Aurora Borealis
Craftsman Brewing Co.

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Strong Ale - Belgian Pale
Ranked #398
Ranked #47,534
2.85 | pDev: 34.74%
Craftsman Brewing Co.
California, United States
Notes: Brewed with mint and persimmon.
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Reviews: 9 | Ratings: 15 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

4.1/5  rDev +43.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on Day 1 at the Lucky Baldwin’s 7th Annual Belgium Beer Festival.

Un-Listed on the printed Beer Menu as this is a domestic style Belgian. Nevertheless, a surprise find amidst the bank of Craftsman Taps on the front of the bar, it was on the orange colored tap (for the Orange Grove Ale!?!) with a black sticker on it that had the word 'Aurora Borealis' top to bottom, so it stood out amongst all the other natural wood colored Craftsman Taps. A Belgian brew especially on sale during the 7th Annual LB’s Belgium Beer Festival. Served in a Goblet measure only, because this one clocks in at a mighty 11%!!

Pale amber-golden body with a mighty impressive white head that rises proudly in the glass. Lots of streamers and stiff conditioning, the head collapses at the edges first leaving an egg-white floating island. Nice lacing to boot. Fantastic nose, candi sugar provides a sweet dimension but there is a real mélange of funky fruits, berries and yeasty herbal tones, far too complex to describe. The tastes are just as intriguing; chewing gum sweetness, yeast laden spicy malts and tingling hops, all this is punctuated at various times and point s in the drink with minty herbs, peppers, a funky earthiness. The whole brew is a real eclectic mish-mash of fruits, herbs and spices in and amongst the malts and hops. Large body with a satisying feel. Where is the 11%!?! I’m not sure, drinks to a high elevation but it sure doesn’t seem like it’s a double-digit BSPA that’s for sure. Given its rather unique DNA this one is surprisingly easy to put down, dangerously drinkable. Beware the imbiber, one of these is enough otherwise you may be seeing the Northern Lights on the way home.

Took me a while to realign to this one, but it warmed on me and in me. Another winner from Craftsman, there will no doubt be plenty of Belgian brews to try, but don’t miss the chance to try this home-grown BSPA whilst at the Lucky Baldwin’s 7th Annual Belgian Festival, well worth seeking out. Intriguing!

Feb 20, 2006
More User Reviews:
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BassBone from California

4.23/5  rDev +48.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on tap at Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena (thanks, BeerAdvocate for turning me on to this place). Pours a golden amber into a goblet with a thickish white head. There is incredible lacing as it drinks, though the head vanishes after a bit. The nose is a bit complex; lots of fruit and sweetness with malt. There is no hint of the 11% alcohol in the smell or the taste.

The taste is again complex and sweet. A hint of oranges and other fruits abound. This beer is simply yummy.

It is very smooth in the mouth with good carbonation and goes down easy. Again, doesn't feel like an 11% brew.

This is something I will get again and again until the keg is gone, then I will beg Craftsman to make more. I wish I could find Craftsman in more places than just LB... Maybe a bottle? hint hint.

Apr 11, 2006
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davod23 from California

2.37/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured into a tulip at Verdugo Bar on Valentine's Day.

Appearance is okay. Barely any head, deep orangish color.

Smell... weird. Mint? Really? Also a fair bit of anise and what I think is what Robitussin smells like. Cough syrup, licorice, and mint? Not okay.

Taste better but not great. The cough syrup isn't as pronounced here, but the menthol nature of the beer remains in full force. A bit of handfruit sweetness, maybe melon. Alcohol is present but not hot.

Mouthfeel is actually pretty good. Thick, full bodied, a bit syrupy.

Drinkability. Nope. Not impressed. The flavors are wearisome, and this is a big beer to boot.

Meh. Not good. If you're into trying weird beers, this is recommended. Otherwise, don't sweat this one.

Feb 15, 2011
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Halcyondays from California

3.46/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours a hazy burnt orange with a light white head, fair retention, no true lace.

S: Cotton candy, bubblegum, liquor soaked oranges, a pleasing estery nose. Complex for sure, fairly unique in the style.

T: Sugary candied fruit, yeasty and estery. Nice flavour.

