The Nineties… specifically 1996. Where were you back then? Were you even born yet? For those of you who were alive 20 + years ago, you’ll remember that internet was still in its first decade of being available to the general public, mad cow disease was the main news headline in England, the movie Braveheart won the Oscar for Best Picture (one of our favorite movies, by the way), HDTV was introduced as a new technology, and the artisan craft beer movement was in its second decade of growth.

Californian microbreweries were making a big splash in the early craft beer movement. NORTH COAST BREWING COMPANY was no exception. Having enjoyed North Coast’s English-style ales in the early 90’s, we were excited to see them begin to produce ales in the classic Belgian styles. The first time we tasted PRANQSTER back in 1996, we felt it was a good representation of the Belgian Golden style, but like all American breweries producing ales in the Belgian styles for the first time, we knew that PranQster would definitely improve over time as well.

And sure enough, it did. Today, the Belgian-Style ales from North Coast are some of our frequented go-to products, due to the fact that they are  a great value for the excellent price- especially here in Northern California!

At our BrewView for another one of North Coast’s classic ales, our good friend and affiliate Stu Stuart of Belgian Beer Me! Beer Tours left this comment at our BROTHER THELONIOUS post:

We also feel it is one of the best made Belgian-Style ales made by an American brewery in today’s US beer scene. A multiple award winner, it was time that we did our BrewView on this long time classic.


A pioneer in the Craft Beer movement, North Coast Brewing Company opened in 1988 as a local brewpub in the historic town of Fort Bragg, located on California’s Mendocino Coast.

Under the leadership of Brewmaster Mark Ruedrich, the brewery has developed a strong reputation for quality having won more than 70 awards in national and international competitions.

In addition to Red Seal Ale, Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, Scrimshaw Pilsner, and other fine North Coast brands, the brewery has resurrected the old Acme label with a heritage dating back to the San Francisco of the 1860s.NorthCoastBrewing-BreweryPicThese exceptional beers are available in 47 states now and also are exported to Europe and the Pacific Rim. North Coast Brewing Company has been previously voted as one of the Ten Best Breweries in the World by the Beverage Tasting Institute. (Source: North Coast Brewing Company)


Belgian Ales represent the height of the brewers’ art. Sophisticated brewing techniques, yeast blends, and unique flavoring elements have elevated the beers of Belgium to the status enjoyed by wine in other countries.

PranQster follows in this tradition using a mixed culture of antique yeast strains that produce a floral nose, a full fruity flavor, and a clean finish. Available in 12 oz 4-packs and 750 ml traditionally corked and wired bottles.

Vital Statistics

Style: Belgian Style Golden Ale
Color: Soft Gold
ABV: 7.6%
Bitterness: 20 IBUs

92 Points, Rated “Exceptional”
Beverage Testing Institute, Chicago

Reviews & Accolades

SDIBF-Medallion-GoldPranQster has won the Gold for the best Belgian Style Pale Ale at the 2014 San Diego International Beer Competition. The judging was conducted by hops and barley loving industry professionals in a blind tasting. Already a four time gold medal winner, PranQster was awarded number five.

GoodFoodAward“The Good Food Awards would like to honor North Coast for its PranQster Belgian Style Golden Ale, a beer that tastes as good as the values behind it.”
Good Food Awards


PranQster Medals & Awards

2014 International Beer Competition, San Diego
2003 World Beer Championships, Chicago
2002 World Beer Championships, Chicago
1998 World Beer Championships, Chicago
1996 World Beer Championships, Chicago

2003 GABF, Belgian Style Abbey Ale

1998 WBC, Belgian Style Abbey Ale


Served at 50° F in a tulip-shaped glass. Pours with an easy 3-finger white colored head that is dense,  creamy, tightly bubbled.  The beer color is a pale gold SRM value of a 4(the brewery calls it “soft” gold). The meniscus is medium to slow rising, rim variation color is straw (SRM value of a 3).

The Brussels lacing in the glass as PranQster is consumed is even-sheeted. After around 7 minutes into consumption time, the beer still held a nice 3/4″ head, tightly bubbled. Nearly 10 minutes into it, the head still held a 1/4″ height.

NOTE: All BrewView notes here are with the yeast roused up in the bottle before decanting. As you know, we prefer the “yeast dump” while drinking Belgian-style ales. We’ve had PranQster with and without the yeast in the glass, we prefer it with the sediment.

Floral, grassy, stone fruit (apricot, peach) aromas, fresh bready yeast bouquet, almost akin to an herb bread. There are sweet malt aromas, plus there is a lavender honey note in the mix.

You can tell this is a west-coast influenced Belgian golden. The bready yeast character with a nice hop balance is forefront. The malt sweetness follows, along with flavors of honey, apricot, and gentle citrus notes of Meyer lemon. As the beer warms up, it develops a very delicate funkiness.MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
Medium bodied, it has a certain creaminess that fills the mouth. Medium effervescence level, with a nice fruity, bready finish. There is a stone fruit dryness that lingers- imagine biting into a very young peach.


If you happen to be in the Fort Bragg, California area, you simply must stop in at North Coast’s Brewery Taproom and enjoy PranQster with one of the many delicious items off of their menu:

APPETIZERS: Ceviche, North Coast Nachos, Calamari Fritto Misto, Oysters on the Half Shell, or their Steamed Clams. Their salads would be nice too: Seared Sea Scallop Salad, Avocado Bowls.

ENTRÈES: Chicken Cordon Bleu, Peruvian Pork, Cioppino, Fish & Chips, Shrimp & Chips, Caramelized Onion pizza, Wild Mushroom Pizza. 

After 2 decades and countless bottles enjoyed, we fully recommend North Coast’s PranQster.

This is one of the beers we go to when we are introducing beer drinkers trying craft beer for the first time. It has a great all around flavor profile- assertive enough to tell the first-timer that beer can actually have good flavor! It’s also priced right for those drinkers who are so used to paying rock-bottom prices for their macro beer.

In our “modest” opinion, we feel this is a very underrated beer. More beer enthusiasts need to get reacquainted with it if they haven’t had it for a while. This is a beer that can be aged for a while, but it is brewed to drink fresh. Since there is quite a bit of yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle, we suggest storing it for 2-3 weeks before serving (if you don’t like yeast sediment in your glass).

Many professionals suggest that the yeast should be left behind, because serving a beer “clean” is the way the brewer meant for it to be tasted. That may be so, we’ve had PranQster with and without the “yeast dump” – as we’ve said earlier, we prefer it with.

We purchased this (and every bottle for the last 7 years) at our local Liquor Barn for $5.99 for the 750 ML bottle… c’mon! What a great price! You could enjoy this beer all year round due to it’s great flavor profile. It’s widely available, due to North Coast’s vast distribution network.  Great beer, great value, pick up some bottles up today!

Brew Building

455 North Main Street
Fort Bragg CA 95437
707 964-2739

Brewery Taproom
444 North Main Street
Fort Bragg, CA 95437
707 964-3400

501 North Main Street, Suite A
Fort Bragg, CA 95427
707 964-1286

BrewView author GORDON A. PONCE is the main driving force behind Belgian Beer Since 1983, Gordon recognized that beers from Belgium were special, set apart from the typical craft beer.

He views beers from Belgium (plus Belgian-style and Belgian Inspired beers from other countries) great examples of the brewer’s art. Gordon and his wife live in beautiful Northern California- a great place to enjoy Belgian beer!      Ecclesiastes 8:15