28 April 2012

Phenolic felicitations

A little bit of off-the-cuff real-time bloggery this Saturday afternoon, the seventh birthday of this here blog. The something special picked from the stash is Nøgne Ø's Holy Smoke, one of those beers designed by a home brewer and picked by the pros for commercial scaling up. Ireland's equivalent  -- Trouble Brewing Spelt Saison -- is currently on cask in The Black Sheep in Dublin. I had a pint yesterday. It's lovely.

But back to Norway. This is a 6% ABV smoked dark lager. It pours thickly, with lazy ivory-coloured bubbles meandering upwards to form a pillowy head and then clinging tightly to the glass as it empties. The body is a dark chocolate brown and the texture is reminiscent of a doppelbock, though it's not quite in the same league strengthwise. The smoke is unmistakable, heading towards that medicinal, TCP, Laphroaig flavour, though it doesn't overpower. Unbelievably there's still a clean-tasting crisp lager underneath.

And perhaps that's its downfall: there's no real follow-through, no aftertaste. The smoke is gone from the palate as quickly as it arrived. I would have thought a full bodied, strong tasting beer would have left more of a lasting impression.

As phenolic smokebombs go, this is one of the more well-mannered ones.


  1. Anonymous8:43 am

    Couldn't let the seventh birthday of the blog go without a comment.... I enjoy reading it and hope you continue to enjoy writing it.

    David in Milton Keynes.

    1. Thanks David! Normal service will continue for the foreseeable.

  2. Anonymous10:38 am

    Off-topic here but I came across something called Caledonia Smooth in a Cork pub this week and it was dreadful.
    Like drinking cardboard.
    Really horrible stuff.
    Fortunately the Gulden Draak on tap in the Bierhaus made up for it.
    I thought you might also like some info on the newest bar
    opening in Cork as well - don't know what beer is served yet but talk is owner Benny McCabe is also opening a brewery.
    Maybe that's who is behind Elbow Lane.


    1. Caledonia Smooth seems to be an extra-strength version of Caledonia Best, produced by C&C as an answer to Greene King's Belhaven Best, Scotland's leading nitrokeg bitter. It's hard to imagine why they think there's a market for it here, but they're brewing it anyway so I suppose there's no harm trying it out on a different market.

  3. Happy Birthday! I presume your blog spent its seventh birthday drinking coke and eating cake before getting sick on a bouncy castle?

    Its how I spend my birthdays

    1. We drove around for four hours before we actually found a bouncy castle. But, eventually, yes.