Red Seal Ale

Ruedrich’s Red Seal Ale – North Coast Brewing Co., Mendocino, CA

549 red seal ale 98x300

History: ‘Malt and hops are beautifully married in this full-bodied, copper-red Pale Ale. Red Seal is generously hopped for a long, spicy finish. An excellent accompaniment to grilled meats and rich sauces.’

Another beer I had yet to try but had seen often in the local grocery is this beautiful, golden-amber ale from the North Coast Brewery. Red Seal is so strikingly similar to Sierra Nevada that I had to do a bit of a double take. Visually it’s far more deep and rich and the head has nicer, clingier foam. The smell is, however, so nearly identical to its IPA brethren that a bit of a smirk hit me. I knew I was in for a jolt because -and I have to be honest here- I don’t generally favor toward India style ales. I’m not a huge fan of overtly bitter brews and the shock to the nose with this Red Seal was so crisp and hoppy that I had to worry. But that concern was quickly stifled.

A gentle swirl and another inhalation opened up a few more distant, background scents that really come out to combat the hefty bitterness of the hops. There’s some mild spice notes, a bit of a grapefruit undertone, and a really faint hint of the barley at the very end. With a sip you find that your nose, as is nearly always the case, is right and the flavor is a dead on match. Yes, the wallop of the bitter hops steps to the plate like Casey at the Bat, but the rest of the team: spices, grapefruit, barley, play their respective defensive positions really nicely. The hoppiness dies away leaving a nice, rich taste that hangs on through the next sip, which you can see through the really cool lacing of the head. A very nice, crisp, sipping beer perfect for summer nights and barbecues with friends.

Rating: * * * 1/2
Though all around better than Sierra Nevada IPA for me, it does still whack you pretty fiercely with its bitterness.

Stew Miller

Contributor at Gunaxin
Writer, artist, and part time Furry.
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