Tuesday, February 21, 2012

lager time

Like the rest of the beer nerd society, I hate lagers. I think that the standard euro lager is piss which sometimes can be an alternative choice to Vodka when the sole purpose of consuming alcahol is to get drunk.

I had not tried this in over a year, it has become one of those beers that I often think about buying but never do, due to the fact that it is a lager. Big mistake! This could easily the best lager in the world. Although I´m not entirely sure why this is a lager and not a pale ale, I´m going with it nonetheless. This is delightfully crispy, beautifully balanced as the malt amount blends perfectly with Cascade and First Gold. Back in 2006 I said that this was the hoppiest beers ever produced in Iceland. Back then, it probably was, but much has happened since then. There is no doubt that this beer paved the way.

The brewery is a bit mysterious these days. It went (I think!) bankrupt a few years ago, was then taken over and these days I´m not quite sure who actually owns it. It lost their main brewmaster to Borg Brugghús and I have no clue who is the brewmaster these days. Whoever he is now, he´s doing an excellent job, and the quality remains. They still brew a fantastic imperial stout and some exclusives for Sweden and Canada, I will feature more from this brewery in the coming weeks, until then, skál!

PS I´ve blogged about Ölvisholt in the past, a rant that features the awesome Suttungasumbl (now retired) and the controversy behind the label of their Easter beer a few years back..

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

feeling nostalgic... or almost

Anchor Old Foghorn was the very first Barley Wine I ever tasted, back in 2002. It might not count as nostalgia but every time I have this delicious brew it takes me down the road, and makes me truly appreciate it. It´s not for the faint of heart, three times the malt as in a regular brew, heavily hopped and high on gravity. In my opinion, there is something old school about this brew, something I can´t quite put my finger on. It´s deeply complex, thick and heavy, but also quite quaffable. It is also the beer that got me hooked on "big" American craft beers.

It´s not something that comes cheap here in Iceland, about 7-8$ a pop. I told a friend a while ago that I could live by having only Anchor beers, they have a decent session beer (Steam), an outstanding pale ale (Liberty Ale), and an extraordinary porter. Anchor also proofs the fact that you don´t have to dig deep to get a decent craft beer, it is widely available, not only in the states but also in some places in northern Europe. On a dark and cold winter night, almost nothing is better than a glas of this elixir of the Gods..

"Gamli Þokulúður", I salute you!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

doing things right

living in Iceland is a privilege. Untouched nature at your doorstep, clean air, hot water, being hip and having Björk. But not everything is great. If you have been reading this blog you will know that the beer industry has moved in a right direction since mid last decade. But recession hit, left wing government came, super taxes were born (highest VAT in the world), no new jobs and company generally finding it hard to cope with the current business envirement. So, new innovative beers are not something that you could expect.

But behold, in this snowy winter, during the darkest of the hours a giant is born. A massive imperial stout, and only roughly around 3000 bottles produced. They were sold out within a week, and the few people on this icy rock who actually like beer were in heaven for those few days. Brewed by Borg, a somewhat of a concept brewery owned and operated by Egils, which have not done decent beers since the dawn of time. Things are changing, and when the public were turning more and more to micros and privately owned breweries, they were forced to meet the demand of creative craft beers. Borg was born and have been doing pretty decent things since.

I´ve sampled quite a few imperial stouts during my stay on this earth and this is up there with the very best. A very smooth and complex brew, some notes of wood, anis, attic, soft carbonation with some oak flavors. A great brew, that hopefully we will see again mid winter 2013.