Run, don’t walk to Huckleberry’s to pick up a bottle of Nøgne Ø’s latest winter offering. In fact, running is too slow. Jump in your car, it’s OK, they won’t mind. Even a Natural Light man like James Paul will want to try at least a bottle of what is marketed as “Winter Ale” in the US. (Originally it was called “God Jul,” or “Merry Christmas.”)
Winter Ale is a porter, and an excellent one at that. It is a dark, thick, malty beer, with heavy flavors of chocolate and anise, and an undercurrent of mild hops. The creamy texture and light carbonation hit the tongue like Bing Crosby’s method of discipline, and the 8.5% ABV is nicely masked by the depth of the flavors. I mean, really, in short: It is very very good.
A bit of a funny apropos here: A few days ago I asked Jim’s Home Brew if they planned on stocking Nøgne Ø. After giving me an odd look, I told them it was a Norwegian brewery, the man behind the counter said, “Oh, we have a Swedish beer, it’s the same thing.” Wow. Jim’s is awesome in many ways, but really, their service leaves a bit to be desired.
But I digress. Nøgne Ø Winter Ale is the best thing to come out of Norway since me, and should be sampled by any beer aficionado as soon as possible.