Tuesday, December 13, 2016

2016 Advent Beer 13: Adventurous Brown (Nøgne Ø)

Nøgne Ø means "naked isle" in Norwegian, and is an apt description of the southern coast of that Scandinavian land, where their eponymous and celebrated brewery is located. The name "Adventurous Brown" refers to the anticipation and celebration of the advent season, and the fact that this is a brown ale.

Very brown, as it happens.

It pours a very rich, dark brown, like burnt caramel, but not completely opaque; a colour reminiscent of opulent libraries, with comfortable leather chairs and dark, oiled wood. A thin line of off-white head the colour of aged paper completes the whole bibliophilic effect, at least for me.

In terms of smell, Adventurous Brown brings the malty sweetness of fresh born bread to the fore, with hints of molasses lurking at the edges. At 10% abv, the sweetness in the scent is hardly surprising.

And the taste? Smooth and luxurious, with the bready malts followed swiftly by sweetness. Probably more than enough sweetness for most people, but its Christmas, so I find the molasses and slightly caramelized sugar notes in keeping with the season, and making this beer either a great winter warmer or a fantastic dessert beer. I can't claim to tell the difference between oak and cypress in this context, but barrel-aged beers are one of my favourite things in the world, and the wood does bring significant nuance to this ale.

Seriously, there aren't a lot of brown ales that would make a delightful accompaniment to bread pudding with a rich bourbon sauce, but I could see Adventurous Brown doing so with aplomb, or perhaps washing down a plank of charcuterie and aged cheddar. One of the best offerings from the 2016 calendar thus far!

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