1/13/24: Athletic Brewing Co.'s Upside Dawn

1:26 PM

This month, I'm trying something new. Well, new to me. You see, Dry January's been a concept I've know about for something like five years. I've never done it, but it's always interested me. As a beer blog guy, I've tried to take a step back occasionally to examine my relationship with alcohol. This year, I decided in mid-December, was going to be my year. I'd do Dry January (with a slight, planned hiccup that'll I'll atone for in February).

A can of Athletic's Upside Dawn

So far, it's been fine! I've noticed neither benefits nor disadvantages. I'm the same weight, my sleep hasn't improved, my mental health's the same, and my energy level hasn't changed. On the flip side, I don't have any symptoms that would denote a risky relationship with booze. I'm the same, only I've spent a little less this month (craft beer's getting expensive!).

But, I still want to drop in with a blog post. Remember four months ago when I said I'd get to more Athletic brews? Well, here we are: Athletic's Upside Dawn.

Athletic's a company that spans the country. Bill and John started test brewing in Stratford, CT before going commercial and moving to Milford, CT. From there, they also opened a brewing facility in San Diego, CA and now ship their (non-alcoholic) beers around the country (and right to your door).

Upside Dawn's a golden ale. It's billed as light-bodied, clean, and refreshing, boasting citrus aromatics and notes of earth and spice. Sounds good enough, right?

The bouquet is malt (biscuit, toffee, bread) and some mild citrus (lemon, orange, and grapefruit). There's an earthy quality here for sure, along with a bit of funk that's not off-putting so much as it's intriguing. I'm also sussing out a bit of basil and lemongrass. Overall, yeah, killer nose. Purrl doesn't like the non-boozy stuff, though; she gave my can three quick whiffs.

Cat Purrl lazily sniffing my open can of Upside Dawn.

Upside Dawn has that light beer thinness I've come to expect from all NA brews. But, it has some great flavors layered atop of it: a bright maltiness (those notes I attributed to it above, with some caramel, to boot), citrus, the basil and lemongrass, and a touch of coriander. It's a great flavor profile, and I'm not just saying that because I haven't had a proper beer in nearly two weeks!

The mouthfeel's the most convincing part of the whole affair. This drinks like an ale, light, effervescent, and fuller than I'd think.

Despite the beer's name, it's making me think of summer evenings. I'm out on the porch after a long day of yard work. The air smells like cut grass and charcoal (because someone around me's cooking out). The sun's low and the day's humid, but there's a cool breeze rustling the leaves in the oak in our front yard and making the whole evening damn pleasant.

Look, I won't lie to you here. I've had this beer before. I purchase a handful of sixers of it a year, for those times when I want a beer without wanting an actual beer. As a non-alcoholic beer, Upside Dawn's an easy 9.0/10. As a beer beer, it's still something I enjoy enough to give an 8.0/10. If you haven't tried it yet, get on it.


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