Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Belgian Strong Ales — North Coast Brewing Co. vs. New Belgium

North Coast Brewing Pranqster
Belgian Style Golden Ale

ABV 7.6%

Orange, slightly hazy, very low carbonation.
Floral honey, cardamon, bit of damp cellar funk.
Almost no carbonation. Honey sweet, almost mead-like with herbal notes.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced):
Sweet with piney/rosemary herbal notes.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):
Good +

New Belgium Lips of Faith
Belgian Style Blond

ABV 8.5%

Straw yellow, fitting of the blond(e) moniker.
Very sweet smelling, like banana cream pie.
Classic banana and clove. Not as sweet as it smells.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Malty (but not as much as Pranqster).
Dry, woody, slight hop bitterness.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):

Winner by unanimous decision
: Pranqster. The New Belgium came out swinging and really had Pranqster on the ropes for awhile. But despite a slow start (the low carbonation took some getting used to) the Pranqster eventually wore down the Blond with a touch more complexity and range of flavors. However, if you're in the mood for a American version of a Belgian style beer you can't go wrong with either of these offerings. Both were more appealing to us than the world-renowned Duvel.

Extra Credit: Despite the different names of these beers, they actually both fit in the Belgian Strong Ale category. That means, be careful. These will sneak up on you. One minute you'll be enjoying a Belgian Strong Ale with friends and the next you'll be playing a one string banjo in a boxcar headed for Bakersfield, California.

In the interest of full disclosure to satisfy the FTC’s law, this battle features a sample bottle received from the New Belgium Brewery.

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