Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

It is Christmas Day, and here at Beer Sagas we would like to wish all readers of this blog a very Merry Christmas.

With Christmas there are also the traditional Christmas beers. Here in Norway the strongest beers are sold at the state owned liquor outlet, Vinmonopolet. There are also beers that are available in supermarkets and shops, but these beers have less than 4.7% alcohol. I have written about some of this year's weaker Christmas beers in this post.

Most Norwegian breweries make Christmas beers, and the beers from the largest breweries are usually available in 0.33 litre bottles. I have tried some of them, and my favourite among the Norwegian Christmas beers from the macros is Aass brewery's Premium Juleøl. This is a fullbodied, sweet delight with fruity aromas both in the nose and in the mouth. A great beer at 9% alcohol that made me think of the supreme X33 beer I tried at U Medvidku in Prague earlier this year.

The craft breweries also have their offerings available at Vinmonopolet. I have seen both Nissefar and Nissemor from Haandbryggeriet, and my bottle of Nissefar is waiting for consumption. Nøgne Ø has had several beers for sale this Christmas. The traditional Christmas beers God Jul and Underlig Jul have been supplemented by the Special Holiday Ale, which is a collaboration between Nøgne Ø and two American breweries. I have had two bottles of this beer in November, and it was a truly good beer.

Unfortunately I never made any tasting notes, and since late November this excellent beer has not been available in any of the Vinmonopolet outlets I have visited. Some outlets are also out of Underlig Jul and God Jul. I have tried a bottle of Underlig Jul. It was quite enjoyable, but it was not as good as Special Holiday Ale.

And what are my opinions on God Jul then? Well, it is also a good beer, but when I drank it head to head with Special Holiday Ale it fell through. That says a lot about Special Holiday Ale, as God Jul is an excellent beer as well. In the glass Nøgne Ø's God Jul is a very dark fullbodied beer with no carbonation. The head is offwhite and small. The beer has a sweet nose. There is some caramel and hints of coffee. In the mouth there is some cloves. The aftertaste makes the hops kick in, and it is somewhat bitter but also some sweetness. I really like this beer, but it is a beer to be enjoyed in small sips with its 8.5% alcohol.

Ægir brewery of Flåm is also supposed to be available at Vinmonopolet. I have not found it so far in bottles, but the Kontoret pub in Bergen sells it on tap right now together with among others Old Speckeled Hen. Ægir Juleøl has a cloudy amber colour in the glass. There is a large head, but there is very little carbonation. The beer feels balanced with some sweetness and bitterness in the aftertaste. It is a good beer, and in the mouth it also has hints of honey. I would not consider this a Christmas beer, but it is labelled as one. The price? 106 NOK at Kontoret, which is about 12 EUR or 12 GBP.

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