Aug 3, 2018

North Coast Alt Nouveau

You don’t typically run across very many Altbiers in the American craft beer world, but every once in a while, one pops up. Such is the case with a bottle of North Coast’s Alt Nouveau that I happened across back in June — the packaging date was later noticed to be from November 2017 so it wasn’t nearly as fresh as it could have been. I’m a huge fan of the brewery’s Old Rasputin (standard and barrel-aged), so I tend to pick up anything from them that I haven’t had prior. Like any case of sticking to brand loyalty, some of those new experiences work and some don’t. Alt Nouveau, for me, is somewhere in the middle.

The beer is described as hoppy, but I’m not so sure that’s not a result of the age of the bottle. I don’t notice that musty, old hop character that typically comes with old IPAs. There is a surprising amount of roastiness that accompanies caramel, grain, bread and distant spice notes. The roast isn’t smokey or anything but it’s certainly atypical of most Altbiers that I’ve encountered in the past. It’s a nice touch. The biggest issue with this specific bottle is the level of carbonation. It’s way too sharp for the style, but thankfully fades quickly as everything else moves to the lasting finish.

Alt Nouveau isn’t a bad beer by any means, but this particular bottle perhaps wasn’t in the optimal condition. It wasn’t overly old in terms of bottling date, but I’ll be darned if it’s a hoppy beer. That over-carbonated trait was a bit off-putting at times. I’ll probably look for a more fresh bottle of the beer to give it a fair shake, if I’m able to find it again.