North Coast PranQster – 7.6% ABV
I have been on several similarly-themed beer adventures in the recent past. For instance, I’ll go through a run of various pale ales or IPAs giving myself the opportunity to discern between the good, the moderate and the great. I have also done this with hefeweizens and bock beers. Lately though, it’s been Belgian beers. Aside from the IPA/hop-forward movement that came from the Pacific Northwest, the Belgian kick seems to be one that the masses are following in droves. Today I’m drinking Pranqster, a Belgian Strong Pale Ale from the North Coast Brewing Company out of Fort Bragg, CA. This is a town right on the coast in Northern Cali, hence the name of the brewery. (editors note – I’m just guessing here, but it makes sense to me.)
To look at the bottle, one would be reminded of the old Animal House movie poster. A cartooned or caricatured scene of a group of barflies having a good time together. The most recognizable (and not quite cartooned) face is on the far right side of the label. My guess is that this is the owner or maybe brewmaster of the brewery, Mark Reudrich. But I may be wrong, just a hunch. With all its appeal, I still want to see what’s inside. I poured this into a pilsner glass (I know, cardinal sin, but I didn’t have a clean tulip glass laying around) and got a nice golden amber, almost orange hue when held to the light. Without direct sunlight you should expect to see a somewhat cloudy amber, almost brown color. There was a thick creamy 2-3 finger head that would last for a long time while I pulled on it. Next, the aroma – a nice mixture of yeast strains delivers a floral nose with elements of banana and citrus. The banana aroma is one that I have come to expect from a Belgian. This smells nice, time to dig in.
When I think of good Belgian beers, the taste is the first thing that stands out for me. This one falls into that category – light and fruity, with some citrus bite to it in the end. Immediately upon tasting this, my taste buds are picking up banana, clove and coriander spice, and the lemony citrus that gives it that sharp, crisp finish. Sipping on this beer also gives you a steadily increasing warmth. It is boozy, if only slightly at 7.5%. As mentioned, the warmth begins to build after each sip, but it doesn’t overpower the throat or the chest as some might. There was plenty of “soap sud” lacing around the glass as I drank this. The mouth-feel is nice and smooth, slightly carbonated and the beer has a medium body to it, leaving you nicely satisfied but not feeling bloated at the end of the session. That means if you want more than one, feel free to enjoy without the anxiety of stomach pains later. And believe me, after giving Pranqster a taste, you probably won’t want to settle for only one.
Every beer I have had so far from North Coast has been a pleasure. This is no different. I’m really enjoying their take on a Belgian Strong Pale Ale. One of these days I’ll get around to writing up that review on Old Rasputin, a Russian Imperial Stout they brew that is considered by many to be the nectar of the gods, as well as Brother Theolonius, another nice Belgian offering. In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying this fine selection and look forward to drinking and reviewing others in their line. Cheers!