NORTH COAST BREWING COMPANY
“A pioneer in the Craft Beer movement, North Coast Brewing Company opened in 1988 as a local brewpub in the historic town of Fort Bragg, located on California’s Mendocino Coast. Under the leadership of Brewmaster Mark Ruedrich, the brewery has developed a strong reputation for quality having won more than 70 awards in national and international competitions. In addition to Red Seal Ale, Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, Scrimshaw Pilsner, and other fine North Coast brands, the brewery has resurrected the old Acme label with a heritage dating back to the San Francisco of the 1860s.”
- Brother Thelonious (93 Points)
- Le Merle (95 Points)
- Old Rasputin (99 Points)
- Old Stock Ale (90 Points)
- Pranqster (94 Points)
- Puck (88 Points)
BROTHER THELONIOUS: 93 Points
The Belgian Strong Ale is available year-round in 12 oz., 350 ml., and 750 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “North Coast Brewing Co. is proud to partner with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in support of Jazz education. The Brewery makes a donation to the Institute for every bottle of Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale sold. Like a Belgian “Dark Strong Ale,” this beer is rich and robust with an ABV of 9.3%.”
My Description: Brother Thelonious drinks similar to that of an Abbey Dubbel with a deep malt backbone and a high alcohol content, but it lacks some body and this beer could use a better balance of flavor and alcohol. However, it is a great beer that sips cleanly and satisfies for the style. It begins with a good sized, light beige colored head that fades quickly to a film that holds for a while leaving behind a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma is warming with plenty of dark fruit notes like raisins, cherries, and dates. Caramel malt and brown sugar can also be detected in the aroma. Brother Thelonious is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. A rich caramel malt flavor dominates the taste accompanied by notes of raisins, dates, alcohol, sugar sweetness, and a hint of chocolate. The aftertaste is minimally bitter and smooth, but this beer is all about the malt. The alcohol begins to take over about midway through the beer as the temperature rises but doesn’t necessarily take away from the enjoyment. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with Teriyaki noodles, baked ham, or grilled lamb chops.
ABV: 9.4% Color: Garnet/Ruby Highlights Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 2/10
LE MERLE: 95 Points
This Farmhouse Ale is released year-round in 12 oz. and 750 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Le Merle is a rustic ale, pale in color, inspired by the rich brewing traditions of the Flanders region. Abundant hops and a Belgian yeast strain contribute exotic aromas of tropical fruit.”
My Description: North Coast manages to create a wonderfully balanced Farmhouse Ale. It begins with a good sized, white colored head that fades to a thin film that holds for a minute leaving behind some lacing. The aroma in welcoming and slightly complex with notes of citrus, black pepper, floral, and some hints of funk. Le Merle is medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is highly enjoyable and very refreshing. An overall earthy presence is accompanied by notes of orange peel, tropical fruit, and yeast esters. The finish is slightly bitter and the alcohol is nicely hidden making this very easy to drink. An easy choice for the Summer, this Farmhouse Ale is crisp, smooth, and flavorful. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with grilled asparagus, sautéed shrimp, or a fruit parfait.
ABV: 7.9% Color: Golden Sweetness: 1.5/10 Bitterness: 2/10
OLD RASPUTIN: 99 Points
This Imperial Stout is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Produced in the tradition of 18th Century English brewers who supplied the court of Russia’s Catherine the Great, Old Rasputin seems to develop a cult following wherever it goes. It’s a rich, intense brew with big complex flavors and a warming finish. The Old Rasputin brand image is a drawing of Rasputin with a phrase in Russian encircling it—A sincere friend is not born instantly.”
My Description: An exceptional representation of an Imperial Stout that would be worthy of anyone’s court. It begins with a very large, beige colored head with an excellent retention level that lasts forever leaving behind a noticeable amount of lacing. The aroma is warming and inviting with notes of roasted malts, dark fruits, dark chocolate, and a hint of licorice. Old Rasputin is full bodied with a lower carbonation level and a dry finish. Smooth is the first impression I got when I started drinking this beer, it goes down easy but this beer is made to sip slowly. The flavor profile is complex and the flavors blend beautifully together. A roasted malt backbone holds up notes of chocolate and caramel with woodsy notes creeping in and hints of alcohol to add character. This transitions cleanly into an aftertaste that is slightly bitter with a creamy texture. Every piece of this beer is world class and very few Imperial Stout’s can compare. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with grilled game meat, potent cheeses, or dark chocolate.
