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Notes of a Beer Nerd: Nøgne Ø Peculiar Yule

August 20, 2010 1 comment

Peculiar indeed.

***Notes of a Beer Nerd is a column written by resident cellar dwelling mammal, Timperial Stout. Feel free to e-mail him at beerblotter@gmail.com with any questions, concerns or comments***

Enjoyed on 9/19/2010

Brewery: Nøgne Ø

Location: Grimstad, Norway

Beer: Peculiar Yule

Web: http://www.nogne-o.com

Presentation: 16.9 oz. – Brown Glass Bottle – Capped

Vintage: 2008

Style: Winter Ale

Barrel: N/A

ABV: 6.5%

IBU: 30

Hops: Chinook, Cascade

Malt: Maris Otter, Munich, crystal, and chocolate malt

Vessel: Tulip

Recommended Serving Temp: 55 degrees

Notes From the Bottle:

This holiday ale draws its inspiration from Glogg, a Norwegian spiced beverage enjoyed hot in the winter. Like Glogg, it goes well with nuts, dried fruits or cookies, but we recommend serving Peculiar Yule at proper cellar temperature of 55F.

The name Nøgne Ø means “naked island”, a poetic term used by Henrik Ibsen to describe any of the countless stark, barren outcroppings that are visible in the rough sea off Norway’s southern coast, where the brewery sits.  The founders gave Nøgne Ø a subtitle – “The Uncompromising Brewery” – a plain statement of their mission: to make ales of personality and individuality.  Brewing in traditional styles but thoroughly inspired by the boldness of American brewing, these Norwegian brewers fearlessly chart their own course.

Food Pairings: Chili, smoked meats, roasted turkey, nuts, dried fruits, cookies, raisins, gingerbread

Cheese Pairings: Monterey, Pepper Jack

Beer Advocate: A- (4.02)

Rate Beer:  91 (3.45)

Timperialstout’s Notes:

One great advantage of cellaring beer is that, if you are in the mood to drink a winter beer in the dead of summer, you can.  I have the itch and I’m able to scratch it – lucky me.

I might be alone on this one, but even in the heat of August, the idea of cuddling up by a fire and drinking a rich beer sounds pretty amazing.  Now, if that fire was in a cozy cabin in the icy Scandinavian Tundra, well, now I’m really getting excited.  With beer, we are able to close our eyes, sip, and let our imaginations expand.  In this case, enjoying this Norwegian brew in Ballard, Seattle’s Norwegian center, seems to allow my imagination to expand just a little bit further.

This bottle is from ’08, the first year that Shelton Brothers imported it into America.  I’m not completely sure that it was a good idea to age this, due to the fairly low abv, but I guess we will soon find out.  But before we get to that, let’s get a little bit better of an idea of what this beer is all about.

First, the brewery.  Nøgne Ø was founded by 2 homebrewers in 2002.  The story behind the name is right on the bottle and can be found above, but how do you pronounce it?  I long thought that it was pronounced “nagano”, as in the city in Japan.  I thought that because that was the way that the Stone Brewing reps that I met pronounced it.  I figured that they would know since they had recently collaborated with Kjetil Jikiun, head brewer.  Well maybe I miss heard but it’s actually “nir-gneh-err”.  Good to know.  Now, how you pronounce Kjetil Jikiun, you’re on your own with that one.

The founders started their brewery as a mission to show the Norwegian people what real ale is all about – to essential bring American brewing creativity to a demographic that only knows and drinks macro lagers.  This is a very respectable undertaking indeed, but it doesn’t seem to be catching on quite as well as they may have hoped.  70% of the roughly 20 different ales that they make are exported.  I don’t know how much of that comes to the U.S. but I do know that Kjetil Jikiun is highly respected by many American craft beer brewers and aficionados.  Hopefully, for now, that is enough to satisfy the aspirations of Nøgne Ø.

