo wood from Paraguay, these brewing tanks impart a unique, earthy flavor to this big brew. Smoke, leather, wood, and bourbon greet the nose. The taste follows rich with caramel, chocolate, and fig notes. Unconventional and brazen, this beer requires a bit of an acquired taste. But if you like it, you might end up loving it.

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Wilco Tango FoxtrotWilco Tango Foxtrot drinkmemag.com drink me Top American Brown Ale

WTF or Wilco Tango Foxtrot is true to the American adventurous spirit. Rich and smooth, with a malty, dark chocolate core, WTF is a great companion to the fireside. But where most brown ales are consistent throughout, this beer begins smooth and creamy with chocolate notes but ends bitter with an herbaceous 64.20 IBUs. It’s complex hop profile, depth of flavor, and 7.8% ABV make WTF a beer for a seasoned craft beer connoisseur.

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Maracaibo EspecialMaracaibo Especial drinkmemag.com drink me Top American Brown Ale

Blending two genres, Maracaibo Especial is a Sour American Brown Ale. With only 25 IBUs and 7.5% ABV, Maracaibo is lighter than the pack, but not without hefty flavor. Chocolate, cinnamon, and orange start on the palate, transitioning to a drier, more sour body of funk. The mouthfeel is fairly full, with a tingly effervescent finish, leaving a warmth on the tongue.

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Hazelnut Brown NectarRogue Hazlenut Brown Nectar drinkmemag.com Top American Brown Ale

This gorgeous beer is dark brown in color, leaving about a finger’s width of amber head. The bold scents of hazelnut and brown sugar give Hazelnut Brown Nectar it’s inviting name, with an expected palate to follow — hazelnut, malt, nuts, and caramel. Totally smooth with limited to no bitterness, this beer is a great substitute for dessert. If you like hazelnut creamer in your coffee, this is the beer meant for you.

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