I think I recognize North Coast now by the smell, maybe I just think I do: something fresh and fruity, even a bit seashore-ish. This is a great take on a dry stout. Dark brown under rich sorta Manila envelope cream rim and foam. In the mouth, soft water with dry roast barley and minty almost eucalyptus hops but also fruitiness - plum and fig. Heck, plum and fig is sorta like prune juice. It's like an old guy's breakfast: burned toast, prune juice and creamy coffee. Maybe some dark chocolate, too...like he nicked some baking chips or something. Very nice. Better than my analogy. 98% BAer approved.
Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.
Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."
Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."