Brewery Spotlight: Nøgne Ø (Grimstad, Norway)

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August 25, 2012 by probuswines

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Would I be right in assuming that the first things popping into your head when you think of Norway aren’t incredible, uncompromising beer and cutting-edge Sake production? Yeah, thought so.

Well, this post is here to change your mind and get the world to realise that a certain Grimstad-based brewery is at the forefront of the global craft brewing scene.

Nøgne Ø (meaning “Naked Isle” in Old Danish) was founded in 2002 by two absolute beer fanatics, Gunnar Wiig and Kjetil Jikiun, and has since gone from strength to strength. Rebelling against the Norwegian government’s astoundingly high taxation of and legislation regarding higher-ABV beers, Nøgne Ø vowed to shun the Norwegian trend of light, bland lagers by producing world-beating unfiltered, unpasteurised beers in an uncompromising manner – and, by God, that’s exactly what they’ve done. And, as if that wasn’t enough, they also produce a range of Sake (indeed, they’re the first Sake brewer in Europe!)

Now, it must be said that the Nøgne Ø beer range is extensive (including Wits, Bitters, Saisons, Pales…) but I’m going to concentrate the rest of this post on two of their very best and most coveted brews, their Imperial Stout and Imperial India Pale Ale, because they are, quite frankly, bloody incredible.

Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout

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Imperial Stout is one hell of a luxurious drink, there’s no doubt about that. The wonderful viscosity, deep dark roasted malt flavours, and significant complexity of the style make it widely adored by beer lovers everywhere. It’s beyond question that Nøgne Ø’s version is one of the best out there (just check out the incredible ratings it receives on sites such as Ratebeer & Beer Advocate); the flavour profile of this 9% ABV beauty is so multifaceted it’s unbelievable…deep rich roasted malt flavours combine perfectly with dark fruit notes, dark chocolate, robust dark-roasted coffee culminating in a beer that’s luxuriously sweet yet wonderfully bitter. This is such a perfect after-dinner drink (it’s so good you might not even want to bother with dinner at all!) and a brilliant all-round drinking experience.

Nøgne Ø #500 (Imperial IPA)

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This big fella was brewed to celebrate their 500th batch of beer (hence its name, #500), and there’s no doubt that it’s a special, boundary-pushing example of brewing. Everything about this 10% ABV Imperial IPA is massive and uncompromising. There’s a huge, earth-shattering hit of wonderful tropical & citrus flavours from the several potent varieties of hop (including New Zealand’s excellently exotic Nelson Sauvin) which is framed by a monstrous, sweet, sticky caramel malt backbone. This beer really is a sensory rollercoaster ride – the combination of exotic flavours & aromas, malt sweetness, and lick-smacking bitterness is intense to say the least. This is certainly one for the hopheads amongst you – and it won’t let you down!

We’re delighted to have both of these cracking brews on the shelves in both our stores (more of the range will follow soon!), so you really should come down to grab a bottle and experience the cutting edge of modern brewing.

One thing’s for certain, after tasting these incredible brews, the next time someone mentions Norway you won’t think of Fjords, you’ll think of Nøgne Ø!

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