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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

IPAs and More IPAs: Nøgne Ø

Okay, one more from my IPA project. (Still secret!) Today we travel to Norway for Nøgne Ø's huge, 7.5% IPA.

Nøgne Ø IPA
Pours out a viscous, dare I say gloppy, amber, heavy with chunky lees. The aroma is nice--caramel and toast, but not a huge hop presence. (When a beer travels half way around the world, you can't complain too much if the subtler hop aromas aren't as intense as they would be at the brewery.) Alcohol vents in waves. I've never been to Scandinavia, and as far as I know, it is a gentle pocket of strangely glorious warmth, a place wherein all the citizens have conspired to promote it as an arctic wasteland to keep out the interlopers. But thinking as I do that it is an arctic wasteland, I am comforted to find a body of such heft and muscle that Sally handed me her half of the beer with an "Uggh." Ha, no Viking are you!

Given that it's a 7.5% beer, the purported 60 BUs of hopping seem awfully pronounced to me. They wish to push me around and grow hair on my chest. Resinous, maybe a wee harsh and sharp (Cascades and Chinook), but they somehow go with the thick malt, which is more viscous than creamy. A bit of plum to boot. It's a robust but homey beer--rustic.

The fellows who started Nøgne Ø take pride at having brought IPAs to Norway, and I expect the Norwegians thank them. An IPA like this is burly enough to stand up to a stiff wind howling across the ice floes. I hope that they point out, however, that their version comes straight from America's West Coast, where we have been using the same ales to temper our more modest rainy winters. Call it a solid B--strong but not super subtle.

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