I like to grab a beer from time to time that I have no idea about. Lateley there have been a bunch of Scandinavian beers kicking around, most have names that are near unpronounceable, letters with lines through them, some silent, some with little dots above them. At last years Australian International Beer Awards they had to get someone who grew up in a Scandinavian country just to pronounce the winning beer, Nogone (I know that’s not right but I cant put the lines through the o’s).
Anyway a week or so ago in Grain and Grape I spied some beer from Haand Bryggeriet. Right now I am drinking them. Both Dan and Chris said they were the goods and who am I to say they are wrong? no one.
So on to the Hesjeol, a Norwegian Harvest Ale. The label is pretty awesome, harking back to the days of my grandfather’s when they they had to stook the sheaves of wheat at harvest time. I also love the commentary on the bottle “Brewing was very much a part of farm life in old Norway. Indeed Farmers were required by law to make beer and could loose their lands if this duty was neglected
” That is a fucking awesome law. My dad doesn’t make beer, neither did my grandfathers, nor my uncles (all farmers). This is perhaps why I make beer, to ensure they they all don’t loose their farms.
Deep down I would prefer to be farming than my actual day job so it makes sense that beer is something I also like making. Or at least it would be if I was from Norway. This beer is described as a hearty thirst quenching ale for harvest time. Its a bit late for harvest right now but it is hearty and thirst quenching. This beer is in my mind a Saison of sorts, fruity, hoppy and a with a nice skunky saison yeast background. It has a little more colour and malt sweetness than a Belgian saison normally would (think Saison Dupont) but its a nice beer that I could drink a lot of. I can see this fitting in nicely after a long hot day in the header (that’s a grain harvester). No idea where you’ll find this sucker, G&G of course, and I think Slow Beer had it on the shelves too.
This is a good honest beer, if I could make this I’d be a happy fella. Occasionally I make saisons that I like but getting the buggers to work consistently is just plain hard work. I will stick with it though.
Next to their smoke beer, once I finish the harvest beer, and perhaps have some dinner…..
First words (actually said out loud) upon tasting this beer “Oh yea, oh yeahhh that’s the goods”. This beer is called “Smoke Without Fire” or some other kind of collection of letters that I’ll just get wrong. So what is smoke without fire? no notes on the bottle but its fucking awesome. Its pretty much a smoked porter but a bit lighter in weight. This is the smoke profile I wanted in the smoked porter I tried to make last year. Mine was dialed in at about 5 out of 10. Mild. This is more like an 8. I’d like an 11 but this is good. Its kind of a chocolaty smokey bottle of goodness. Its brown but has ruby highlights. Did I mention I liked this beer?? perhaps not. There is a sweet backbone on this beer, suggesting not a whole lot of hopps but the smoke sits really nicely with it, kind of like the cream cheese in a smoked salmon sandwich.
I also love the label on this beer, kind of looks photocopied. Don’t worry about the elephant, he’s just hanging out, and as his trunk is up all will be ok.
Tasting the Obsidian stout the other day I thought “I need to brew some stout ” (and I will, Westgate Brewers stout comp is coming up) tasting the harvest Ale I think – why didn’t I make more saison in summer?? now I want to make more smoked beers. And I want to put a whole lot of smoke malt in a beer, maybe all of the base malt, that’s a shit load of smoke malt.
Good beer giving me good ideas.
Cheers People, go have some good ideas yourself. If it results in good beer all the better.
PS the smoke beer is really good