Dining & Drink

Red Seal is Simple, Maybe Too Simple

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Wamp’s Wisdom

Red Seal Ale from North Coast Brewing Co. in Fort Bragg, Calif., is billed as an American amber ale.

It pours a deep copper with a sticky white head. Aroma is mild with a faint waft of hoppy goodness. The flavor is reminiscent of an ESB with nice hoppy bitterness rounding out a significant malt punch. The finish is clean and roasty.

This is yet another great ale from a great west coast brewery that has already dazzled us with Old Rasputin Imperial Stout, Acme Pale Ale and Pranqster Belgian Ale.
This ale will pair nicely with anything from pizza to herbed lamb.

Rico’s Reaction

Here’s what I admire about North Coast’s Red Seal Ale: It’s very clean and simple.
You can tell the brewery is really striving to make a pure beer without additives or bullshit. Red Seal is extremely consistent and balanced between malt and hops from beginning to the last sip. It puts me in mind of Goose Island Honker’s Ale, which we reviewed previously.

Here’s what I didn’t like about Red Seal: It’s so simple, it makes for a very average experience. Yes, it’s a decent all-around ale and would work with just about anything you care to eat with it — whether it’s a bag of Corn Nuts or a medium rare filet mignon.
On its own, however, well, this is a beer that’s very hard for me to get excited about. If you’re normally a consumer of mass-produced beers, though, this might be a good brew to ease yourself into the craft beer market.

I’m arbitrarily knocking off half a cap on the rating just because Red Seal nearly put my taste buds to sleep.

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