Tag Archive: Norway


Lervig: Shiga Kogen: Yuzu Raga (Norway: Fruit Lager: 5.5% ABV)

Visual: Pale grain to yellow. Clear body with a good sized off white head. Lots of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Tart lemon to jiff lemon. Tart grapefruit. Yuzu? Fresh. Yellow raspberry. Lightly yeastie.

Body: Lemon curd. Yellow raspberry. Yuzu? Flour touch. Palma violets.

Finish: Lemon curd. Tart lemon. Yuzu? Tart grapes. Clean sheen feel. Touch of bitterness and hop oils. Flour. Lightly gritty bitterness. Peppery.

Conclusion:Soooooo. Have I ever eaten Yuzu? I honestly can’t remember. I know I have had a variety of Yuzu based and infused drinks. Deffo had them. I just cant remember if I have ever had the thing itself.

Anyway, the tart fruit character is very up front here. Very fresh, mixing lemon, grapefruit and yellow raspberry like notes. Or probably just tastes like yuzu and I would know that if I could remember trying it.

Probably.

The lager styling beneath the fruit is clean, with a slight hop oil sheen. It has a good, slick texture and slight noble hop feeling palma violet notes. The mouthfeel is slightly bohemian pilsner like, but generally the lager is only here as a mouthfeel, the yuzu is here as the flavour.

Because of that it is kind of simple, but refreshing and smooth. One point of note it it uses a slightly gritty, and initially light bitterness. It rises to moderate bitterness, though restrained in mid body and builds to a nice kick in the finish.

It is a simple 1-2-3 punch. Good texture, good fruit usage, good underlining bitterness. Simple. Refreshing, exactly what it says on the tin. Hints of Bohemian pilsner, but with tart fruit and light bitterness.

May not be world shaking but bloody drinkable. I am happy with it.

Background: Shiga Kogen, been a while since I had anything from them. Tried a good chunk of theirs during my visits to Japan. Mixed bag, some great stuff, some average. Lervig on the other hand tend to be spot on. Anyway I’m guessing Raga is the Japanese spelling of lager when adapted to their katakana alphabet, what with this being a lager and all. Yuzu is tart citrus fruit. I may or may not have tried it. My memory is fucked. Another beer from Independent Spirit. Went with Ritualz – CDR for music. Wonderfully weird and haunting music.

Lervig: No Worries (Norway: Low Alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Slightly cloudy, light yellow. Large loose mounded white head.

Nose: Mango. Lightly wheaty. Low bitterness. Crisp hop character. Soft lemon. Vanilla. Mild pomegranate. Cake sponge.

Body: Energy drinks. Good hop character. Slight bitterness. Prickly. Soft lemon. Fluffy feel. Cake sponge. Mango.

Finish: Glucose energy drinks. Gritty bitterness. Soft, fresh lemon. Soft mango. Vanilla. Cake sponge. Heavier bitterness over time.

Conclusion: OK, lots of good point to this. So I am going to start with the main bad point. I’m just kind of contrary like that.

The bad point is one common to a lot of low alcohol beers – and it is actually not tannin like notes this time. For once. Instead this leans more towards a soft glucose energy drink style. Not the worst element but a very clear tell that the beer has less weight to it than a higher abv would.

Against that is a moderate, prickly hop character that pushes only moderate bitterness bit in a kind of gravely way that makes it feel heavier than it otherwise would. The bitterness slowly raises in the finish to give a solid kick to the end. It feels quite dry in the finish, giving an attenuated APA kind of feel to the hops.

The fruitiness of most IPAs these days is there as well, though not as heavy. There is slight dry mango and very soft lemon which make up the main thrust of it. A bit of a different take to a lot of the IPAs these days, let alone low alcohol IPAs, decent if not world shattering in taste.

Generally another decent low alcohol beer. We are spoiled for them at the mo. This one could do with a few tweaks, but generally does the job in a satisfying fashion.