ABV: 9% Color: Black Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10
OLD STOCK ALE: 90 Points
This Old Ale is released seasonally in Autumn in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “As a continuation of North Coast Brewing Co.’s commitment to quality, our Old Stock Ale is crafted in the tradition of our critically acclaimed Pranqster Belgian Style Golden Ale and Old Rasputin Imperial Stout. It’s brewed with classic floor-malted Maris Otter Pale Malt and Fuggles Hops imported from England, so it’s a beer to be served proudly. Like a fine wine, North Coast’s Old Stock Ale is intended to be laid down. With an original gravity of over 1100 and a generous hopping rate, Old Stock Ale is well-designed to round-out and mellow with age. North Coast Brewing Co. Old Stock Ale is a vintage dated ale. We produce a small quantity each year and it remains available from release date until our stock is depleted.”
My Description: This beer is only going to get better as it ages and right now it tastes very pleasant. It begins with a good sized, light beige colored head that fades quick and leaves behind a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma is somewhat subtle but never-the-less welcoming with a deep caramel malt note taking center stage along with notes of raisins, figs, and molasses. Old Stock is full bodied with a lower carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. A silky texture helps make this beer easy to drink but the cloying sweetness makes you take your time between sips. Similar to the aroma, a rich caramel malt note dominates the flavor profile holding up notes of burnt sugar, toffee, green bananas, and some earthiness. I feel that the alcohol is beautifully hidden here even though this beer is young; you can taste the alcohol but it’s not hot or solvent like, but more like a welcoming addition the taste. The aftertaste brings a slightly bitter presence helping to combat some of the malty sweetness. Let this pretty one age a bit. It is best served around 60°F and pairs nicely with chocolate desserts, creamy cheeses, or baked duck.
ABV: 11.8% Color: Amber/Brown Sweetness: 3.5/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10
PRANQSTER: 94 Points
This Belgian Strong Ale is available year-round in 12 oz. and 750 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Belgian Ales represent the height of the brewers’ art. Sophisticated brewing techniques, yeast blends, and unique flavoring elements have elevated the beers of Belgium to the status enjoyed by wine in other countries. PranQster follows in this tradition using a mixed culture of antique yeast strains that produce a floral nose, a full fruity flavor, and a clean finish.”
My Description: An easy drinking Belgian Ale from California. It begins with a large, white colored head with an excellent retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind some lacing. The aroma is bright and welcoming with a floral presence along with some yeast esters and honey. Pranqster is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. A delicious flavor profile begins with notes of wheat and pale malt accompanied by yeast spices, stone fruits, and a touch of bubblegum. All this centered around the same floral presence as in the aroma. The aftertaste is minimally bitter and refreshing. The alcohol may be felt but otherwise beautifully hidden. This is a great Belgian Strong for any occasion. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with kale salad, roasted potatoes, or grilled shrimp.
ABV: 7.6% Color: Golden/Bronze Sweetness: 1.5/10 Bitterness: 1.5/10
PUCK: 88 Points
This Petite Saison is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “First brewed to celebrate our 25th anniversary, the beer now known as PUCK, a petite saison of 4% ABV, won a place in our hearts and in our year-round portfolio of beers. Brewed with premium Pils and wheat malts and fermented with the same yeast strain used to make our renowned Saison, Le Merle, Puck is sharp and spritzy with a delicious flowery, spicy dry-hop aroma—the perfect accompaniment to any celebration, big or small.”
My Description: This beer is refreshing, easy drinking, and satisfying. It begins with a good sized, white colored head that fades to a film that holds most of the way leaving behind some spotty lacing. The aroma is welcoming and bright with an earthy presence accompanied by some lemon tart, a touch of funk, and some floral notes as well. Puck is light/medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile follows the nose closely. A mild funk note intertwines with subtle hop notes and herbal notes. An overall earthy backbone is detected throughout and the aftertaste is slightly bitter giving this beer a good balance. Faint spice notes start to develop as the beer warms adding a welcoming flavor note. Overall, this is a great session ale when looking for something Belgian and flavorful. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with goat cheese, light salads, or grilled Cod.
ABV: 4% Color: Gold Sweetness: 1.5/10 Bitterness: 2/10