February 19, 2010

Nøgne #100

This, my friends, is one delicious beer...

Batch 100 started out as a celebratory brew for the brewers at the Norwegian brewery Nøgne, but word leaked and pretty soon there was enough demand that they started producing it commercially.

It pours a deep, rusty brown with a thin off-white head. It has a sweet and slightly earthy aroma, with some subtle chocolate and nutty notes. With 80 IBU's, it's bitter, and while you can taste the hops, they're more restrained and don't have the bite of an IPA. There is a great combination of flavors in here - some vanilla, dark fruit, coffee... but the most interesting, and hence my favorites, are grapefruit and gingerbread. As soon as I caught the gingerbread, I had to run to the kitchen to grab one of Robin's homemade molten chocolate gingerbread cookies that I was lucky enough to have not finished. Man, that was a tasty combo. The finish is dry but not too much, and although it's 10% ABV, the alcohol is extremely well hidden.

One might think I'm not picky when it comes to beer, but that's just because I don't usually post the beers I don't like (such as Equinoxe du Printemps). I want whoever reads what I think to get excited about trying something new, not discouraged. I do enjoy almost every beer I try, and Nøgne #100 is one that I really, REALLY enjoyed, and plan to again.

February 10, 2010

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12

From Harviestoun Brewery in Scotland, Ola Dubh literally translates to "Black Oil". It is aged in whiskey casks from Highland Park Distillery used to age their 12-year whiskey, and comes in individually numbered bottles (mine was #13122 from September 2007). There are also Special Reserve 16 and 30 varieties, aged in the barrels used for the corresponding whiskey. The 12 pours pitch black (as I'm sure they all do), with some patches of carbonation but not a full head. The aroma is of rich, dark roasted malts, with some sweetness and hint of fruit. Smooth and viscous in texture, with a light/medium body. It's not as heavy as one would expect. There are a lot of flavors going on, all of which increase as the beer warms, but they never overpower. It's very well balanced... coffee, chocolate, a little vanilla, salty nuts, plus the peat and smoke imparted from the whiskey casks. The finish is incredibly clean and dry, with only a little bitterness. I enjoyed drinking the beer, but finished it pretty quickly. It didn't do a whole lot for me, but was worth a try.

By the way, the answers are yes... the floor is crooked, and that is snow coming in the porch door.

February 9, 2010

Stocked up

It's been a very snowy winter here in Annapolis... a couple feet here, a dusting there, another however many inches, another dusting, and just when we thought it couldn't get any worse, we get hit with enough snow to cripple us for 4 days (26 and a half inches) but not enough to qualify for federal aid. Apparently you need 28 inches for that. Maybe we should have had an earthquake instead... (too soon?) Tonight, we're supposed to get another "10-20 inches of accumulation, depending on where you're located." That means we'll probably get the full 20, and this stuff isn't just accumulating, it's piling up, and we're running out of places to put it.

Lucky for me, I'm all stocked up.
Front row, left to right: North Coast Brother Thelonious, Maredsous "8" (Brune), Flying Dog Raging Bitch, Aktienbrauerei Steingadener Dunkle Weizen, Saison Dupont
Back row, left to right: Nøgne #100, National Bohemian, Harviestoun Ola Dubh 12, Guinness Extra Stout, Unibroue Trois Pistoles

February 6, 2010

Brother Thelonious

This is a Belgian-style Abbey ale from North Coast Brewing Co. As always, part of what attracts me to certain beers is the packaging. I had heard and read about Brother Thelonious before and the beautiful artwork is easily recognizable at a store. Upon popping the top, there is an immediate sweet, sugary aroma, with cherries and a hint of brown sugar. It pours a rich, deep brown with a little red in it, and a soft tan head. There are notes of honey, vanilla, and notably cherry in the finish. It almost has a taste like Cherry Coke, but obviously way more delicious and complex, and without the prickly carbonation. There is also a bit of spice, and a slightly salty, nutty finish. At 9% ABV, it's a little strong, but pleasantly warming. The sweetness becomes a little cloying as the beer warms up, but overall this is a very good beer and a great take on the style.

February 2, 2010

Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast

Here's an absolutely delicious and complex beer. It really is perfect for breakfast, or because of the light tobacco flavor, a great alternative to a cigar and cognac, or paired with dark chocolate for dessert.

Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast is brewed in Denmark. It is an oatmeal stout brewed with coffee. At 7.5% ABV, it's not super-duper strong, but I did share my bottle with Robin and Dong.

It pours black with a tan head, tons of tiny bubbles. Aromas of chocolate, coffee, cigar tobacco, and tastes of bitter dark chocolate, dark dried fruit (prune, raisin), light hoppiness, and a little smokiness too. Smooth, viscous body, but light and somewhat creamy. Bittersweet, earthy finish. I've also had the Mikkeller All Others Pale and Stateside IPA, which are a little more traditional, but equally as delicious as Beer Geek Breakfast. All of Mikkeller's brews are superb!