Sunday, October 30, 2011

First Christmas beer and three more

Christmas Day is less than two months away. As usual shops and supermarkets have started selling Christmas goods, and here and there you will even find Christmas decorations. This week I also found the first Norwegian juleøl (Christmas beers), and next week the stronger juleøl beers are to be found at the state owned Vinmonopolet outlets.

This year's first Norwegian Christmas beer for me was from Grans. Grans uses the Lade Gaards Brygghus label to promote beers that are supposed to be craft brewed. The Lade Gaards Brygghus bottles are among the prettier ones in Norway, and I really like the retro look. I have not been quite satisfied with the beers from Lade Gaards Brygghus, so I was not expecting much from the Juleøl.

In the glass the Lade Gaards Brygghus Juleøl had a dark, coppery colour. There was some carbonation and a large head. In the nose I felt some toffee, while the beer had a taste of caramel and some malts before a watery finish. This Juleøl was a decent, average beer that I probably will try again before Christmas.

Chang lager is a new beer in Norwegian supermarkets this Autumn. This pale lager from Thailand is a fizzy beer. In the glass it built a medium sized head, and I felt a malty aroma. The beer had a sweet, malty taste and felt a bit watery. In all Chang is a boring lager that needs a hoppy bite to become somewhat interesting. The way this beer is right now, it has no appeal to me at all.

Ravnsborg Rød is an amber ale from the Denmark based brewery Nørrebro Bryghus. This is a copper coloured beer with some carbonation and a medium sized head. In the nose I felt chewing gum and banana and got a suspicious feeling that it was a wheat beer I was having. In the nose I felt a tutti frutti taste combined with bread and banana that gave me more wheat beer connotations. The finish was watery and not exciting at all. Ravnsborg Rød is just another average beer, and I would rather buy a Paulaner weizen than this to have a wheat beer kick.

The Goose Island brewery from the United States makes a fine India Pale Ale. Honker's Ale is another beer from the brewery, and the label calls it an English style bitter. This is a copper coloured beer with some carbonation and a medium sized head. In the nose there is some grapefruit. The beer is a disappointment compared to the aroma. There is not much taste in Honker's Ale. I feel some grapefruit before a partly bitter finish with a touch of grapes. The beer is another average beer, but I had much more expectations for this beer that what it could deliver.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A porter and a stout

I found two dark beers that looked interesting the other day. One was a porter from Harviestoun brewery, while the other was a stout from the Norwegian Lervig brewery in Stavanger.

Harveistoun's porter is called Old Engine Oil. It is a black beer with a lot of carbonation at once, but then the beer calms down. It has a medium sized head, and in the nose I feel burnt, dark chocolate. The chocolate is still there in the mouth with traces of burntness. There is also some sweetness before the bittersweet finish mentioned on the label. This was a fine porter that I enjoyed.

Konrad's stout from Lervig is brewed with oatmeal. It is a strong beer with 10.4% alcohol. The beer is black with some carbonation. In the nose I feel cold coffee and leather. The beer is full bodied, and it tastes of coffee with a tiny touch of tobacco. The finish has coffee and a touch of vodka. This an even nicer beer, but one bottle was more than enough. Perhaps Konrad's stout is a beer for sharing?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Kollaborator and more

During the lasts weeks I have been to Kontoret in Bergen twice. On my first visit I had Ægir Harvest Ale from tap. The beer was very cold, and due to this it felt not as tasty as from bottle.

Harvest Ale was a coppery beer with some carbonation and a medium sized head. There was fruit in the nose. In the mouth I felt fruit cocktail and malts before a finish with some toffee and grains. It is a fine beer, but I prefer it served at a higher temperature.

At my visit last week the Kollaborator beers were available. These are Doppelbock beers brewed from the same recipe by Ægir and Nøgne Ø respectively. I had a large glass of Ægir's version and a taster sample of Nøgne Ø's version. The two dark beers looked more or less the same, and I felt it was difficult to distinguish the two beers' noses. There was some chocolate in both.

I liked the Ægir version of Kollaborator the best. In the mouth there was chocolate and a lot of sweetness before a partly bitter finish with a touch of nuts. The Nøgne Ø version was not so assertive in taste. It was less sweet as well, but there was some plums in the finish I did not pick up in the Ægir beer.

Kollaborator is a fine example of cooperation brewing. I know there are more brewing projects like this coming up from several Norwegian breweries, and I hope they will be interesting.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Boat beer

During my stay in Bergen, I went back to Hanne på Høyden. The cozy restaurant can also be called a brewpub, as beers are being brewed on the premises. At the moment there are four beers available at Hanne på Høyden: A wheat beer, a brown ale, an IPA and a stout. All beers are brewed in cooperation with Kristiania Haandbryggerlaug in Oslo.

I tried the wit during my last stay, so this time around I chose the IPA. The Hanne på Høyden beers are served in 0.33 litre bottles with labels printed out on an inkjet printer. That is a charming touch, but I still prefer drinking draught beer on pub and restaurant visits.

The IPA is called Lehmkuhls last and has its name from Bergen's sailship, Statsraad Lehmkuhl. In the glass the Lehmkuhls last IPA had a copper colour. It was cloudy with some carbonation and a large head. In the nose I felt citrus scents dominated by grapefruit and some spices. The beer tasted bitter, but far from the fruity touch I felt in the nose. Actually, I found the taste rather boring. The finish had grapefruit and apricot. In all, Lehmkuhls last is an average IPA. There are better IPAs out there from Norwegian breweries, and the price tag of 119 NOK for 0.33 litre of beer is much too high. But still I am looking forward to trying more beers from Hanne på Høyden.