Pint 6 – Green Flash Le Freak

January 10, 2009

This is the third and final Green Flash beer I bought during my end of year trip to the beer store. The others were solid, but this is superlative. It’s only my second Belgian IPA fusion beer, but now I think I get it. The first I had was the Collaboration Ale made by Stone, Mikkeller, and AleSmith, and when I had it I’d already had two pints and might not have been able to detect all the flavors. This time, they all came through in Green Flash’s Le Freak.

An amazing fusion.

An amazing fusion.

It pours an awesome clear golden color.

Pours a nice clear golden.

Pours a nice clear golden.

For such a lightly colored beer, it has a wide, complex array of intense flavors. There’s the hops, mostly bittering, and then the yeasty Belgian flavor that comes. I bet that you have to be very careful not to overpower the yeast with too many aroma hops. This beer tastes like what a super-hopped Duvel might taste like.

After a while, I poured the rest of the bottle and clouded up the pint a bit.

Clouded up a little when I added the rest of the bottle.

Clouded up a little when I added the rest of the bottle.

The bottle says this is the combination of an imperial IPA and a Belgian trippel. I looked up trippel to check the spelling and was surprised to find that it’s a relatively recent development – Westmalle made the first one in 1934. It packs a punch at 9%, but is only slightly warm on the way down. Not much sign of the alcohol. While I do love me some aroma hops in my IPAs, I can dig the replacement with the yeasty flavors. This is a fantastic brew. Definitely need to round out my Green Flash tasting with a few more bottles.

Advertisements

Pint 5 – Nøgne Ø #100

January 4, 2009

This is the other Norwegian beer I bought. They had a huge number of beers, all emblazoned with the Scandinavian letter “Ø.” Most of the regular styles were accounted for, and there was even a beer that was a collaboration with a Japanese brewer. I ended up going with this #100, a double IPA (so said the guy at the store; BA says barleywine), and was pleasantly surprised to discover that it is a limited run beer that has already been retired.

A complex double IPA.

A complex double IPA.

This IPA seems to be heavy on the bittering hops and light on the aroma hops. It works really well – there is intense bitterness, but some other aromas come through. I’m not quite sure what they are using, but I’d be willing to guess cinnamon or nutmeg, which might also help reinforce the bitterness of the hops. After I poured the second half of the bottle, the flavors were a lot stronger – a bunch of yeast and stuff from the bottom got mixed up; the beer is so thick that it never fully resettled. The bottle does say “upasteurisert” and “ufiltrert,” which I’m assuming means unpasteurized and unfiltered.

Nice and dark, frothy foam.

Nice and dark, frothy foam.

I wonder how travel affected this beer. The Haand beer seemed to be a US-export beer that had been reimported into Japan. This bottle has the original Norwegian labeling. Also, I might have let it warm up slightly before putting it in my toilet closet cellar. Still, this is a unique beer; the coloring, hop spectrum and interesting aromas are great. I think Nøgne Ø is all about spicing their beers – they have another that uses juniper berries – so I’ll have to check out their other styles.

Found these cool videos from when the Stone brewer visited the Nøgne Ø brewery – Norway looks amazing: 1, 2.