#340 Haandbryggeriet – Fyr og Flamme

Name: Fyr of Flamme
Brewery: Haandbryggeriet
Style: Smoked IPA
Source: SOBA Winter Ale Fest

You know, sometimes I suspect Norway is just taking the piss. First the unpronounceable Nøgne ø, and now they deal us Haandbryggeriet. Do they create words over there simply by letting cats walk across keyboards?*

Me and Dad got a glass of this from the Hashigo Zake stand at the SOBA Winter Ale Festival last weekend, and we both were enchanted by it. The aroma was incredible – I got lychee, marmalade and lemon sago with treacle, and in the mouth tropical fruit with a piney bitter finish. It was creamy and well-balanced, punchy and fresh. I wouldn’t call it perfect – the finish was a little thin and short – but the flavours really made it stand out.

The reason I’m writing about it instead of one of the other great beers I tried is not because it was the best, but because it taught me an important lesson: I don’t think I want to be a beer expert.

In my excitement over the Fyr og Flamme I made Luke from Epic have sip, and he immediately screwed up is face in disgust. “It’s ridden with faults” he said (I can’t remember which), “you go ahead and enjoy it but I can’t.”

This is something I’ve encountered a few times. I think something has a nice butterscotch taste, a beer expert is horrified at the diacetyl. I like those green apple notes… all the expert can taste is acetaldehyde. I used to want to do a fault tasting session so that I could learn to pick up these things – but actually I’m not so sure. Ignorance is bliss, as they say, or in Norway –  uvitenhet er lykke.

*And those are just the brewery names – what about gems like kjærlighetsaffære (affair), or the incredible menneskerettighetsorganisasjonene (the human rights organization)? Imagine the spit that must fly during arguments! 

Published in: on July 22, 2012 at 4:51 pm  Comments (1)  

#263 Nøgne Ø – Saison

Name: Saison
Brewery: Nøgne Ø (Grimstad, Norway)
Style: Saison
ABV: 6.5%
Source: Galbraith’s Alehouse

Oh, fuckadoodledoo.

I just wrote a 5-6 paragraph post on this beer, which included multiple pictures and divulged secrets, amusing jokes (I thought) about Norwegians and flowery descriptions of the beer, only to have it all disappear on me during the final proof-read.

Well, sod it. I’m not doing it again. Instead I will just tell you that I loved the beer (classic saison done right – yeasty, lemony aromas, sweet in the mouth and then spicy and dry), and that I drank it to counter-balance a slightly gloomy evening.

Instead of actually describing said gloom again, I will just post this photo of my flatmates (and the beer, see?) and let you make up your minds on what the sad faces were about. Go ahead – be creative!

The Last Supper

Published in: on May 9, 2012 at 11:04 pm  Comments (2)  

#213 Garage Project/Nøgne ø – Cøllab: Summer/Sommer

Garage Project and Nogne O sommer Name: Cøllab: Summer/Sommer
Brewery: Garage Project (Wgtn) and Nøgne ø (Norway)
Style: Golden Rye Ale
ABV: 7.6%
Source: Kate Jordan

Now this is an exciting one. A collaboration between a Wellington micro-brewery whose beer I can barely ever get my hands on, and an exotic Norwegian brewery whose name I can barely pronounce.

Garage Project sent this bottle up to Pursuit of Hoppiness editor and fellow lady beer blogger Kate Jordan, and she was kind enough to share her present with me.

Looking back at my notes I see the first thing I wrote was “Pineapple Martin’s pants”, which refers to the fact that fellow beer person Martin had told Kate that Kohatu hops, which this was brewed with, reminded him of a pineapple that had been down his pants for some time.

Yes. Well. While I couldn’t possibly comment on that particular comparison, we did agree that this had a pineappley taste, and perhaps something a little pantsy if you thought hard about it. (But don’t think about it, because that sounds a bit gross and this beer is actually really nice.)

It was definitely summery/sommery – with a bright, fruity and floral perfume and sweetness from the pohutukawa honey. It was somehow soft and gentle in the mouth, but finished with a crisp and lasting bitterness. We definiteley wished we had more than one bottle.

There was no more (and probably won’t be any more unless you’re one of the lucky sods that lives in Wellington and can visit Hashigo Zake), so the next best thing was a Pride of Warminster (we were at Galbraith’s). While I couldn’t have that as my beer of the day, I want to give it an honerable mention because it is really good and sadly – now all gone.

