This is my first outing with Norwegian beer full stop. Nøgne Ø is a microbrewery that seems to have a bit of a reputation for making some very fine beers. I love that drinkstore stocks them but they are shockingly expensive. That said, the good folks at drinkstore said that they have had Norwegians enter the store and be pleasantly surprised that the beer is so cheap. It's far more expensive in Norway it seems. Finally some revenge for the fact that I can buy Irish whiskey in almost any other country, far cheaper than I can in the county it was produced.
Starting off with the Pale Ale. At 6% this is the lowest abv of all the beers. And so begins an ever increasing alcohol level for me to get through. This is your typical American style pale ale, though it's more like an American IPA. The beer is good, well made and is exactly what I would expect from an American influenced pale ale. It is not worth the price though, and considering the beer is even more expensive in it's native Norway, I wonder where you have to go to get it at a reasonable price?
Taking a jump in the abv scale, the IPA is almost the same as the pale ale, except for the 7.5% abv starts to show with a little booziness. Other than that, I think I preferred the pale ale.
An Imperial India Pale Ale next? Why not. This 10% monster makes a mockery of the term pale ale. It's as dark as a porter or dark mild. I'm not getting much of an IIPA vibe off this at all. It's more like a barleywine but no where near is IPA like as Bigfoot for instance. Dark fruit of the forest, port wine and toffee dominate this beer once you get through the booze. Don't get me wrong though, this is a beautiful beer and very nice to drink as a winter warmer. Imperial IPA though? Well it's not like any I have ever had before.
I thought I might be in for something a little different after all these pale ales. I was wrong. #100 as you can probably guess, is/was their 100th brew. It is another Imperial IPA meets barleywine but it was a little more interesting. Rum and raisin chocolate bar, prune juice, toffee and sherbet dominate this one. It's also easier to drink as the booziness is more subdued leaving your tongue to enjoy the flavours instead of being raped by acetone.
Oh for feck sake. Do we really need a porter with an ABV of 7%?? Really?? Toffee, vanilla, brown sugar and a hint of coffee are the main players in this one. A slight acetone finish just ruins it for me. It's a nice beer but 7% is just too strong for a beer that should be sessionable.
The Saison on the other hand I was expecting to be high in alcohol. Surprisingly it was less than the porter at only 6.5%. I think this might have been among my favourites as it was incredibly drinkable and the 6.5% was not much in evidence. A yeasty fruity bouquet in the aroma with a hint of sour candy. I thought it tasted like a cross between a German wheat beer and a saison, but what is a saison really? It could be anything when all is said and done. Banana, yeast, spices (perhaps not clove though), digestive biscuits. A tart sourness complements it nicely. Weirdly though, I thought it had a very oily finish. It was like an oil slick down the back of my throat, or maybe some cough syrup. I don't think that detracted from the overall beer though. I loved it.
An imperial stout, just what I need. This one is 9% and thankfully it does not show it as much as some of the other beers. It pours like bottled oil, perhaps bot as viscous of course but certainly the same colour. Absolute black, the sort of black that you expect dark matter to look like. Perhaps that's why we can't find any in the universe? The Norwegians have bottled it all, either that or drinking this beer will have Nibbler like fecal results. Anyway, enough shiteing on about... well shite. The beer is certainly not that, it's rather lovely actually. A sort of fruity cocoa concoction with a hint of coffee. A little vanilla is hiding in there somewhere as well as a slightly lactic sourness to keep things interesting. I did think it was a lot thinner than I expected, considering the that time and space was being drawn in to the glass. That just made it easier to drink.
And finally comes the Christmas beer. A bit of a bah humbug here I'm afraid. Only in the sense that I could not detect any Christmas spice nor captured Christmas cheer. Of flavour though, there was plenty to keep me interested at any time of the year, though this was perhaps my least favourite of them all. It's a sort of fruity porter style with chocolate, prunes and coffee dominating. A little vanilla and some booziness finish it off. It's nice enough but a little nutmeg or cinnamon might not go amiss. Something to make it more a Chrismas beer and not just another porter.
My experience of Nøgne Ø was mixed then. On the one hand I thought they were all excellently made beers and I would happily drink any of them again. Just so long as someone else was paying of course. The cheapest of them was €6.50 with most being closer to €7. There are a few more available in drinkstore and I'm not sure I will try them. I have already used the word booziness a record number of times in one post so I think I will try some normal earthbound abv beers now.