Beer tasting with Nøgne Ø


Easter in Norway’s capitol, Oslo, is flooded with metal- a tradition that has been maintained for approximately 15 years now. So, what beverage is traditionally mostly consumed at metal shows? I bet you guessed right. And considering the fact that Scandinavia (incl. Norway) has gone through a somewhat revolution-like transition during the last half decade, it is also time for promoters & arrangers of such events to evaluate their beer selection, which is what the annual Norwegian extreme metal festival Inferno Festival has done.

Taking place at this year’s edition of the festival, the Norwegian brewery giant Nøgne Ø has been in charge for this. Notwithstanding the fact that they serve their beer in addition to them regular lagers, Nøgne has also sent a representative to host showcases/beer tastings for the more or less experienced beer drinkers among the audience. The gentleman- Martin Houge, talked a bit of history to the attendances as well as explaining the meaning behind different beer-related topics og phrases. Who would’ve known that the term «Russian Imperial Stout» stems from the Tsar of Russia once upon history, ordering a powerful stout back in the day, hence the wording “imperial” was added?)

In addition, he also explained a bit of the circumstances with regards to Norwegian alcohol politics and last but not least, as he put it so nicely himself: Beer is about fun. Skål!

The beers presented here on this particular occasion were the following ones:

1: Asian Pale Ale (4,5%) – a quite mild, but slightly hopped lightbodied Pale Ale, golden in colour. (Would go very well with shellfish/seafood)

2: Brown Ale (4,5%) – nose is coffee & caramalt/roasted malts. (and somewhat lighter body than it’s higher ABV brother – ed.) Will pair well with mature cheeses, although some are frightened by the dark colour.

3: German Pale Ale (4,5%) – a brand new (and well-tasting!) new release, barely a week old, Kölsch-style. A crisp, clean pilsner (with cred given amongst other to the Norwegian water for being one of the best/cleanest worldwide). Houge also elaborated a bit on the politics of UK/German beer as background for this beer type, and a bit on the Japanese ricewine Sake (which Nøgne Ø also has made- even as the first brewery outside Japan to do so!)

4: Two Captains (8,5%) – Houge explained a bit on barrel aged beers, Nøgne Ø’s labelprofiles, leading up to this beer at hand and it’s success. Winning the homebrewer’s competition some years back led it out on the shelves, and too popular in demand to withdraw. With an IBU (bitterness measure) on 100, this is a heavyweight champion, compared to the previous beers in the tasting seance, but all in all a good pattern/combination.

As a bonus, the participants were invited to try Nøgne Ø’s alcohol free alternative, the Inferial stout. Interesting to a certain extent, albeit somewhat watery, it contained a lot of tobacco reference and suited as a nice closure to this event.

Photo: Maria Brochs