Background: Low alcohol beer! Yep, that is a common thing on this blog now. Live with it. Another one grabbed from Beercraft who always seem to have a decent low abv selection. Lervig have done me solid so far, so hope they can bring their A game to a low abv beer. Though admittedly most of the stuff from them I have tried was on the higher end of the abv scale. Went with Nine Inch Nails: Further Down The Spiral for drinking music. Their version of Hurt was the original and is still the best.

Lervig: Infinite Timelines (Norway: IPA: 7.5% ABV)

Visual: Slightly hazy yellow. Large white head that mounds up. Moderate small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Creamy. Peach. Slight hop oils. Slight rye crackers. Slight pepper spice. Pumpkin. Lemon cakes.

Body: Mild lemon curd. Middling bitterness and hop character. Moderate hop prickle. Creamy pineapple yogurt. Banana milkshake. Hop oils.

Finish: Good hop character. Custard sweetness and good bitterness. White grapes. Slight pink grapefruit. Banana. Tangerine. Mild oily notes.

Conclusion: This beer has made me ask, what even is a NEIPA these days? I ask, not just because I didn’t realise this was a NEIPA when I bought it, and now I am really enjoying it, so obviously I need to mentally work out a way it is not a New England IPA so I can happily drink it while keeping up my anti NEIPA snobbery – No, there are other reasons as well! I’m just wondering where exactly the line is between a New England IPA, and all the other takes, as, well this is pretty atypical. Also awesome, maybe for me because it is atypical.

It probably doesn’t really matter. Style guidelines are just that, guidelines, a way for us to have a rough idea what it is we are getting, not some straitjacket of execution. It will still bug me. Because I am silly. Hey, at least I’m honest. On this matter at least.

The main thing that made me think about this is how it hits the eyes. It is slightly hazy, but nowhere near as cloudy as usual. I have to admit I thought that was one of the defining elements of the style, so I was already a tad confused here.

Similarly it ha a decent hop character in a way that I thought it was traditional for NEIPAS to shun – Slight hop oils, good hop prickle and middling bitterness. It feels generally like a bit smoother than normal IPA, if I had to pin down I would say closer to East Coast than any other take but not really matching any given definition – just a really good IPA. Nicely oily, but not heavy or “dank”, just definitely happy to use that part of the character.

Maybe it is the fruitiness that makes it a NEIPA. This is a super fruity mix – tangerine, pineapple, peach, lemon curd – lots of different notes that are delivered very cleanly so they come across as the fruit itself rather than a hop approximation of the fruit. There is some hop influence in the flavours, but if I had to compare them to anything I would say milkshake like. In fact, while not dominated by it, I would still say that this is a better milkshake IPA than 90% of the self named milkshake IPAs that I have encountered. A sweet banana malt base is the main part of it, and it helps everything else just slip down.

This therefore feels like it is not limited to any one particular IPA take, and I think that is why I love it. It takes the best from so many IPA takes and makes it more than the sum of its parts.

Lovely fruity, creamy and hoppy beer. Such a good IPA.

Background: This was a pretty random grab. Saw it at Independent Spirit, thought that Lervig beers had been pretty good to me so far, so picked it up. So as mentioned in the notes, I didn’t notice this was a NEIPA, one of my less preferred takes on the IPA style. It is made with rye and oats as well as the usual malt barley and hopped with Mosaic, and two I don’t know – Denali and Idaho 7. Went with a bit of Mclusky for some awesome, heavy but weird music to back it up.

Lervig: Saskatoon Cheesecake Stout (Norway: Imperial Stout: 12% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Short lived brown head that settles quickly into a brown rim around the glass.

Nose: Blueberry. Cheesecake. Boozy. Raisins. Liquorice touch. Toffee liqueur. Raspberry.

Body: Chocolate liqueur. White chocolate. Cheesecake. Blueberry. Boozy. Malt loaf. Bready backing. Cocoa.

Finish: Malt loaf. Blueberry cheesecake. Bready. Bitter cocoa. Earthy bitterness.

