Saturday, February 13, 2010

New year's beers

1 February is an important day in Norwegian supermarkets. The shelves are restocked, and new additions are placed in the shops. This also happens in the beer shelves, and some new beers make their way into the various supermarkets.

I entered two supermarkets I usually do not frequent last week, and among the new beers I could find Kronenbourg 1664, Birra Morretti and Jacobsen's Saaz Blonde. The first ones are beers I have already tried out. I was in France last year and tried both the ordinary Kronenbourg and 1664. The French 1664 was stronger in alcohol than the one I found in Norway. I believe the French version was 5.2% alcohol, while the one I found in Norway had 4.5% alcohol.

1664 is a pale lager with little carbonation. It is sold in 0.25 litre bottles, and as far as I know it is the only beer sold in Norway in such bottles. The price is high. It costs 20 NOK, which is slightly more than 2 GBP or 2 EUR.

In the nose there is little aroma, but there are some hints of flowers. In the mouth 1664 feels a little watery. It is thinbodied but has some malts. In the aftertaste there are some grains. This is a boring lager that lacks some of the alcohol punch found in the version I had in France. This will not be a frequent visitor to my fridge.

Birra Morretti was my favourite when I tried some Italian pale lagers last year. Also this beer offers very little aroma, but there are some malts in the nose. In the glass there is a lot of carbonation but it builds only a small head.

The beer is medium bodied with a lot of malts in it. The aftertaste is watery with a hint of hoppy bitterness. Birra Morretti is another beer that I will not seek out actively. The price at a Rema 1000 supermarket was 26 NOK for a 0.33 litre bottle.

Last out is Jacobsen's Saaz Blonde, which costs 29 NOK at a Coop supermarket. This is brewed by Carlsberg on their Jacobsens craft brewery and is a blonde in the Belgian style. The beer is golden in colour with a lot of carbonation and a small head. The nose is aromatic with some yeast and hints of hops and fruit.

In the mouth there is more fruitiness with hints of grapefruit before the hops take over in the aftertaste. This is a great beer, and one I hope still is available in shops when Summer comes. Carlsberg knows how to make a good blonde!

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