Though American brewing may be a strong source of inspiration for many of Nøgne Ø’s beers, one reason why I am so excited about this one is that it plays tribute to a piece of Norwegian culture, while still utilizing boldness and creativity (obviously, two of the clear hallmarks of American brewing that the founders intended to incorporate).  The honest truth is that there isn’t very many breweries in Scandinavia that are worth a damn.  Maybe that’s my opinion because a large majority of them aren’t “American Craft” enough for me.  The land, the climate, the people, the culture, on the other hand, is all so beautiful and intriguing to this ill-traveled American.  Drinking beers from Nøgne Ø allows me to have a deeply profound experience with a little piece of that far off world, and that is such an enormous reason why I love beer in general.  Beer allows us to taste far off (some more that others) lands.

Now, Peculiar Yule.  Some may know this brew by a different name – Underlig Jul is the original Norwegian name.  As you may have inferred from the bottle notes, the inspiration of this brew is a Scandinavian version of mulled wine.  According to Wikipedia, the traditional spices used in Glogg are cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and bitter orange.  The spices used in Peculiar Yule are ginger, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.  Sounds like Masala chai tea spices to me, which I just so happen to be very fond of.

Now on to my experience with the brew in question.

When I cracked the lid, foam came gushing out of the opening and all over the counter.  This is not a good sign.  The bottle was not disturbed in any way and was refrigerated for the last few days.  Let’s hope that I didn’t spoil it by aging it.

After all was settled, Peculiar Yule filled my glass with a very dark brown, near black fluid possessing a breathtaking tan head that never dissipated and left very small traces of lace.  The chocolate malts played their role in the hue.  Light is unable to pass completely though, but it does make it far enough to show me the lively carbonation suspended within.

Maybe this doesn’t smell or taste exactly like the brewers intended, but all the more “peculiar”.  I’m thinking that the intensity of the spices and the illusion to wine has covered up any off flavors that may exist here.  PY is wine like indeed, vinous and slightly tart in both nose and flavor.  In gathering the aroma, it becomes most apparent why this is best enjoyed at cellar temperature.  When cool, all that really comes out is a mishmash of quelled spices.  After warming quite considerably, placing my nose deep within the tulip glass nearly brings me to tears.  It’s truly sublime and outrageously complex.  Layer upon layer of stratified spices become individually recognizable.  There is still a lot of wine recollection, but the malts are now standing taller.  Sweet chocolate and cinnamon has been sprinkled on candied ginger, coriander and cloves nipping at their toes… Yeah, my imagination is working overtime.  There is something in that southern Norway water.

The mouthfeel is slick.  The carbonation that previously appeared heavy has mostly subsided, leaving so many attributes that continue to bring the wine aspect home.  I can’t seem to pinpoint what exactly it is, but all I think about is wine until well after the swallow when I get a bit of deep malty chalkiness on the very back of the tongue.

At the very moment the brew engages my taste buds, the ginger and cardamom scream for attention.  There is a unique interplay between the ginger’s heat and the cardamom’s cool that, well, reinforces just why these two spices play well together.  Chai tea is definitely on the mind initially.  Late in the flavor profile I’m greeted by a dark, roasted maltiness and a slight tartness.  Yet another contradiction with positive results.  It seems a fairly short description of the flavor when written, but within those words there is a very distinctive, unique, complex beer that I feel very lucky to have before me on this night.

At this point I can really feel the warmth of the flames…smell the charred wood…hear the crackling sunder…  If I could sit by a fire with the good company of the folks from Nøgne Ø, I sure would have a story to tell them.  A wild tale about one summer night in Seattle when I was transported to a cabin deep in the white Norway winter, warmed by Peculiar Yule.

If you like Nogne O Peculiar Yule, you should try…

Anderson Valley Brewing Co.‘s Winter Solstice; Short’s Brewing Co.‘s Nicie Spicie; Saint Louis Brewery‘s Christmas Ale

Disclaimer: This beer was purchased on my own with my own hard-earned money at a local bottle shop, and aged to perfection by yours truly.

Events for Week of March 1, 2010

Bert's Better Beers in Hookett, NH- No, we don't know where that is, but its worth going to!