Conclusion: This feels like it should be a white/blond stout. Getting the flavours you do but from a dark beer feels confusing, or at least partially. There are very obvious cheesecake notes, white chocolate notes. It isn’t overwhelmed by these notes but they are present enough that it leads to a very different experience to your standard imperial stout. Over that base tart, kind of blueberry but not, notes are layered. It feels kind of like a blue raspberry if that makes sense. I wonder if such a thing actually exists. Will have to google it.

So, as a result this is very much a dark fruit cheesecake beer, but against that are the darker standard imperial stout undertones. There are more expected cocoa notes and a solid bready base, even a slight earthy bitterness in the finish – lots of notes to add complexity and offset sickly sweetness.

So, it is just about recognisable as a standard imperial stout, mixed with lot of big blond stout notes, mixed with fruit desserts. It is so good. Like a lot of beers in this style it feels a tad “boozy”, heavy but not burning alcohol, which is fine by me, but a turn off for some – so be warned.

That extra boozy character does come with benefits though- a good mouthfeel, thick and tongue coating. The malt gives sweetness, but with bitter cocoa and tart fruit to contrast well. This really is a master-work of a high abv beer. Different to the norm, high quality, varied and shows the alcohol but isn’t dominated by it.

I whole heartedly recommend this. An excellent dessert beer that doesn’t forget the beer side of the equation.

Background: Saskatoon is a place in Canada, also a blueberry looking berry. I presume this is named after the second, though who knows, beers that taste like places may be the new big thing for all I know. My finger is not on the pulse is what I am saying. Anyway, Lervig have made some tidy heavy beers, and boy do I like cheesecake, so this jumped out at me when I saw it at Independent Spirit. Genuinely been feeling out of sorts this week with all the politics bullshit, so had on Marie Davidson – Perte D’identite for music that sounds as weird and disjointed as I do. Possibly not the best thing for my mental health but great music.

Haand: Cervisiam: Frontaal – Death By Disco (Norway: Imperial Stout: 10% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Lots of small brown sediment bits visible, especially if held to light. Creamy brown head.

Nose: Syrupy, artificial blueberry syrup. Bitter cocoa. Bitter coffee. Blueberry cheesecake. Strawberry jelly (Jello for non UK). Slight smoke. Sour dough. More natural blueberry. Aniseed.

Body: Thick. Alcohol tingle. Blueberry. Raspberry jelly. Caramel ice creamy syrup. Vanilla ice cream. Mild aniseed. Blueberry cheesecake. Honeycomb. Rough bourbon.

Finish: Blueberry. Lactose sheen. Bitter cocoa. Blueberry cheesecake. Slight bitter prickle. Sour dough. Slight smoke. Alcohol notes. Raspberry jelly. Rough bourbon.

Conclusion: What gets me here is how this seems to artificial when the aroma first slips out of the glass, yet very natural in the berry notes as time goes on. The whole beer feels caught in that dichotomy between natural and artificial feeling notes

This is a big beer with weight that brings a very blueberry cheesecake style, smothered in bitter cocoa style from the base stout. So there are definitely worse looks it could go for as the first impressions for the beer. There is a slight smokiness to the beer as well, a wisp that again adds weight.

So pretty good and very far from sickly sweet which was my first worry from the artificial aroma. At times it even feels like it leans a tad too heavily towards the savoury side, with bready notes becoming dominant – but it doesn’t happen often enough to hurt the beer.

What does hurt the beer is a strong alcohol feel that seems to emphasise the more artificial, syrupy blueberry notes and create a raw and artificial sprit character. These come late on an especially out into the finish where they are most evident.

There is a lot of good to this beer, even some good character in the artificial notes – for example the ice cream syrup, jelly and fruit notes are welcome as sweet bursts against the smokey offset. It feels like it is the alcohol, spirity character that really hurts it. It is a rough kind of neutral spirit to cheap bourbon kind of note that doesn’t ruin the beer, but definitely highlights the weaker artificial elements.

A good base beer, but one that needs to a lot of polish for it to pay off its promise. I can’t recommend it as is, but I do hope that they give it some work to make something really good from this.

