NOGNE Ø (Norway), HAANDBRYGGERIET (Norway) and MIKKELLER (Denmark) have been so damn good. Yet these little bottles are often very pricey, so it takes a day like the one a few weeks ago where I stumbled into Healthy Spirits in San Francisco with a full wallet and a smile on my face to make me wanna spring for them. And oooooh there were so many to choose from here. (Stay tuned with an interview we’ve got coming up on this blog with Dave Hauslein, beer guru at this store). I went with NOGNE Ø 2008 WINTER ALE, just because it was something I’d never see again. They had another Winter beer there by NOGNE Ø called PECULIAR YULE, and it’s highly rated on Beer Advocate (A-). Then again, so’s the WINTER ALE (A-), or GOD JUL, as we say in Norway.
“Now THAT’S a strong winter warmer”, I sez to myself as I commenced to drinking it. A dark, rich ale, NOGNE Ø 2008 WINTER ALE is complex and maybe even a little nutty. No, not crazy-like – nutty-tasting, ya knuckleheads. Also tastes of caramel and more exotic things I could not place. “Complex”, I’m telling you – very complex. 8.5% alcohol and even a little sour as it warmed. And then it was gone. I was warmed, flushed and mildly exhilarated by this interesting brew. No clue as to what a year of aging did to it, but I’m glad I found one all the same. 7/10.