M: Cloying sweet at times, medium-bodied, a tad boozy.

D: The beer has its strong points, it started out good, but overall it's fairly average.

Jan 24, 2011
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charlzm from California

3.37/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Consumed November 9th, 2011 at Boho in Hollywood, CA.

Beer is a mildly hazy orange/yellow with minimal white head. Decent lacing, however.

Herbal, minty aromas mingle with anise and a trace of floral, powdery yeast.

Flavor follows nose for the most part, with a sweet, almost syrupy honey-like flavor up front followed by some... coriander? Finish is moderately bitter with anise flavor coming out at the tail end. Pronounced alcohol flavor. Didn't really pick up any malt flavor.

Mouthfeel is thick, closing in on syrupy.

Nice to change up things once in a while, but not a go-to beer for me.

Nov 10, 2011
Photo of ehammond1

1.77/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Clear and deep orange. Thin white head. Some lacing, though looks a little lifeless and under-carbonated.

Smell is both strong and bad. I can't help but think of "melted medicine." It seems floral, in a bad way, minty, in a bad way, a bit sour, in a bad way...sorry to say...

...and the taste is even worse than the aroma. More melted medicine, some stinging spearmint, a chemically combination, along with alcohol--makes for quite the unappealing mess.

Medium to thick, perhaps syrupy, though it's tough to concentrate on the beer's mouthfeel when it tastes like this. Seems a bit under-carbed though, truthfully.

A miss. Avoid.

Jul 18, 2011
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GRG1313 from California

1.81/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Tasted on tap at Boneyard Bistro 2/8/11. Rori, the bartender and all around "beer guy" tells me that this is a "re-make" of a beer from about 2006.

Big question for me? WHY? I'm told that it's brewed with mint. No Kidding!

Pours a clear amber with a nice white head.

Nose is all spearmint and more spearmint. There is some underlying sweet toast and cooked lemon and hints of a decent ale, but overpowering nose is spearmint.

Mouthfeel is rich and bold and seemingly well balanced if you can get over the thick sweet spearmint taste.

Flavors are all spearmint; sweet spearmint. In other words, this tastes like you've just rinsed your mouth out with spearmint Scope and tasted a beer. Or, it's as if you took what appears to be the makings of a decent ale and filled it 1/3 full of spearmint mouthwash.

Am I clear on this one yet? Yep, finish is also pretty much overpowering mint. Some may like it; I like weird beer - not this one. Can't drink it.

Feb 09, 2011
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John11486 from California

4/5  rDev +40.4%

Feb 17, 2012
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moonknight31 from California

2.75/5  rDev -3.5%

Sep 23, 2013
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wattershed from California

4/5  rDev +40.4%

Nov 16, 2011
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UCLABrewN84 from California

1.64/5  rDev -42.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

On tap at Blue Palms Brewhouse in Los Angeles, CA as part of their Jingle Bell Jubilee.

Pours clear light orange with a 1/2 inch off-white head that fades to nothing. No lace whatsoever. Smell is of sickly sweet fruit and mint mouthwash. Taste is very much the same and somewhat stomach turning. Like eating fruit and then just taking a swig of mouthwash. There is a minty burn after each sip too just like mouthwash. This beer has a low level of carbonation with an almost flat mouthfeel that doesn't help the flavor whatsoever. Overall, this is a pretty heinous beer. I am not too sure why the brewer thought mint and fruit would be a good combo to put in a beer.

Dec 11, 2011
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hawkmage from California

2/5  rDev -29.8%

Dec 31, 2011
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ste5venla from California

3.75/5  rDev +31.6%

Aug 17, 2012
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MrHirschybar from California

1.5/5  rDev -47.4%

Dec 30, 2011
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femmebiere from California

2.06/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I was impressed by the description on the menu regarding this brew, so I decided to give it a shot. The appearance was appealing with a nice rich golden red. It smelled very sweet, and that set me off a bit. The taste reminded me of cough syrup and rum. The more I had of it, the drinkability increased. However, it definitely wasn't a favorite of mine.

Feb 27, 2011
Aurora Borealis from Craftsman Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 15 ratings