Background: Yeah I know it calls itself a sweet stout as well as an Imperial Stout – at 10% abv I am happy putting it in the imperial stout side of things for a category. Anyway, mainly grabbed this as I liked the idea of blueberry sweet stout, and Haand have been interesting so far, if not quite having a beer I have tried yet that 100% wowed me. Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit. Had recently grabbed Rise Against – “Appeal To Reason” cheaply so put it on while drinking. Not quite formulated an opinion yet – seems solid so far but not really dug into it yet.

Lervig: Toasted Maple Stout (Norway: Imperial Stout: 12 % ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Thin dash of a grey head.

Nose: Liquorice. Toasted teacakes. Vanilla.

Body: Treacle. Marshmallow. Maple syrup. Very thick. Toasted teacakes. Vanilla. Light butterscotch. Fudge. Chocolate liqueur.

Finish: Maple syrup. Liquorice and blackcurrant hard sweets. Chocolate liqueur. Vanilla. Molasses. Light charring. Bitter chocolate.

Conclusion: Ok, between this and the Barley Wine I had recently Lervig are really wooing me back into the fold. Why did I ever doubt them?

I have to admit the first impressions weren’t in its favour. While it had lovely toasted notes in the aroma they were matched and quickly overcome by masses of liquorice. As I think has been established over the years, I don’t mind liquorice in moderation, but I think when it is overused it can ruin a beer.

So, I was nervous as I went in to take the first sip aaaandd – this thing is intense! It is thick as heck, frothy and syrupy, but just about manages to not do those elements to excess. There is a toasted teacake breadiness as just a hint under the thick maple syrup and treacle notes that make up the main stay with other, softer, notes coming out over time. The vanilla beans and smoothness makes it feel like a barrel aged beer, but without the loss of intensity and weight that ageing sometimes brings

The finish bring in the heaver contrasting notes. The liquorice comes back, tied now to blackcurrant notes in a hard sweet like fashion that keeps in manageable. There is a light charring and sweeter notes that slowly fade out into bitter cocoa. That bitterness is just what is needed to keep such a heavy sweet beer manageable.

This has a very distinctive feel – half way between toasted marshmallows and toasted teacakes in a super thick beer. It has a distinctive flavour as well with the maple syrup very evident while not being too dominant. It is distinctly rewarding with huge complexity and manages to feel barrel aged but without the drawbacks.

A great beer then.

Background: Grabbed this a while back – basically saw the words “toasted” and “maple syrup”, followed by “Imperial Stout”, and grabbed it. Since I grabbed it I started becoming less enamoured with Lervig, then back totally into them again. I have been very changeable recently. Anyway, another one grabbed from Independent Spirit – not sure what is going on with the can image – looks kind of like what would happen if Mr Fantastic from the Fantastic Four burnt to death. Don’t think that was the intended imagery. Anyway, put on The Germs’ MIA compilation CD. Really stripped down punk that I got into after hearing they were an influence on Bad Religion. Pretty fun, if kind of rough sounding.

Lervig: Barley Wine 2017 (Norway: Barley Wine: 12.9% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Small grey-brown dash of a head.

Nose: Vanilla, liquorice and fudge. Caramelised brown sugar. Treacle. Almonds. Light strawberry.

Body: Light charring. Chocolate liqueur. Heat at the back of the throat. Chocolate toffee. Brown sugar. Toasted teacakes. Toasted marshmallow. Vanilla fudge. Light strawberry. Black cherry. Quality bourbon undertones. Sticky toffee pudding.

Finish: Sticky toffee pudding and treacle. Fudge. Liquorice. Vanilla. Toasted teacakes. Toasted marshmallows. Charred touch. Bourbon.

Conclusion: Ok this smooth. Has big flavour. Has evident but not overpowering bourbon ageing influence. Huge and rewarding range if you hold the beer on your tongue. We have here an entry for the fuck-yes-this-is-how-you-make-a-barley-wine contest. They were only allowed one word for the name of the contest so they cheated by using hyphens.

So, this is deeply sweet with sticky toffee pudding, treacle and chocolate liqueur at the base. It somehow has those very sweet flavours restrained so as not to become sickly – as would be very easy to occur with a barley wine of this type and strength.

