Beer Review 0406: No-Li Silent Treatment Pale Ale
No-Li Brewhouse recently began distribution here in North Carolina, so let’s dig into some of their beers and see what’s up with this brewery from Spokane, Washington.
Founded in 1993 by Mark Irvin, No-Li began life as the Northern Lights Brewing Company. Irvin fell in love with beer in the 1980’s while in Germany, living with his military family abroad. He brewed beer for Coeur d’Alene Brewing and Hale’s Ales before starting his own company.
For the first eight years, Northern Lights produced primarily draft beer and self-distributed kegs to local restaurants. In 2002, the brewery moved on the Spokane River and opened a brewpub.
Enter the second player in this story: In 2012, John Bryant, a veteran brewer who previously worked at Deschutes, Odell, and Oskar Blues breweries (quite a reputation there!) had a glass of Northern Lights beer and wanted to work with Mr. Irvin. About the same time these two hooked up, there was a trademark dispute with the name “Northern Lights.” East coast brewery Starr Hill had been using the name on an IPA for many years — in an attempt to settle the issue, Irvin and Bryant contacted Starr Hill, but never received a response. They changed the name of the brewery to a shortened form of Northern Lights, “No-Li,” and named their Pale Ale ‘Silent Treatment’ as a wry nod to the cold shoulder given to them by Starr Hill.
Silent Treatment is an American-style Pale Ale brewed with Cluster and Cascade hops grown in the Yakima Valley; the malts are 2-Row Pale and Crystal, and were grown in British Columbia. This 5.75% ABV (alcohol by volume) and 50 IBU (International Bitterness Units) beer is truly a local effort.
Silent Treatment pours a large, soapy head that was built to last atop a golden-orange beer that had a moderately hazy body. Some of this might have been due to chill haze, but there was a bit of genuine cloud going on in the body. There were no particles or sediment in suspension, and the lacing was excellent, almost leaving solid sheets of suds.
The nose presented a classic and balanced Pale Ale: pine and grapefruit hops, cut by sweet caramel and biscuit malt. There were minor notes of lemon, lime, and sweet bread. This beer smelled very fresh and inviting; not intimidating (or more like an IPA) like some ultra-hoppy Pale Ale can be. As it warmed, a doughy yeast rounded things out.
The taste is a little out of balance when compared to the nose; there’s an initial malt sweetness that is dominant, giving off bready sweet caramel. Those hops finally show up in the middle of the mouth, issuing up pine and candied hops, with a very slight astringent grapefruit juice. The finish is lightly bitter and very clean, giving off residual grapefruit, pine, and caramel malt. I found the brew to be light-bodied, with a thin, foamy mouthfeel.
Appearance and aroma-wise, this beer kills it, but the taste is a little disappointing. I was expecting more hops than what I got — in my opinion, this one falls more to the malt end of the spectrum rather than being perfectly balanced or teetering to the hop side a bit. Still, this is a solid brew that is not only refreshing, but extremely drinkable and makes me wonder what else this brewery has to offer. I’ll not give them the Silent Treatment! No lie! (Sorry, had to do that.)
No-Li Silent Treatment Pale Ale, 87 points. Price: $6.99 US for one 22 oz. bomber size bottle.