A week in the life of a beer drinker:

Monday, March 1, 2010

7th Annual Barleywine Bacchanal: Seattle, Washington

3:00PM- 2:00AM @ Beveridge Place Pub

The madness continues all week with events almost every day. Many of these barleywines were aged by Beveridge Place.  Check out Beer Blotter’s guide to the Bacchanal by clicking HERE!

Monk’s Mad Monday: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

11:30AM-11:30PM @ Monk’s Cafe

A special Russian River event featuring six of their beers on tap. There will be three IPAs and three ‘Tions on tap. Check it– Pliny The Younger, Pliny The Elder, Blind Pig, Damnation, Consecration and (sweet, sweet) Supplication.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Unibroue Tasting: Hooksett, New Hampshire

5:00PM-7:30PM @ Bert’s Better Beers

Join Richard Delmonico as he pours Canadian brewery, Unibroue beers-Quelque Chose (enjoy warm and/or on ice), Maudite, Terrible, Don de Dieu, La Fin du Monde, Blanche de Chambly, Chambly Noire, Trois Pistoles and Ephemere. Cheese and chocolate will be paired.

Sour Beer Night: New York, New York

7:30PM-9:30PM @ Jimmy’s No. 43

For $10.00 a person, you can come sample amazing sour beers from Jolly Pumpkin, Cantillon and others from the Shelton Brothers portfolio.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Meet the Brewers: Escondido, California

6:00PM-8:00PM @ Stone Brewing Co.

Brewers from the East head West- Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head and Victory Brewing Co.’s Bill Covaleski. Join them at the Bistro’s outside bar with Stone’s own Greg Koch to celebrate their collective achievement. Have a pint with Sam, Bill, and Greg and congratulate them on a job well done! Special taps of Dogfish Head and Victory rarities, including World Wide Stout, will be poured outside.

Ninkasi Beer Dinner: San Francisco, California

5:45 PM- 9:45 PM @The Monk’s Kettle

Ninkasi brews such as Total Domination IPA, Tricerahops Double IPA, Believer Double Red Ale and OATIS Oatmeal Stout will be paired with a delicious 5 course meal. Menu items include a Portobello mushroom soup, a coconut curry shrimp dish, pork tenderloin, a special pallet cleanser and a dessert that will make you feel right at home.

New Belgium Tasting: Portland, Oregon

4:00PM-6:00PM @ The Beermongers

New Belgium Brewery will in the store providing samples of several of their more unique beers including two from their Lips of Faith series Biere de Mars and Transatlantique Kriek, Ranger IPA, certified organic Mothership Wit and Trip IV on draft a collaboration between Elysian Brewing Co. (Seattle) and New Belgium.  This event is free.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Great Lakes Happy Hour: Akron, Ohio

7:00PM-9:00PM @ Johnny Malloys

Come and sample 6 differtent Great Lakes Brewing Co. beers on tap/bottles available to everyone. For those interested, there will also be a limited beer and cheese tasting featuring a couple brewery exclusives that are only available for the tasting. The tasting fee is $10 and includes 5 samples of beer and 5 cheese samples. A few people from the brewery will be there giving out glassware and other Great Lakes memorabilia.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Beer without Hops: The Illegal Brews: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

7:30PM- 9:30PM @ The Beer School of Philadelphia

This is an appropriate venue for this event. Not only do you get to sample fine beers, you get to learn a bit about beer history. These beers do not contain hops, therefore at one point in beer past, they were not considered beer. Due to this concept, they have become rather rare. Well, these “illegal” beers (gruits) are making a comeback, so stop by, taste and learn all about these amazing brews.

Jolly Pumpkin Beer Tasting: Ann Arbor, Michigan

5:00PM-7:00PM @ Whole Foods Market

Join Vice President of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Michael Turriff at the Fine Wine and Craft Beer Bar. Michael is there to enjoy the JP brews, discuss beer and answer all of your questions.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Let’s try some Belgiums!: Naperville, Illinois

3:00PM-5:00PM @ Malloy’s Fine Wines and Spirits

This tasting is FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. So you have no excuse to head out on the town in Naperville and try some amazing Belgium brews. What will you be sampling? Triple Karmeliet, Maredsous 10 Triple, Gouden Carolus, and Pauwel Kwak- among others. Get out, get cultured.

