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.

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