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PranQster not just for April Fools

12:01 AM, Apr. 4, 2012
PranQster Belgian Style Golden Ale. / Gary McCracken/

April Fools' Day has come and gone. Many of us revel in the spirit of the day with prank calls and "kick me" signs taped to friends' backs. It's not a national holiday, but perhaps it should be given such consideration.

Look around you: Foolishness and fools are en vogue. Politics and "reality" TV, faux-hawks and Justin Bieber bowl cuts, sports stars who can't stay out of trouble, the entire cast of "Jersey Shore." It's a de facto celebration of all that is inherently stupid in life.

For my first day of April, I popped a "Jackass" DVD in the player, got cozy on the couch which was booby-trapped with a whoopee cushion and poured myself a nicely chilled PranQster from North Coast Brewing. Ruminating upon such a world-class ale piqued my interest as to why April 1 is given worldwide status for being silly.

The earliest reference is found in Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales," according to Wikipedia, but may be a mistranslation over a date that may refer to the anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England and Anne of Bohemia. While the marriage was unpopular in England, it doesn't explain the connection to practical joking.

A better explanation is the switching of the new year's observance. Before the advent of the Gregorian calendar, New Year's Day was observed on March 25 and, in some European locations, culminated in a weeklong fete ending on April 1, according to Wikipedia. Once the date was moved, more modern-thinking citizens found those who continued their old ways to be foolish, and teased them, which likely evolved into the pranking we know today.

North Coast's PranQster is an amazing Belgian Abbey ale, golden-orange in color, with a billowing head of creamy white foam that recedes nicely to a thin, tight cap and plenty of lacing in the glass. Rich scents of yeast and malt dominate the nose with honey, clove, banana, white pepper and apple peel. The texture is buttery and fleshy, the flavors nothing short of exquisite. Tart, fruity esters give way to coriander, banana, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon. The 7.6 percent alcohol by volume can creep up on someone who's not ready for it; PranQster being such an addictive beverage, the ABV can easily make a fool of the unsuspecting.

All kidding aside, this is, hands down, one of the planet's best ales.

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