Bell’s Brewery’s Third Coast Old Ale
Pale ales, wheat beers, IPAs, pilsners, kolsches, lagers, everybody can’t wait to get their summer on. Give me something light, give me something easy to drink, give me something refreshing. No. With a picturesque wintry Michigan day gracing the label, I grabbed a hanger-on from those lost days of winter, and I can’t believe that this one hung around this long (as it is usually a winter/spring beer). Not on the hottest of days, but on a rainy weekend day or a mild summer night with a fire blazing in the outdoor pit, I often look to the things that comforted me back when seasonal depression had me in its menacing grip. However, they say that Bell’s Brewery’s Third Coast Old Ale ages well and never goes bad, so a few months later than usual may have made it all the better.
Third Coast pours a lovely, almost opaque burnt umber color with a tan crown of foam that quickly dissipates to tell you this one is going to take some work. I did not have the preferred drinkware (a snifter) on hand for this one, so I used a pilsner glass (a sin, I know). Roasted caramel and cocoa scents combined with a bread and almost scotch nose (a little boozy, for sure). The taste followed suit with the smell as a bitter beginning gave way to a malty middle, and and a charred finish. With my tongue numbed from pungent hop overload with my seasonal beer choices, I needed a full-flavored ale with body and breadiness and bitter and bit of burnt. On a low 70s summer day that was over cast a breezy, with a fire on hand ready to grill over this Old Ale was fresh air for my taste buds.
Third Coast, is a reference to the Great Lakes (I am guessing), and I have been tasting some great beers from that region lately. My wife is always excited when Bell’s Oberon hits the shelves because it means warm weather is here, but I am not so soon to dismiss what got me through those long cold winters, and Bell’s does a great job brewing beer for all occasions. A delight in any season, but this one would have to be choked down on a sweltering summer’s day outside the friendly confines of an air conditioned living room. Your palate will tell you when it is time for a change in what you are drinking, and even though it is the summer don’t pigeonhole yourself into only thinking seasonal. Good beer is good beer, sometimes you just need to wait for the right environment.