One of my favorite breweries in California (outside of San Diego) is North Coast. Makers of beers like Old Rasputin, Scrimshaw, Red Seal and Blackhart, North Coast has a pretty solid lineup. One of their beers that I had yet to try was one called Brother Thelonious- a Belgian Strong Dark Ale named after jazz musician Thelonious Monk himself. A portion of the proceeds go towards the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and I'm all for beer with a cause, so this one was intriguing. Brother Thelonious is done in the same style as beers like Chimay and the Trader Joes Vintage Ale, so I'm expecting to see a nice yeast profile and spiciness in this one.
The beer pours a dark brown color and ruby color with almost no head. The smells of this one definitely piqued my interest- some nice malt smells, brown sugar and maple.
Just as I was hoping, the yeast is one of the strongest elements of this beer. It gives the beer a creamy mouthfeel that worked well with the malt sweetness. I didn't catch a lot of the maple or brown sugar that I picked up in the smell, but the malt sweetness was enough to make this one enjoyable and keep it from being one dimensional. The only thing that bothered me a bit with this one was that I felt like the alcohol was a little too present. At 9%, this isn't a weak beer, but it burned going down like something much stronger than what it was. Still, another good beer from North Coast, albeit not their best.
Final Grade: B+