Red Seal Ale Introduction
Today we’re reviewing Red Seal Ale by North Coast Brewing Company. North Coast Brewing is located up in Fort Bragg, California and is known for several very well-balanced and well-crafted beers. You might already have seen their Belgian-inspired PranQster or Brother Thelonious on the shelves in corked 750 ml bottles. The stout-lovers among you surely have sought out their infamously robust and complex Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. All fine brews, and ones you’re likely to see reviewed at some point on this blog.
However, I think North Coast’s incredibly drinkable Red Seal Ale often gets overlooked but it is one of my favorite medium-bodied beers. Of course I love Old Rasputin, but that beer is made for sipping slowly (and you can only drink about one in a sitting). Read on for my thoughts on Red Seal Ale.
Beer: “Red Seal Ale” described as a copper-red pale ale on the bottle, classified as an American Amber Ale on their website. 42 IBUs and 5.4% ABV.
Brewery: North Coast Brewing Company
Source: BeerCraft in Rohnert Park
Serving notes: 12 oz bottle poured into a 9 oz shaker-style glass.
Appearance: Mostly pale with a slight copper hue when held up to the light. Generous white head (for a pale) that lingers for a while after it is poured.
Smell: The first thing I notice is the floral hops, followed soon after by a slight sweetness. It finishes with a very slight earthiness. Altogether it reminds me of a potted flower. The smell is not overwhelming and it takes a minute to take it all in. (I highly recommend letting the beer warm up a few degrees if the bottle is right from the refrigerator.)
Taste: At first sip I noticed the floral and slightly spicy characteristics of the hops. Not extremely bitter, but at 42 IBUs a bitter flavor is present. After 3-5 seconds the taste peaks with a tangy citrus / grapefruit middle. After the citrus flavor gives way, I am left with a sweet malty aftertaste that resolves the bitterness and leaves me wanting another sip.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, medium carbonation, easy to drink.
Overall: Excellent beer overall. This beer has everything I expect from an American Amber Ale. I should note it does come in at the high-end of bitterness for the style, though 42 IBUs is a welcome retreat from so many hop-bombs being produced today. It is quite literally the first beer listed as a commercial example by the BCJP Guidelines for an American Amber Ale.
In a world of craft beer that so often gravitates towards extremes, I think the Red Seal Ale stands out even more in my mind as a go-to easy-drinking American Amber. It’s a beer that I want to drink 2 of.