Brother Thelonius is a Belgian-style Strong Dark Ale brewed by North Coast Brewing Co., and for the purposes of this craft beer review, the ale was served in a snifter from a bottle.
The ale pours a very dark brown that’s clear with ruby highlights. It’s capped by an inch-thick head of cream-colored foam that doesn’t hold as well as better examples of the style. Its reduction leaves behind a thin collar of residue around the glass.
A perfumy aroma consists of light vanilla and booze.
Taste begins with bread crust and an earthy spiciness of tobacco, pepper, and cinnamon. Fruity esters of fig and plum mix with caramel and booze to deliver a sticky sweet finish. A base of toasty bread ties the palate together.
The feel is smooth and creamy with a body that’s a little over medium and moderately carbonated. Its finish is somewhat syrupy with a warming sensation of alcohol.
The appearance and aroma could be a little better but are acceptable. Its sweet finish is a little syrupy and could use a little more carbonation. On the plus side, and most importantly, the palate is nicely complex. All things considered, Brother Thelonius is a nice representation of a Strong Dark Ale.
A portion of the sales from the Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale supports the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. Its program offers the world’s most talented young musicians college level training by America’s jazz masters. It also offers public school-based jazz education programs for children around the world. All of these programs are provided free of charge to the students and schools.
Award-Winning Label Art
North Coast hires local artists to produce the creative for its beer labels. For the Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale design, they hired Eduardo Smissen. His art and packaging created by Colored Horse Studios earned a Gold Medal in the Creativity Category from the Beverage Testing Institute’s World Beer Championships Packaging Competition.