Scandinavian Craft Brews

16 10 2007

North Europe
On Friday night, after nearly a month away [insert frowny face here], I was finally back at Tria Fermentation School for a beer-tasting. The session was led by brewer Anders Kissmeyer, from Copenhagen’s Nørrebro Bryghus (Bryghus is Danish for brewhouse), and importer Dan Shelton. Kissmeyer and Shelton served nine(!) beers, and nearly every one of them was something I’d buy. (The exception? Mikkeller’s Stateside IPA. It gets good reviews, but I just don’t need anything that hoppy in my personal stash.)

What did I like? Well, I particularly liked three of the Nørrebro brews. The Skärgaards Porter combined two of my favorite flavors—porter-style beer and honey. The Old Odense Ale, co-brewed with Dogfish Head, offered a sweet barleywine flavor. If my notes are correct (caution: this was six beers into the evening), the Odense Ale was flavored with fir trees…. And the North Bridge Extreme was one of the most balanced beers of the evening; it was both pleasantly malty and hoppy, a combination that’s all too difficult to achieve.

I enjoyed another Danish beer, Ølfabrikken’s Abbey Ale. I’m always drawn to Belgian-style beers, and the Abbey Ale qualifies. It’s brewed with Belgian yeast, and its funky sweetness reminded me of some of the best of Belgium’s beers. A nice butterscotch smell added to my interest.

But my favorite beer of the evening was probably Haandbryggerriet’s Norwegian Wood. The “Hand Brewery” is a tiny Norwegian brewery that was started by four farmers. Their Norwegian Wood is brewed in a traditional style—smoked with, of all things, juniper twigs. I didn’t get a particularly juniper-y flavor from the Norwegian Wood, but I certainly did get a pleasant smoky, spicy flavor from it. The beer was complex, with just enough hops to keep the smoked malt from being too much. I can’t wait to sample Norwegian Wood again.

It looks like it’s going to be a few weeks before I make another formal beer-tasting. Buy me a beer or two in the meantime?

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5 responses

20 10 2007
Bryan

Wow! Sounds like another stellar Tria schooling. Glad to hear you enjoyed it and provided us with some details. Do you know if the “collaboration” beer with DFH is available at Monk’s. Since Anders never made it to the dinner earlier this month due to weather-related travel issues, this beer (which he was traveling personally with) never made it to the dinner. I was hoping to still track some of it down before it disappears.

21 10 2007
Bryan

I checked in yesterday, and the best they could say was that “very soon” it would be available by bottle at the bar….stay tuned!

30 10 2007
Jay

I haven’t felt up to swinging by Monk’s to check it out, Bryan. Have you? Before the Autumn Plague got me down, I did stop by The Beer Yard to purchase a case of the Norwegian Wood I enjoyed so much at the tasting.

Q: Did I really need a case of juniper-flavored beer?
A: Apparently, yes.

31 10 2007
Bryan

No, and unfortunately will probably not find myself downtown until weekend after next 😦 Hope your autumn blues have moved on by now.

1 11 2007
Jay

I wish it was just the autumn blues. The blues wouldn’t keep me from Monk’s. 🙂 But I do seem to be getting a handle on the cold/flu/Bubonic Plague that has been keeping me in. There may be beer in my future….

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