Posts Tagged ‘Nøgne ø’

New horizons

Nøgne Ø has come a long way. Their beers have won awards around the globe, they try hard to keep up with demand. Their design has matured, too, their rather basic Ø is being used in new and inventive ways.

So, some of their more sophisticated beers are now being sold with more elaborate packaging, and, probably in more appropriate bottles, too. Here are three of them, all clearly related to the first two Dark Horizon beers, which were instant sell outs.

The Sweet Horizon presents itself as a dessert beer. As dessert, not with dessert, perhaps. Pitch black, low carbonation, vinous aroma with some balsamic vinegar. The nose promises cocoa and cherries, too.

I get blown away a bit from the sweetness. There is dry cocoa powder, sure, but there sure is a lot of sugar in this, I’d almost say overwhelming. Then the subtle nuances creep in, and I am seduced. Velvety chocolate. Madeira and marsala wine. Soot, liquorice and coffee. But very sugary coffee, if that is your thing.

The Dark Horizon 3 is very similar – it is essentiality the same beer with an extra bit of fermentation. A bit more chocolate and cocoa, perhaps, but there is a load of sweetness here, too. Not as balanced as the previous versions, the sugar overtakes it all. Should have had more aggressive yeast to eat some of this, IMHO.

The Red Horizon is something quite different. A very complex ber, brewed with sake yeast. Loads of sweetness, spices, slightly salty, yeast.Vermouth-like, hints of vintage port. This would be interesting to try as an aperitif. I think this is a very interesting direction to explore, let’s hope we’ll see more like this.

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Nøgne Ø keeps growing

Norwegian business daily Dagens Næringsliv has a nice spread about Nøgne Ø today. They have a fantastic growth. Last year they produced 280.000 liters, this year over 400.000 liters, a growth of nearly 50 per cent.

They envisage continued growth, if not at the same rate. Head brewer Kjetil Jikiun would prefer 20 per cent.

They don’t reveal much about their future plans. But the last paragraph mentions quality beer in cans, a trend that has started in the US and will eventually reach Norway.

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These are two of the new beers launched over the year from Nøgne Ø – Two Captains and #500. Two Captains is described as a Double IPA, and is brewed to a recipe from a homebrewing competition. A cloudy ruby beer, loads of aromatic hops, like a breeze from the forest. Sweet and dry, pines, eucalyptus. It is strong, full bodied – and very drinkable. A bit too much spearmint toothpaste in the tail to declare pure genius here, but a damn good beer!

#500 is even more intense, an Imperial India Pale Ale, no less. Low carbonation, pines and spruce. Sweet seducing malty body, a bit oily. Sweet and dry, intense, for slow contemplation while you slowly work your way towards the bottom. Nothing easy drinking here, you need to focus and concentrate. Like a beer elixir. Very hoppy, and, I assume, this will mellow into something quite different over time. I can’t wait for #1000!

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Beer drinkers old and young, from across the country, were gathered in Oslo for the first Norwegian cask ale festival. Rare beers from BrewDog, Nøgne Ø, Haandbryggeriet and Ægir were on offer, from the Bamberg-like Røyk uten ild (Smoke without fire) from Haandbryggeriet, via the increadibly smooth and chocolaty Beer Geek Brunch Weasel, BrewDogs’s Dogma (formerly known as Speedball) to the very highlight – Ægir’s new Natt Imperial Porter, both in a velvety bottled version and an edition aged in Jack Daniels barrels.

This was also a great opportunity to talk to the brewers about their beers or simply enjoy the camaraderie of the event. Splendid food at the Saturday evening dinner, too, with about 80 guests if I remember correctly.

So, a toast to Amund and his crew at Håndverkerstuene for taking the chance of hosting this event. This is the proper way to run a beer festival, not a pale lager in sight. The success of this is yet another piece of evidence of the Norwegian beer scene having grown up in just a few years. Let’s hope this will be something to mark off in our calendars every year. And yes, this is worth buying a cheap plane ticket for if you live elsewhere in Europe.

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I had other plans last Saturday. The morning was spent trying to tidy the apartment recently well, as there will be a photographer coming in today. I had planned an overnight trip with my eldest from Saturday to Sunday. But then I suddenly had something else to squeeze in.

I opened my e-mail to see if there was anything urgent, and there was an invite from Amund at Håndverkerstuene. It was their last day before closing for the summer, and they had not one, but two special treats.

Nøgne Ø Pilsener and Nøgne Ø # 500. Both on tap.

So, when I opened the door at about six, the bar stools were filled with friends and acquaintances. Sebastian behind the bar gave me compliments for my Dugges t-shirt and Amund immediately poured a glass of each of the two specials.

Nøgne Ø runs a summer restaurant in a harbour on the Southern coast of Norway, not far from the brewery.  Correction (thanks Erik): They deliver beer to a summer restaurant not far from the brewery. Pils is the tipple most of the customers want, so they decided to brew their own, competing with the also local Arendals Pils. A few kegs are turning up elsewhere, luckily one of them in Oslo.

It has a full malty body, moderate carbonation. Well hopped, but not excessively so. Herbs, grass and flowers. Lots of flavour. Personally I would prefer a cleaner, crisper beer, but this could really appeal to the broader market they are aiming for.

# 500 is an Imperial IPA, no less. Glowing brown. This is raw hop juice, mint, herbs, white pepper. A solid malty body underneath giving a kind of balance. Lovely when it is fresh, I wonder how this will develop if you give ti a few years in the cellar? There is lots of malty sweetness underneath which might come more to the front when the hops mellow a bit.

I had to make my excuses, even if I’d love a second round. Wishing everyone a lovely summer I went back out in sunny Oslo.

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If you are under the impression that I buy a lot of beer, you are seriously mistaken. This guy, however, has done some serious shopping.

I was told an anecdote on one of my visits to Øbutikken about a Swiss customer who got up at 2 in the morning, drove all the way to copenhagen and filled up his care with more or less the whole inventory. His total bill was even higher. But 6780 Danish kroner is real money. Almost 600 Euros.

Thanks to beerticker.dk for the tip.

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The municipal water supplier in Oslo has asked all households to boil their water, as, for reasons unknown to me, they have failed to disinfect the water for a day or so. Luckily I have a few bottles of alternative liquid refreshments in the basement. I mean, there are limits to how much coffee I can drink..

The online edtition of Norwegian daily Dagbladet reminds us that lots of good beer is at half price across the border in Sweden.

Test batches are being brewed at Olympen, Oslo, as they are preparing for their brewpub due to open approximately June.

Japanese micros are on their way to a handful of beer bars in Norway.

Sweet Horizon, Red Horizon and Dark Horizon No 3 are being bottled. The new Sunturnbrew, too. All from Nøgne Ø, of course.

Where is this pub?

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