North Coast Red Seal Ale

A perfect marriage of malt and hops.

North Coast Red Seal Ale
By Bill Lau | Potable Pastime

5.4% ABV, American amber ale, 42 IBUs
North Coast Brewing Co., Fort Bragg, CA

Red and I go way back. My first bicycle was a red Scwhinn. My first crush was on a red-haired girl. The first civilian aerobatic team I saw perform were the Red Devils in their bright red Pitts Special biplanes. My favorite condiment as a child was ketchup. In college I was introduced to the music of Sammy Hagar, the Red Rocker, and his namesake song Red. My favorite car was red. Before the craft beer explosion, Leinie’s Red Lager was a go-to beer for me.

So today’s post delves into the world of red with North Coast Red Seal Ale which hails from the NorCal coast roughly midway between San Francisco and the Oregon state line. Never been to that part of the state, though I’ve visited the Bay area several times over the years. But I have most definitely enjoyed my share of beers from the NorCal region, not only from North Coast but nearby Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada, Lost Coast, 21st Amendment, and of course a little ol’ place called Anchor. I’m sure there are others I’ve missed, too. (My apologies.)

Damn, thinking about all those breweries makes me thirsty!


Pours out with a luxurious head of thick, pale beige foam and a beautiful, bright shining copper-red body. Plentiful bubbles stream from the bottom of the glass to sustain the head.

Appetizing aroma of toasted malt reaches out, carrying notes of toffee, caramel and toasted nuts. There’s also some earthy/spicy hop mixed in.

Delivers a veritable mouthful of flavor, with malt complexity up front, initially somewhat sweet and tangy, followed by notes of caramel and toffee, then earthy-spicy hops and a firm bitterness. Medium bodied with a smooth and creamy texture. The drying finish is lengthy and delightful with more spicy hops and a lingering bitterness that eventually includes a slightly tannic character. So tasty! And it hangs on to a solid layer of foam all the way to the bottom of the glass.

Channels some serious character reminiscent of the best English pale ales, while retaining a definite west coast American vibe and sensibility. Truly a classic, outstanding ale. I give this one my unequivocal Stamp of Approval.

Disclosure: The author has received no reimbursement or compensation for this article. All opinions and remarks are those of the author alone.

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