Posts Tagged ‘Nøgne ø’

While January is a tough month in many ways, the Norwegian Vinmonopolet makes the days a little brighter for beer lovers.

25 new beers are in the list of beverages on sale this Saturday. Some of them are being relaunched, some are pale lagers, but the overall quality of this is very impressive.

Belgian Geuze, Italian micros, new beers from Haandbryggeriet and Nøgne ø, Rip Tide and Punk IPA from BrewDog at reasonable prices (for Norway, that is!) as well as decent stuff from England and the US.

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The BrewDog guys have been messing up the beer scene again – this time not even on their own turf. They sent a few used whisky barrels across the North Sea to their colleagues in Grimstad, Norway. And it looks like they inspired them to be a bit bold and boasting on their label, too.

The beers used for the first batches of beer from the wood from Nøgne Ø were the Imperial Stout and their Christmas beer God Jul.

God jul is a rich, dark beer at 8.5% alcohol. Coffee, raisins, vanilla, a dry, almost oaky finish. Well balanced, a dark beer for cold evenings.

The God Jul Islay edition is just as black, but with less carbonation. A warning on the label says that this is not for kids:

Please be aware that this is not a subtle beer. If you are unable to appreciate Islay Scotch whiskey (that’s their spelling,, not mine!),  then this beer is certainly not for you. 3 months of aging in fresh Islay whiskey barrels did this. Certainly great for whiskey lovers, not necessarily so for those in search of moderation and balance. We love it though.

There is a strong whisky aroma, lots of peat and smoke. Quite similar to the BrewDog Smokehead or the new Mikkeller whisky aged Beer Geek Brunch. And that’s just the nose.

The peaty character is very strong. Some sour smoke too. Almost overwhelming, but not quite. The smoke plays with the beer base, like a layer of paint where the wood is shining through in places and you can feel its structure. It is true that this is not subtle – the finer aspects of the flavour are run over.

A new personal favourite? Hardly. But a very welcome addition to the Nøgne Ø range. It will be very interesting to follow this concept in the years to come, as far as I know there will be new barrels next year. I’ll keep a few bottles to compare. Or, at least, that is my intention.

For some lucky readers there might be a few drops to had at the Pig’s Ear festival in two weeks.

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As I’ve mentioned before, the good people at Nøgne Ø have been busy this year, lining up seasonal goodies for their fans at home and abroad.

One beer is a collaboration project between Nøgne Ø, Stone and Jolly Pumpkin, I assume they are the three camel riding kings on the label.

The idea behind this beer is to use the same recipe three years in a row, brewing the beers at one brewery in turn. Stone released their beer last year, it’s even ben on tap here in Oslo, though I missed it.  I assume the Jolly Pumpkin version will be ready for Christmas next year, barrel aged if I remember correctly.

Brewed with ingredients from the area around the breweries, including sage, chestnuts and juniper berries.

The result is a delicate Belgian style ale with a solid malty body and a complex palate. The sage is perhaps dominating, but you have the juniper berries clearly present in the finish. Layer upon layer of goodness here. Lots of fruit, oranges and clementines, sweet with a little bitter edge – more from the juniper than the hops, perhaps.  Some caramel, burned sugar, cocoa, the nuances are endless.

Pours a hazy brown with a milk chocolate head.

Anything negative? I could do without the yeast sediment in beers like this. They don’t have to filter it, but I question the routine of adding yeast to every bottle regardless of the beer in question.

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kassalapp polet

When news got out that Nøgne ø had received some whisky casks from their Scottish friends at BrewDog, the expectations were high in the Norwegian beer community.

I won’t bore you with details about the Norwegian state monopoly for alcohol once more, but there is a kind of loophole. If you know that there is a beer available at a registered brewery, you can make a special order. In practice, this means you have to order a minimum of a 12 bottle box, but there is a possibility of ordering a mixed box as well if the brewery is willing.

Well, when word got out that Nøgne ø had bottled the whisky cask versions of both their Imperial Stout and their Christmas beers, the special orders started flowing in. There are only 1500 bottles in total of the Imperial Stout, which means that a significant part must have been sold in this manner, leaving little for general distribution in other countries. Read: Pick this up if you can!

I placed an order in the middle of September, but Nøgne ø had not anticipated the demand, so we all had to wait for bottle labels to be printed.

I got a text message last week that my order was ready to be picked up, and yesterday afternoon I arrived to get my five boxes. Well, they were not all for me. Five of us made a joint order, and we threw in some bottles of their new barley wine as well.

With some leftovers from the Christmas beer tasting last Friday, the beer shelves in the basement are filled beyond their limit. Which means I’ll have to try out the newcomers. But I’ll try to wait until Friday.

Thanks to Per Christian for the photo.

Esker på polet

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For my Norwegian readers – the rest of you just have to sit there and salivate. Nøgne ø have released some of their new beers on the Norwegian market.

