Sunday, January 23, 2011

Christmas beers revisited

When we reached 20 December, most Christmas beers were already sold out in Norwegian shops and the state owned alcohol outlets, Vinmonopolet. Especially the Christmas beers from craft breweries like Nøgne Ø, Haandbryggeriet and Ægir were sold out at Vinmonopolet early in December. If you want to be sure to have those Christmas beers at Christmas this year, it is a good idea buying them in November.

In early January I had three Christmas beers left in my fridge. One of them was Hansa Julebrygg. At 6.5% alcohol, this is the version sold at Vinmonopolet and not in shops. In the glass this was a dark and nearly black beer. It had very little carbonation and hardly a head. In the nose there was some toffee, while it tasted caramel and some cold coffee. It was an average Christmas beer, but it was the best Christmas beer from the Bergen based brewery.

Frydenlund Juleøl was the supermarket version with 4.7% alcohol. In the glass it had an amber colour and very much carbonation. It built a large head in the glass, and the beer had aromas of pears and malts. Tastewise this was a very good beer. In the mouth I felt a combination of apples, caramel and sweetness. Lovely!

From the little Atna brewery hails Atna øl til julemat. This is a beer brewed to be combined with Christmas food. In the glass this was an unclear beer with a brownish colour. There was a little carbonation, but nearly no head. In the nose there was some roastedness with a hint of toffee. The flavours were of caramel and yeast. This was a different Christmas beer, but I felt it was OK except for a watery finish.

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