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Review by joe1510 on 02/16/10  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
74 2 9 15 3 8 2010
Binny's Orland

Le Merle pours a hazy apricot with enthusiastic carbonation that explodes from all over the glass. The body becomes straw golden when backlit. A soft pour produced a three finger pure white head that eventually fell to a solid finger and never dipped below that. The carbonation keeps the now craggy head around for the entirety of the drink. The head leaves patchy spider webbed lacing here and there down the glass.

The aroma right off the bat is loaded with fresh fruit that's very inviting. Peaches and apricot is the first thing that comes to mind, neither are clear cut but seem to meld together. Each swirl brings forward a helping of orchard fruits; gritty pear, perfectly ripe tart green apples, and although not an orchard fruit, bubblegum. There seems to be a dusty somewhat clove driven yeast in the background. The malts are pale and candied aroma to the overall beer. A mild grassy hoppiness brings up the rear. As this beer warms some mild, clean alcohol fumes greet the nose. I'm conflicted on the scoring for this. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

The flavor doesn't quite live up to the vivid aroma. There's still a fresh fruit platter of ripe refreshing fruitiness that nose suggested but it's more muddled than I would have liked. If each component came out a little more it would make this a great beer but I do think the carbonation has something to do with this. The mild clove, dusty yeast and ripe apricot show up on the swallow to add another layer to this already juicy beer. This is a good beer but the flavor is just too muddied upfront to make it really stand out.

The carbonation is on the high side and seems to detract from the overall flavor and mouthfeel. The carbonation is prickly and moves a little too quickly to let me appreciate the beer the way I'd like. The body is on the lighter side of the spectrum and right where it should be. After this beer sits awhile the carbonation becomes more manageable.

This is a tasty Belgian-style beer. The refreshing fruity qualities and light body make this a treat to sip on warm summer days. Le Merle is a sipper when you take the alcohol into consideration but can go down very easy.

North Coast lists Le Merle as a saison; it reminds me of a hybrid saison/tripel. There's good flavor throughout this beer with a good amount of fresh summer fruits. This is another quality brew from North Coast. I really like the things this brewery does.

Reviewed: 7/2/08

Price: $8.99 Served In: Tulip