Upside Dawn Golden Ale Review. By Athletic Brewing Co

Upside Dawn Golden Ale by Athletic Brewing Co which i bought and drank for this review

About Athletic Brewing Co

Athletic Brewing Co hail from the USA and claim to have a fancy new method to brew great 0.5% non alcoholic beers.

This is likely to be some for of limited fermentation with special low sugar grains and new yeasts that convert less sugar to alcohol.

The other way to do it is simply stop the brewing early before the alcohol is made but that can lead to a flavour limited beer, they won’t have used that technique. 

What type of beer is Upside Dawn?

Upside Dawn is a golden ale.

Golden or Blonde ales are very easy drinking and inoffensive. They aren’t hugely over flavoured with either hops or malt. Somethings the have some honey, fruit or spice added to pep it up a bit but in general the are middle of the road easy drinking beers.

The Ingredients

Beer ingredients fascinate me. How you can create such variety both in a good and bad way from the same ingredients is mind-blowing.

I don like to see just basic grains, water, hops and yeast tho. As soon as i see weird grains, sugar syrups and natural flavourings i fear the worst.

Athletic Brewing Co Upside Dawn has…

  • Water
  • Malted Barley
  • Oats
  • Wheat
  • Hops
  • Yeast

These are the exact same 6 ingredients listed for their dark beer “All Out” (review here) and Run Wild (review here) but they could not be more different.

Fair play to Athletic Brewing for just using the same basic ingredients but making such unique products. Maybe there is something to their brewing technique after all.

Upside Dawn Nutrition

I think i like to look at the nutrition even more than the ingredients. I have a soft spot for a non alcoholic beer trying to be low calorie with limited carbohydrate and especially added sugar. I prefer less than 2g/100ml of added sugar in a light coloured beer so they aren’t too sweet.

The exception are maybe the German wheat beers which are isotonic and higher in sugar but get away with it nicely.

Values per 100ml or 100g
Calories 14kcal
Upside Dawn Nutrition Profile

Excellent stats indeed. Very low calorie and low carbohydrate. I hope they have enough flavour and body still in there.

For a full article on the calories, carbs and sugar in non alcoholic beers then read my article on it here

Is Upside Dawn really alcohol free?

You can see from my picture, the can says “alcohol-free” but that doesn’t mean it is 0.0% ABV due to different labelling laws. 

UK and US law says only beers with an ABV of less then 0.05% can use alcohol free terminology. Athletic Brewing are likely using EU laws here where anything up to 0.5% ABV can be called alcohol free. Clear as mud, eh?

0.5% ABV is still “non alcoholic” by law tho.

Despite having x10 more alcohol than a true alcohol free beer, the amount of alcohol in Upside Dawn is still nothing to be worried by. 

Many food stuffs have a higher ABV such as apple juice and even ripe bananas can get to 0.4% ABV.

You can read my entire article on how to tell how much alcohol is in a non alcoholic beer here

If you would like to find out why breweries like this go for a 0.5% beer rather than a 0.0% beer then read my full article on that here

The Look

The can is a golden sunrise colouring and styling and mirrors the beer brilliantly. The beer is a nice yellowy golden colour just as you would expect a golden ale to be.

There wasn’t really any head but im not too worried about that in this type of ale.

The Aroma

I get some light citrus hops but not a huge amount of malt, that goes with the territory of a golden ale. It is not sweet smelling, which is always a bonus. It almost smells yellow if that doesn’t make me sound crazy. Whatever yellow smells like, it is appealing.

The Taste

I need to take bout 3-4 big drinks to start to think what to write. I think that is both a positive and a negative. You can drink this pretty quickly but it can be a little too quickly forgot.

In terms of flavour, there is some citrus hops and light bitterness along with some toasted cereal type cornflake flavour. Not a to of malt coming in tho. Its an easy drink and won’t offend anyone.

It certainly doesn’t taste too sweet and the nutrition stats would point to.

It is lightly carbonated and easily drank, it won’t bloat or fill you up with gas.

As for the negatives it does taste and feel on the slightly thin side. There isn’t a huge amount of body to hang the flavours from.

It can be very difficult for the lower calorie drinks to create enough body without alcohol, fizz or much carbohydrates but I have certainly had worse

The Verdict

This is a nice, easy drinking, golden ale with the added benefit of being low calorie. I wouldn’t have it in the same bracket as Run Wild but it is pleasant enough. It is middle of the road, the type of beer you give your father in law so he doesn’t think your beers are too weird.

The Score

7/10 – Decent without setting the world on fire. A nice low calories, no sweet, low carbonation golden ale.

Find out where this beer ranks compared to all the beers i have reviewed on my updated “Best Non Alcoholic Beers” page

Where to buy

To check out the latest Amazon prices you can follow this link

You can try these at Wise Bartender as well, a brilliant non alcoholic retailer

For UK readers, Light Drinks has this and others, if you use code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE you get an additional 5% off

For Australian readers, Craft Zero has a range of products, if you use code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE you get an additional 10% off

*Affiliate Disclosure – if you click on the links and buy from these providers, i might receive a small commission*

Is Run Wild Gluten Free?

Upside Dawn is indeed gluten free as is quite a lot of the Athletic Brewing Co range

I have an entire article on non alcoholic beers and gluten if you want more information.

Is Run Wild Vegan?

Yes. All Athletic Brewing Co beers are vegan

For more on vegan beers see my article on the matter. Why beers may or may not be and how to check.

Review Overview

Decent without setting the world on fire. A nice low calories, no sweet, low carbonation golden ale.


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Hi im Phil. Im the sole writer on this site. For more info look at my about page

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