And although not a beer per se, or even at all, I can’t finish the post without mentioning the Townshend cider that’s pouring at Galbraith’s right now. There is a lot of cider for sale on the shelves these days – clear, pale, sweet and fizzy – and I honestly think all of it is shit. But you know what’s not shit? Townsend’s cider! It’s hazy and tart and dry and it actually tastes like real apples. Go and try it!

Published in: on March 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm  Comments (4)  

#109 Nøgne Ø – India Pale Ale

Nogne O IPAName: India Pale Ale
Brewery:  Nøgne Ø (Grimstad, Norway)
Style: IPA
ABV: 7.5%
Source: Galbraith’s  Alehouse (Auckland)

You might think, given that my last post was about the Nøgne Ø tasting session, that I just cheaped out and used two beers from the same day for two posts. But it’s not so! I just went back to Galbraith’s yesterday and had another one, because I liked them that much. (Also, because I was going  to a concert at the Powerstation across the road).

Anyway. I already wrote a little about Nøgne Ø(and how to pronounce it) in the last post so I’ll just cut straight to the chase. The IPA, which is on tap at Galbraith’s RIGHT NOW) had an intense aroma of fruity and piney hops, and was crisp and spicy in the mouth. It was really bitter but balanced with a toffee malt sweetness, and had a lip-smackingly refreshing dry finish.

The only problem with this beer was that it was kinda pricey (I think it was $12.50 for a tulip on tap) – which isn’t surprising give that the keg has come all the way from Norway. Even so, as someone who’s not exactly rolling in Rutherfords, I’d probably go for a more affordable (and perfectly respectable) New Zealand equivalent next time.

Righty-ho. Time to sleep – drink today’s beer – watch election results – moan – drink more beer, etc etc. I promise the next post will be better, and it will be about the newly crowned (as in, about an hour ago) Champion Brewer of the National Homebrewing Competition. Ooh err!

Published in: on November 26, 2011 at 4:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

#108 Nøgne Ø – Imperial Stout

Nogne O Imperial StoutName: Imperial Stout
Brewery: Nøgne Ø (Grimstad, Norway)
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 9%
Source: Galbraith’s Alehouse (Auckland)

Say it with me now: Nurg-nuh er. Nuuuuuuuurg-nuh errrr.

While it sounds as if I am trying to expel mucus from somewhere deep in my throat – what I’m actually trying to do is pronounce Nøgne Ø – the Norwegian brewery name that literally translates to mean “Naked Island.”

If you live in Auckland (and other places too, I expect), you will need to learn to say nurg-nuh-er. This is because there are Nøgne Ø beers currently for sale at Galbraith’s (you can even try the IPA on tap, if you’re quick), and believe me you don’t want to miss out simply because you’re too shy to get guttural.

I had this Imperial Stout at Galbraith’s on Thursday, as part of a tasting session with Nøgne Ø’s brewer – Kjetil Jikiun. Kjetil had flown over all the way from Norway (his ‘day job’ is flying planes, FYI) and Dominic from Hashigo Zake was taking him on a beer tour of NZ.

We tried around seven of Kjetil’s wonderful beers (maybe more, maybe less – things got a little hazy tbh), starting with a crisp, Belgiany Saison and climbing ever higher toward the big black beast that I’ve named this post after. For each one I took a photo thinking this would be my beer of the day, and then changing my mind when I tried the next one.

While we drank each beer Kjetil gave us a little run-down of how the beer came about and what they were trying to achieve etc etc, which looked a bit like this:


Now, on to this Imperial Stout.

As I said it was about the seventh beer we’d had so my memory is p r e t t y rubbish, but I do know that it tasted like Christmas and Easter and my birthday all at once. It was rich and boozy and perfectly bittersweet, and slipped down my throat like chocolate milk. I think there were flavours of dark chocolate fudge, raisins, a hint of espresso and sharp fruity hops… along with sugar and spice and all things nice. Obviously I’m trying to describe the indescribable… So just get to Galbraith’s and try it for yourself.

And remember: Nuuuuuuuurg-nuh errrr!

Published in: on November 26, 2011 at 1:12 pm  Leave a Comment