Lucky Lab’s Barleywine & Big Beer Fest: Portland, Oregon

12:00PM- 10:00PM @ Lucky Labrador Brewing Co. (NW Quimby Beer Hall)

More than 35 barleywines and big beers (stouts, warmers, old ales and more) on tap! Some are recent releases but many are aged vintages.  Just to name a few, as the list is very very long (check it here): ’07 Great Divide’s Old Ruffian; ’08 Speakeasy’s Old Godfather; ’09 Fish Tail’s Leviathan and ’09 Lucky Lab’s BBL-Aged Son of Old Yeller.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

11th Split the Brooklyn Skull Festival: Brooklyn, New York

11:00 AM-11:00PM @ Mugs Ale House

Interesting name, but what does it entail? Tis the time for barleywines and strong ales, so you guessed it! Come to Mugs and enjoy beers, most of which are over 8%.  For the full list click here, but for a sample, you came to the right place: Speakeasy Old Godfather Reserve 10%; Left hand Widdershins 10%; Nogne O #100 Barleywine 10.0%; Goose Island Brown Goose 9% and Weyerbacher Old Heathen Imperial Stout 2008 8.0%.

Nikki’s Second Annual Beer Dinner: Providence, Rhode Island

6:00 PM-10:00 PM @ Julians

We will leave the food a mystery, but check out the featured beers, mainly all Trappist. We like their style! La Trappe Isid’or; Achel Blond; Westmalle Trappist Dubbel; Orval Trappist Ale; Chimay Grande Reserve (blue); Westmalle Trappist Tripel and with the dessert course, you get all three Rochefort beer (6, 8, 10)!!

Oh man…that is it. But of course, there is so much more. So if you have an event you want us to add, have a comment about an event you went to, or just want to tell us how much you love beer, leave a comment or email us at beerblotter@gmail.com. Thanks for reading! Cheers to another week!

Beer Events for the Week of January 4, 2010

January 5, 2010 1 comment

Belmont Station, Portland, OR: Beer bar and bottle shop all in one

Ok, I just realized that 1999 was 11, yes 11 years ago. Just imagine all of the great beer we will drink for the next 11! For the first week of 2010, we bring you beer events, the only way to start year off right.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sad to say, the first Monday of the year proves uneventful. So grab something special from your cellar and drink up! In place of events for the day, as everyone is catching up from the holidays, we present you with “Whats on Tap” at one of our local favorite beer bars, Naked City.  Head to the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle to try, Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada’s Life and Limb, Speakeasy’s Old Godfather Barleywine, Russian River Damnation and Port Brewing’s Santa’s Little Helper. All amazing and/or new beers!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Victory is Mine!: Burlington, Vermont

5:00 PM – 11:00 PM at American Flatbread Burlington Hearth

Pennsylvania’s Victory Brewing is heading up North for a night and they are bringing the goods.  Prima Pils; Golden Monkey; Hop Wallap ON CASK; Storm King Imperial Stout; Helios; Old Horizontal Barleywine; Yakima Twilight; and Wild Devil which is only available in bottles.  We recently had the Old Horizontal Barleywine and it was amazing. That beer alone would entice us to attend this event. However, Victory has a great range of styles for all beer lovers.

Bigger, Badder, Blacker Beer Week: Portland, Oregon

Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 3:00 PM until Friday, January 8, 2010 at 11:00 PM at Belmont Station

Not only is Belmont Station worth a trip due to their amazing bottle selection, but attached is a beer cafe. This week, the cafe will have the following “dark” beers on tap: Deschutes Abyss & Black Butte 21, Great Divide Chocolate Yeti, Hebrew Jewbelation 13, Alaskan Baltic Porter and Firestone Walker Velvet Mirkin, among others. Your mouth should be watering just from reading this list. We can only hope that some will survive for Saturday as we make our way to Portland.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Shelton Brothers Presents: New York, New York

4:00 PM until close at the Blind Tiger Ale House

The Shelton Brothers, importers of fine, microbrewed beers from around the world are at the Blind Tiger to showcase some of the finest. The beers on tap for the night/event include Nøgne Ø Winter, Cantillon Pure Kriek (100 on ratebeer.com), Ridgeway Bad Elf and Mikkeller Imperial Pils, among others.  Tonight is a great night to try some beers from afar!