I think that some of that restraint is due to toasted teacake undertones – bready but still slightly sweet matching but also grounding the flavours. Similarly a toasted marshmallow character gives some sweetness against light burnt notes that segue nicely into the light charred character into the finish.

All of this delicious character and I’ve not even touched on the bourbon influence yet. Early on it just shows in how damn smooth the beer is, then comes out in vanilla and fudge notes, then finally it shows in its rawest form in smooth but present actual bourbon spirit flavours – coming out as subtle elements beneath the rest of the beer.

So what downsides does it have? Well, I’m not a huge fan of liquorice notes in beer, and this does use it heavily early on , but a) it actually isn’t used half bad here and b) the liquorice notes left before they started to wear on me. Shockingly they were actually used to add to, not detract from the beer.

So, that is the worst I have to say, this is a great beer. Buy it. Drink it.

Background: I’ve had a few Lervig beers over the past year – some have been awesome, some have been ok but not stand out. I was beginning to think I was mainly grabbing them for the odd names and labels. However enough have been good that I don’t regret grabbing them. Decided to grab this to see how they do with the non hoppy beer styles – especially as this one has spent 12 months in bourbon oak. Put on Jack Off Jill – Clear Hearts, Grey Flowers – a mix of melodic, screaming, anger and sorrow in a gothic punk style. Such an awesome album.

Lervig: Liquid Sex Robot (Norway: IIPA: 7.9% ABV)

Visual: Hazy apricot skin. Medium off white head. Cloudy.

Nose: Peaches and cream. Vanilla. Smooth hop character. Creamy lemon. Custard. Light grapes.

Body: Moderate hop oils. Light cream. Peach melba. Good hop character and bitterness. Light greenery. Apricot. Grapes. Kiwi.

Finish: Good hop character. Fluffy feel. Moderate bitterness. Slightly resinous. Some moss. Creamy. Vanilla.

Conclusion: Ok, this seems to be trying for the New England IPA cloudy style, the Dank IPA resinous and oily style, and the …erm… showy hop style, all in one. Ok, I kind of hit a brick wall on styles at the end there. Run with me on this one.

So, this is pretty creamy in that NEIPA style – it is fairly light on the resinous notes, but brings in a moderate amount of hop oils with it. It creates a creamy and sweet to bitter and oily war of character. The fruit flavours are secondary to that conflict, but they fit in pretty well. It is fairly standard in the flavours – mixing apricot and peach – though admittedly the peach leans into odder peach melba notes which is nice. All the flavours are backed by a mossy hop character and decent bitterness.

For all this beer pushes a range of different style influences, it ends up feeling fairly standard. Good admittedly, but standard. Solidly resinous, solidly bitter, solidly creamy and solidl…ok, moderately fruity. That last aspect may be what lets it down – the New England to … ahem … Dank balance is well done, but it means the fruit feels kind of basic. If they managed to tune that bit up this would be far more exciting.

So not one to avoid, not a must have – a solid take that dances amongst the IPA styles without polishing any element to perfection.

Background: Yes I just grabbed this one as it is called “Liquid Sex Robot”. I am childish. I also did like how the human being on the robot is pretty much gender neutral – a nice touch on an intrinsically sexual image which helps stop it feeling sexist. Anyway, big double IPA made with Mosaic, Citra, Azacca and Ekuano hops. It was getting a tad windy outside as I broke this open so I snuggled up in a blanket and put on some of the 11th Doctor’s Doctor Who music in the background. Spoiling myself rotten that is. This was another one grabbed from Independent Spirit.

Lervig: Cloudwater: I’ve Got Pils, Now What? (Norway: India Style Lager: 5.8% ABV )

Visual: Clear pale yellow with just the lightest amount of haze. Medium white bubbled head. Initially large amounts of carbonation that soon settle.

Nose: Soft lemon and lime notes. Clean. Light hop character. Bready.

Body: Bitter. Lemon and lime. Fresh but mildly so. Peppery. Moderate hops. Mild golden syrup. Vanilla toffee.

