Monday, March 7, 2011

Camp Beer VI Recap

Another session of Camp Beer has come and gone. This particular installment was titled From Scandinavia With Love, in honour of the beers being served. As always, Cathy did a great job of organizing the event and wrangling up all the beers while Kevin resumed the role of Beer Captain for our voyage through the best beers that Northern Europe has to offer.

The session was started with 7 beers from Mikkeller's Single Hop Series.  Most beers are typically brewed using a combination of different hops, depending on the flavour, aroma and bitterness that the brewer is seeking for that particular beer. Each of these beers, however, were brewed using just a single hop, allowing you to experience the aroma and flavour profiles unique to that particularly varietal. Cathy managed to get her hands on the ones brewed with East Kent Golding, Centennial, Chinook, Nelson Sauvin, Warrior, Simcoe and Nugget hops.  I highly recommend trying them if you have the opportunity, if only for the learning experience.

From there, we moved on to another series of beers from Mikkeller, but this time all Oatmeal Stouts brewed with coffee.  The Beer Geek Breakfast is the original with a strong yet smooth coffee flavour.  The Rauch Geek Breakfast has the addition of smoked malts to impart a bacon flavour and aroma (although, I mainly just got a lot of band-aid taste and smell). The Beer Geek Brunch Weasel is brewed using Civet Coffee.  In case you haven't heard of it, thats coffee brewed with coffee beans that have been eaten and passed through a weasel like creature. Oddly enough, this is some of the most expensive coffee in the world. A little more acidic in the finish then the first two, I'm almost scarred to admit that it was my favourite of this particular series.

The next round of beers was from the Nøgne ø brewery in Grimstad, Norway.  The Andhrimnir Barleywine and Winter Ale were good, but not overly impressive. Their Imperial Dunkel Wit however, is a very unique and delicious beer.  I first had this beer at the beer dinner at Catalan during Houston Beer Week last fall and it was my favourite from that evening. The bottle served here was from the same batch as the dinner, but the beer had changed considerably. While it was relatively sweet at the beer dinner, that sweetness had subsided and the coriander flavour had become much more prevalent. It would be very interesting to see how this beer continues to change over time.

We then moved on to a few beers produced by "four guys brewing in their spare time, on an absurdly small scale". Haandbryggeriet may be small, but they certainly seem to be having fun while producing some very unique beers like their Dark Force, the only Wheat Stout that I've ever seen. Their Barrel-Aged Akevitt Porter is aged in Akevitt barrels, giving it a unique spicy flavour and aroma.

The afternoon was finnished off with a couple of beers from Beer Here, a brewery that appears to brew their beer at the Nøgne ø brewery.  The Mørke Pumpernickel Porter is a Baltic Porter brewed with rye, but it didn't seem to live up to its name as you would expect it to have a bread-like flavour and aroma. Their Dark Hops, however, was a well-balanced American Style Black IPA (or whatever you prefer to call the style) and one of the few of that style that I've actually liked.

For more reviews of the beers that were served and the event itself, also check out Lushtastic and Barleyvine blogs.

The next Camp Beer is schedule for June 12th, but the theme is yet to be determined. As usual, start watching for tickets to go on sale at the beginning of May.

Cathy Clark

Kevin Floyd

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