Not for general sale, mid you, this is Norway after all. No, these are special order, you have to order at least a box (12 bottles) of each, either online at www.vinmonopolet.no or by turning up at your local friendly monopoly store.

The list:

71533 Imperial Stout Highland Edition
71534 God Jul Islay Edition
71535 Nøgne Ø Andhrimnir Barley Wine
71536 Nøgne Ø Tyttebær
71537 Nøgne Ø Imperial Brown Ale

I don’t know the prices, but I’m told the whisky cask beers are about 100 kroner each.

12 bottles of each beer is a bit much, so I have teamed up with some mates and e-mailed them an order.

I would hurry if I were you, I have a feeling these will be going fast!

I think most of the beers will turn up in the US as well, and I would not be surprised if some of the Danish speciality shops will have them.

Speaking of Denmark, I wouldn’t mind some samples of the barrel aged Nørrebro beers, either.

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Litteraturhuset – House of Literature– occupies a prime spot next door to the Royal Palace and its leafy park. Quite a few tables outside for sunny weather, cozy atmosphere inside, too.

The House of Literature opened its doors in Oslo’s former teacher training college in Wergelandsveien 29, in the autumn of 2007, and is a popular venue hosting a broad range of events. Readings, meet the author, seminars, stand up comedy. It seems to be fully booked most days.

Right inside the front door, Cafe Oslo has shared a room with a bookshop which was having a closing down sale when I last visited.

 I’ve heard mixed reports about the food, so you might wish to dine elsewhere. It is, however, a perfect place to stop for a glass of beer on your way into or out of town or just for an idle afternoon. Three bottled beers from Nøgne ø, 2 Westmalle beers and Staropramen are available. The Nøgne ø IPA was great.

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So. Saturday morning. While the rest of the family had a lie-in, I tiptoed downstairs, took my wallet, phone and iPod and locked the door behind me. A carry on suitcase as well, empty except for a printout of the festival booklet and some bubble wrap.

I actually caught the 05.35 train, giving me ample time at the airport. Lots of charter tourists milling around, drinking beer, buying duty free booze and getting called up by name with the message that the gate was closing.

The plane was not quite full, most of the passengers were probably using the SAS network for onward connections.

My drinking buddy David had decided to check in his bag. After half an hour of waiting in the arrival hall, he was allowed to fill in a missing luggage form, and we were off for Central Copenhagen.

The sky was steel gray and the air was chilly, but we were in a very good mood as we walked out of Copenhagen Central Station. We were going to Ølbutikken first, and David was checking in at his hotel around the corner from the shop. I stopped at two supermarkets along the way, buying a few bottles of Italian Brunello wine at a nioce discount at the first, a few beers and some cheese at the next. We still had some time before Ølbutikken opened, so we bought a rater dismal breakfast at a 7-eleven on the corner. The only place open in the neighbourhood was a bar for Greenlanders, where the around the clock drinking atmosphere did not attract us too much.

We were hanging around outside the shop, and several other Norwegians turned up – Ole Richard and  Geir Ove were staying at the same hotel as David. Next were Yngvar and Danish top rater Henrik.

Ølfabrikken is an amazing place. There were about 10 of us in line when they opened, and we filled the place when we entered.Half Norwegians, a few Dutch-speaking. It is quite a contrast to the large beer shops in Rome, this is far more compact.

But packed onto the shelves of the tiny shop are the seven wonders of the world. Dugges from Sweden, Nøgne ø from Norway. The very best of the Danish breweries, meaning Mikkeller, Amager, Hornbeer, Beer Here and Xbeeriment. The top of the de Molen range from Beligum. De Dolle. Westvleteren. And American rare brews.

We all were calcutlating how much we could possibly cram into suitcases and bags. I ended up with a dozen beers. Two Mikkeller beers from their Single Hop series. Amager Rated XX. Two Hornbeer brews, including their Caribbean Rums Stout, which won “Best New Beer of the Year” award by the members of the Danish Beer Enthusiasts. De Molen Lang & Kaal. Lost Abbey Ten Commandments.

This is not a discount store. Sure, There are a few bottles just above the 10 kroner mark, but most fall within the 50-100 kroner range, some are beyond that. But this is not for casual drinking, it caters for the beer geek crowd. Only open for a few hours at the weekend, this is a labour of love by people who really care about this and want to share their finds with others. And for Norwegians, most bottles seem moderately priced anyway, though it is quite a contrast to the 5 kroner discount beers to be found on the next corner…

Would I like like this in Oslo? Of course, I’d love it. But I would not dare to go there more than once a month!

Last year there weres special festival packs of rare Mikkeller beers. Luckily they had not made any this year. Then I would have had to buy another suitcase…

Whats the duty free quota for Norway?

What's the duty free quota for Norway?

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