Hop Slam: Cincinnati, Ohio

4:00PM- 9:00 PM at JeanRo

Come join Bell’s Brewery for the release of HopSlam, a bitter, hoppy ale.  Tonight’s specials include $1.00 off all Bell’s Brewery’s beers and cheap treats!  Later this week on Saturday, Bell’s Brewery will continue to promote HopSlam at the Whole Foods Market in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Vintage 2007 Old Stone Guardian Barleywine Tapping: Las Vegas, Nevada

5:00 PM-12:00 AM at Aces & Ales

Las Vegas has more to offer than strippers, lights, gambling and strong cocktails.  Stop by Aces & Ales to enjoy a beer worth the two year wait. Stone Brewing’s Old Guardian is a bold barleywine with prevalent hop notes.   Being poured from the tap, these flavors and the thick body will be sinfully enhanced.

Friday, January 8, 2010

First Ever Williamsburg Cask Ale Festival: New York, New York

Friday January 8, 2010 at 1:00 PM until Sunday. January 10, 2010 at D.B.A.

Expect at least 12 rare and tasty cask beers to be pouring over the weekend, including beers not normally seen in cask in NYC. Stop by the newest of the three D.B.A. locations in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to see whats flowing. Beer Blotter has been to the New Orleans and East Village locations, enjoying pint after pint during our trips.  Great atmosphere, great beer lists!

Where the Wild Beers Are: Atlanta, Georgia

6:00 PM until 8:00 PM at The Porter Beer Bar

Need we say more than…Allagash Brewing Co. is taking over the tap list at this Atlanta beer bar for two hours???? Didn’ t think so.  The list will include the following beers: Hugh Malone; Fluxus; Odyssey; Interlude; Victory; Burnam Road; Four; Triple; White; and Curieux. Taste, take notes and report back….please.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hair of the Dog Tasting: Tustin, California

2:00PM to 8:00 PM at Whole Foods

For those of you close enough to Tustin, stop by your local Whole Foods, bring $10.00 and try a variety of Hair of the Dog beers. Now you all must know of our new found obsession with this brewery. Thank you Brouwer’s Cafe and Big Wood Fest 2009.  For six hours, Whole Foods will be pouring Adam, Ruth, Fred & Blue Dot.

Blue Point Raids the Taps!: New York, New York

5:00 PM until close at Rattle-N-Hum

Not only do you want to just be at this bar because of its location, beer selection and excellent bartenders, you want to taste many, all and every beer from Long Island’s Blue Point Brewery. Although we are not familiar with all the beers, here are a few on the list that sound interesting or just plain good: Sour Cherry Imperial Stout; Toasted Lager; Oatmeal Stout; Hoptical Illusion and Winter Wizard.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Pale Side of Tasting Beer: Los Angeles, California

5:00 PM until 10:00 PM at 55 Degree Wine

This local “beverage” shop is hosting a Sunday evening tasting of pale, blonde, fresh, and even hoppy ales. Featuring four Belgium beer and one from France, this tasting will not only tantalize your taste buds but will expand your mind. We intend to drink only French, German and Belgium beers for the month of February as Beer Blotter gears up and primes our livers for the epic trip to Europe in March. More to report on that later.

Another week has come and gone, and another week is ahead. There are so many great events every week around the country, its difficult to pick and choose. However, we hope that our weekly events span the country, touch on a variety of styles and introuduce new breweries and venues.  If you attend an event this week, are looking forward to an event or even want to promote your own event, please leave a comment or email us at beerblotter@gmail.com.

Cheers!

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