It’s a busy time of year, December. Parties to attend, work still to do, and a lot of hustle and bustle. Being the first Christmas with a daughter, it’s adding to the mix. There are so many things you don’t think about before children. Luckily, no matter what happens during the day, I know I’ve got an interesting beer at home to dive into. Today is no different. It’s a brewery we’ve seen in the calendar before bringing us an Oak and Cyprus aged Brown Ale from Nønge Ø called “Adventurous Brown.”
This brewery, located in Grimstad on the southern coast of Norway about 232km from Oslo, is the largest supplier of craft beer in Norway and the first brewer of sake in Europe. The name, Nønge Ø, means “naked island”, a term used to describe the barren rocky outcroppings visible in the sea. In 2013 it was acquired by Hansa Borg Bryggerier who own a family of regional breweries in Norway: Hansa, Borg and Christanssand Bryggeri.
While the founder and head brewer, Kjetil Jikiun, who started Nønge Ø in 2003 mainted his position initially, he decided to part ways left Nøgne Ø on July 31. 2015. He still hold shares at Nøgne Ø. It was under his passionate drive and uncompromising mind for quality that allowed this brewery to grow from 300 HL up to 3500 HL in only 7 years. A dedicated team of 24 employees are carrying on and further developing the initiative made possible by the two founders Gunnar and Kjetil. Today, they produce over 20 different styles of beer and have a brilliant mind for flavor.
Brown ales are a style of beer that get their name from their color, mostly. The term was first used by brewers in the late 17th century and was used to describe a milder ale. This term is rather different than how we use it today, but originally these brews were lightly hopped and brewed with 100% brown malt. Today these beers are brewed in a variety of different regions and are used to describe a few different flavor profiles from sweet, low alcohol beers, medium strength amber beers of moderate bitterness, and malty but hoppy beers.
They range from deep amber to brown in colour and typically have caramel and chocolate flavours evident in their profiles. This is a North American Brown Ale differ from their English counterparts. Instead of using exclusively brown malts, American Brown Ales tend to use American Crystal Malt, which gives a sharper edge to the beer, as well as often roasted chocolate or coffee malts. They are also often hopped, unlike the English ones, which tend to make them drier than their English counterparts and give a citrus accent and medium body due to the American hop varieties.
Appearance – Pours dark brown with no head.
Smell – Smells of oak and the woody, slightly spicy smell of Cyprus. Smells a bit like whiskey with hints of caramel.
Taste – Barrel aged oak flavour comes through right away with subtle sweetness and hints of Caramel and chocolate.
Mouth feel – Medium full body with medium carbonation and subtle oak bitter finish
Overall – Overall a unique brown ale that presents an interesting flavour combinations that go well together. Masking of the 10% alcohol is well done and this beer is fairly drinkable.
Do I like it? – I did enjoy it. I enjoy oak aged beers and find the flavour to bring a nice sweetness and flavour to the beers.