Wednesday, December 15, 2010

12 Beers of Xmas - On the second day of Christmas....

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...a Nøgne Ø Red Horizon (American Strong Ale)...

With their tag line of "Det Kompromissløse Brygger" (The Uncompromising Brewery), Norway's Nøgne Ø (old Danish for "Naked Isle") brew some truly incredible beers, especially for those beer nerds (like me) who love really big, very rich and flavoursome, often unusual beers. Every Nøgne Ø beer that I have tried has provided a wonderful and unique drinking experience. The God Jul Barrel Aged Islay Edition (Porter) in particular struck a strange but delightful chord with me, due to the super robust smokey twist of the Islay whisky barrel ageing. And then, the darkly rich and thick Imperial Stout was one of the top 5 beers I drank all year!

The "Horizon" series from Nøgne Ø - Dark, Red and Sweet - have a massive reputation as amazing, highly regarded beers that push the boundary (or...horizon?) of contemporary brewing without compromising.

Last month I had the absolute pleasure of tasting the Sweet Horizon (American Imperial Stout), thanks to the Beer Vaults at Biero Bar.

Today, I sampled both the Dark and Red Horizon, as well as the Sweet Horizon again, at Purvis Beer "Strange and Unusual" Tasting.

As the "red" seems to be more appropriate for my Christmas theme here...I thought I'd make it today's 12 Beers of Christmas review...

Nøgne Ø Red Horizon is brewed with a Japanese sake yeast and possesses a massive 17% ABV and 75 IBUs. A 250ml bottle costs about $19.50 locally.

According to the Nøgne Ø Co-Founder and Brewer, Kjetil Jikiun, "Red Horizon is technically a beer but as it is fermented with sake yeast, it has the aroma profile and fruitiness of a sake. We fermented it at low temperatures, as high quality sake is. That is the key to the delicate aromas."

Very red and clear in appearance, the aroma is actually quite alcoholic with some lemony citrus, spice and heaps of deep fruit.  The taste is big and rich, dominated by fruity sweetness (although clearly not as sweet as Sweet Horizon).

Low in carbonation but the fruitiness provides plenty of fizzy body so it is not too syrupy or heavy. Red Horizon is delicious, potent and surprisingly easy to drink.

Of course, a beer this big is hardly a beer...but it is well balanced and ultimately a fantastic drinking experience.

(And yes, I did buy a bottle at the end of the night to take home and savour in full.)

Alt Christmas Song of the Day: "I Wanna Rock You Hard This Christmas" by The Dan Band

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