As we approach the end of the year, it’s finally begun to get well and truly cold here in New England. Perfect night to break out another new winter ale, and tonight it’s another scandinavian craft beer, but the first from this particular brewery, Grimstad Norway’s Nøgne Ø.
A simple but stylish label on this bottle with some nice background on the beer and the brewery on the back. It’s apparently known alternately as God Jul and Winter Ale. My bottle identifies it as the latter.
It pours nice and dark with a very thick head. In fact I kind of over-poured this one trying to get some good foam. It smells quite nutty, and indeed they do recommend nuts as one good thing to pair with the beer. Some caramel and malts too with a hint of dark fruit, chocolate and floral smells. This is one of only a handful of beers I’ve seen actually recommend food pairings on the label itself. I’d love to see more breweries follow suit.
There’s almost no carbonation to speak of, just a really smooth, slightly oily consistency to the beer and medium, bready body. It’s surprisingly easy-drinking with some very nice flavors. I’m getting caramel, coffee, roasted malts, chocolate, and dark fruit — pretty much everything on the nose shows up in the beer with the chocolate being more pronounced when you drink it. It finishes very smoothly with some alcohol warming. Overall this would be a great choice to unwind with on a cold night in front of the fire. A gold for the Norwegians in my book.
Taste: A- Complex, smooth, and very enjoyable porter. I’m wishing I’d picked up another to share. Aces.
Drinkability: B+ Smooth as silk. Slightly boozy at the end.
Label: A- Bold, simple & stylish with lots of background on the brewery and information and recommendations about the beer. Nicely done.
Vitals: Poured into a pint glass at about 52F. 8.5% ABV, 30 IBU.
Have you been enjoying a particular winter/Christmas ale? Let us know below in the comments.