North Coast – Grand Cru

Good evening fellow beer lovers. It’s a lovely Thursday night, I just finished a great meal, and now it’s time to review a brew. Tonight the brew is a Grand Cru from the likes of North Coast, the wonderful brewery who brings you Old Rasputin. I was surprised to see this beer from them, so I made sure to grab it. I’ve had a couple Grand Cru beers before, they are as different as snowflakes. Rodenbach Grand Cru, man what a beer! It was my first sour beer and I didn’t even know sours existed. I don’t think anything could have prepared me from that shock, like expecting a glass of water and getting vodka instead. Only now I’m looking for more…well I guess I did that with vodka too. I’m very interested to see how North Coast’s entry holds up against the others I’ve had. Well let’s get to it then…
Now this, this is beauty! The head is pretty heavy, but it disappears faster than a jack-rabbit on payday. Ok, I know that comparison doesn’t really add up, but I think it sounds funny so it’s staying. Anyway, she’s lovely golden color and very clear. Definitely clearer than the majority of beers I consume. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just a different style of brew. That doesn’t mean she’s a fragile girl. At 12.9%, this beer makes Old Rasputin her bitch. Good thing this isn’t a 750ml bottle! I bet we can smell that alcohol, as innocent as she looks.

Well, as expected her aroma is extremely alcoholic. It’s not a bad thing however, it smells a lot like a white wine, maybe a bit floral with a very boozy quality to the scent. She definitely promises to pack a punch, there’s no gettin’ around that alcoholic aroma. Well no sense in letting it go to waste, let’s give her a taste.

Ok, this is a fairly balanced beer… but in a somewhat unorthodox way. First of all, the balance is between sweetness, and the immense flavor of alcohol. I’m gonna talk through it step by step…ready? Ok!

First and foremost you get the sweetness. I want to say it’s pineapple flavor, but I hate pineapples and I like this taste so it’s not quite that. Maybe more like a kiwi or something. It’s a very crisp sweetness that’s fruity, but hard to nail down to one fruit. I know there’s a gay joke in that somewhere…please e-mail them to me post-haste. The sweet flavor loses power very quickly however, and an almost tart taste takes over. It’s not mouth-puckering tart, but it’s enough to squash the sweetness. What truly contrasts the sweetness however, is the swallow. It’s a tidal wave of alcohol blasting away any remnants of sweetness or tartness, but as the wave recedes, a tiny bit of sweetness is found. They lay side by side for a while, until they both are taken back into the sea by the gentle waves. This whole scene is perfectly supported by a very crisp body. It allows the flavors to truly take center stage. The whole experience, albeit a bit sweet, is very enjoyable.

Overall, this is a great beer to write an ocean metaphor for. It’s also a great brew to enjoy, and seems well suited for the upcoming holiday season. An innocent looking Belgian pale ale that’s insanely strong and pretty damn good.

Until next beer, this is Brian G. signing out.

Categories: Beer, Belgian Pale Ale | Leave a comment

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