Style: English Porter / Winter Ale / Holiday Ale
Availability: annually, late fall and winter, bottle and draft
Pairing: charred steak, black and white cookies, brownies
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Popped in to the bar on a brutal New York City winter evening to grab a quick beer and came across a real treat… Nøgne Ø Winter Ale on tap. In my opinion, Kjetil Jikiun is one of the finest brewers crafting ales today and this one is no exception. I’m on a mission to drink as many of this fine Norwegian brewery’s offerings as possible.
Appearance: Pours a deep, dark brown with a tan head which leaves a bit of lacing on the glass
Smell: Notes of licorice, chocolate and vanilla all come forward. Some roasted notes as the beer warms. Very unique for a porter.
Taste: The Nøgne Ø Winter hits the palate with lots of roasted malt characteristics and a dry finish. There are lingering flavors of burnt caramel as well as all chocolate and vanilla. It’s incredibly balanced for such a unique beer and hides it’s 8.5% alcohol well.
Mouthfeel: A fine light carbonation and sweetness hit the mouth but the finish is quite dry. The result is a dangerously drinkable combination.
Drinkability: This one goes down pretty easy. It’s thick for a porter but – like most Nøgne Ø beers – the balance holds together any skepticism of its drinkability. I could easily have a few of these on a cold night.
Overall: The Nøgne Ø Winter (or God Jul if you live outside of the U.S.) is a rich winter ale that is welcoming to both porter and stout drinkers alike. The combination of sweet flavors, roasted notes and dry finish make it a great dessert beer, pairing for a heavy winter meal or even a nice aprés ski brew.
Brewing Note: “A dark ale brewed specially for the Christmas season, with a rich, complex taste of caramel. This is a strong, dark and rather sweet Christmas Beer – just the way we think a Christmas beer should be. Recommended serving temperature 12°C/53°F. Great with cheese or nuts. Ingredients: Lager, Munich, caramel, black, and chocolate malt; Chinook, Columbus, and Centennial hops; English ale yeast, and our local Grimstad water.” source)