Finish: Lime cordial. Bird seed. Light bitterness. Brown bread baps. Noble hop oils. Soft lemon. Passion-fruit. Peppery. Sour cream later on.

Conclusion: You know, this is a lager but feels closer to an IPA than Brewdog’s Indie pale Ale did. Which isn’t saying much.

Ok, cheap shot out of the way, the heavy use of hop fruitiness that makes me think of an IPA with this beer also ends up giving this a very different mouthfeel to your average lager. It brings a fluffy hop mouthfeel as well as the big fruit hop flavour.

Despite that thickness of the hop feel, it does keep some of the lighter, easier drinking lager elements – it especially shows influence from its claimed pils style in a hop oil sheen that comes with it, accompanying a peppery character that nicely accentuates the bitterness of the beer.

A lot of heavily hopped lagers are good, but suffer as they feel like a weak IPA while also losing the advantages of the lager character to do so. This doesn’t entirely avoid that, in that it does kind of feel like a lighter IPA, but it manages to leverage the lager character better to make this refreshing and easy to drink.

So, not 100% a success, but very full of fruit flavour, and matches a good peppery character to the bitterness that benefits both while still keeping an easy drinking lager character. One of the better IPA/Pils style mash ups out there.

Background: Been enjoying the Lervig collabs recently – so decided to go for this one. Not done many lagers recently so it seemed like a good way to get back on that train. It seems that there is also a version of this called “I got pils, now what?” going around. I presume it is the same beer. This one was grabbed at Independent Spirit again. Decided to go with something from a smaller band to listen to while drinking this – Hate In The Box – Under The Ice. Kind of electro – goth – punk mix and nice one to return to.

Amundsen: Dessert In A Can: Chocolate Marshmallow (Norway: Imperial Stout: 11.5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Viscous pour. Thin white dash over the body instead of a head.

Nose: Marshmallow. Condensed cream. Fudge. Milky chocolate. Praline. Pecan. Nut oils. Oily in general.

Body: Bitter chocolate and sweet cocoa dust. Cream. Walnuts. Praline. Marshmallow. Chocolate ice cream.

Finish: Cocoa dust. Marshmallow. Chocolate cream cake. Chocolate ice cream.

Conclusion: Ok, I both love and hate the fact this beer sums itself up so perfectly – it basically tastes like chocolate ice cream covered in marshmallow. It is useful that it does so, but it does leave me little left to do.

However, I am a professional (Ok, an enthusiastic amateur with delusions of competency), so I will try to describe it more than that.

The chocolate elements are well done – chocolate ice cream is dominant by the end, as I indicated before. – but there is a hint of bitter chocolate notes at the front, and a more substantial, and while sweet, less sickly sweet cocoa dust character. The marshmallow is there in the thickness as well as the taste, so it definitely fully delves into its gimmick.

More than that it has a nuttiness – mixing pecan and walnut along with an oily nut character; Elements that add a savoury to bitter undercurrent to this otherwise very sweet beer.

Generally it does its one gimmick, and adds a few founding notes – doing it well. You know what you are looking for in this beer and you get it. Not a world shaking super beer, but it definitely does the job it sets out to do, and just a touch more.

Background: I’ve seen some backlash against the so called “Dessert beers” online, and while I can kind of see why, I am still a fan. Some people dislike them as they are moving away from making a beer a beer, and instead trying to copy other things. Some people just dislike them due their seeming omnipresence at the moment, which I can kind of see, but like all the others, it is just a thing in fashion at the moment. I saw it with hoppy IPAs, sours, gose, barrel aged beers, and now dessert beers – whatever is popular seems played out – but there are still tons of other beers, and this fad too will pass. Taken as an occasional treat, I enjoy the concept. This one is another beer grabbed from Independent Spirit. Incidentally the label on the can gets rubbed off pretty easily – as I found when I took it home in a bag with other beers – hence the worn down quality of the can in the photo. Is it just me or does the white line up to the “A” make it look like someone has etched a cock on the can? This was drunk while listening to Nightwish – Dark Passion Play. A mate introduced to to Nightwish over Christmas so been giving them a listen.

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