North Coast Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale

Never heard of North Coast Brewing Company, and that means I must love them. I love any new brewery, as they give the me opportunity to try new beers from someone who thinks they have something special. Occasionally, they do, and that's a win-win. This beer supports Jazz education, so I like to think of this as my little exercise in philanthropy.

The beer looks almost brown at first glance, but putting some light to it, it glows a ruby red. The relatively thin head is a ring around the top with a few small patches floating freely. The aroma is sweetness, dark fruits, licorice, brown sugar, raisins, and wet bread. It's certainly complex as hell, and I'm pretty sure a sip won't cut the mustard, but I have a process, so I'm doing it.

First sip is dark fruits, sweet malt, bread, brown sugar, and lots of other stuff getting lost in the mix. It's reminiscent of the Trappist ales that I've had, and I can't imagine that is by accident. A beer brewed in California shouldn't be so similar to the legitimate Belgian ales, but this was formulated pretty well, based on the sip. But, sipping is not the way to go.

Tip-in is sweet bread and interesting carbonation burn. It's interesting in that the burn isn't sharp, but it's not a tingle - it's a very good balance. The middle comes with dark fruit, licorice, raisins, and more bread. It's a mouthful of darkness and the meat of plums. The finish steps in with a swelling of the same stuff that made up the middle, and then it drops off suddenly as a bitterness kisses the lips and is followed by a sweetness.

Bottom Line: Worthy of the Trappist monks, this US brew is a very drinkable substitute.

4.25/5

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