11 August 2007

By haand

The second Norwegian craft brewery makes its beers by hand. With the traditional Norwegian sense of irony, it's called "HaandBryggeriet". Once again I'll do this according to the colour chart, starting with the dark end. The 6% Porter is a tad lighter than Nøgne Ø's, but with added smokiness. Their London Porter is only 4.5% but tastes much bigger -- rich and sweet on the nose but satisfyingly dry on tasting. Here, London: you might want to slap a Protected Geographical Indication on this one. Both beers are superior to HaandBryggeriet Weizenbock, a black beer which suffers a bit from over-gassiness and is very sharp and bitter.

Naturally, HaandBryggeriet make an IPA. This is more in the English style than American: as malty as it is hoppy, sweetish and quite pleasantly easy-going despite the thick sediment which makes this an opaque orange beer. The Bavarian Weizen is also orange, and carries the banana notes one would expect from the name. However, there's also a lemony twist to this one which steers it closer to Belgium. Lastly, and also orange, is Ardenne Blond. This is probably the gassiest commercial beer I've ever tasted and the bottle I ordered exploded over the bar on opening. Given that I was paying about €12.70 a bottle I was very glad to have it replaced gratis. After a slow and careful uncapping I found this to be a fascinating beer: sour and peppery with mediciney characteristics. I have no idea what beers come from the Ardennes and taste like this (edit: oh, it's probably La Chouffe, isn't it?), but I'd love to find out.

My last Norwegian post concerns the brewpubs.

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