I saw the word LAVA and in the milliseconds that passed before I read the second line, my mind said, "Wouldn't it be cool if this beer were brewed in Iceland? I've never seen a beer from there." I smiled to myself when I read the second line, Product of Iceland. Then I got even more excited when I saw the style - smoked imperial stout.
Located in the fertile lands of south west Iceland, Ölvisholt Brugghús was founded in 2007 by two neighboring farmers with a passion for craft beer. LAVA is an immensely enjoyable beer. Surprisingly, the initial aroma isn't what the style would indicate, but instead is more dark fruit and a hint of red wine. It sort of reminded me of a dark Belgian quad. The flavor delivers the things you would normally expect; bitter dark chocolate, black coffee, roasted nuts and dark malt. The smoke is not overbearing, really more a part of the aftertaste. And thankfully it's not that meaty sort of smokiness that ruins many brewers' attempts at smoked beers. LAVA comes full circle, as that little bit of smoke gives way to rich, sweet, pipe tobacco. The beer is also incredibly smooth and hides its 9.4% ABV very well.
The beer's name is inspired by the active volcano Hekla, from which occasional eruptions can be seen from the brewhouse door on Ölvisholt farm.