Wednesday, April 24, 2013

HAANDBRYGGERIET's "FYR & FLAMME" JUST TASTES BETTER IN NORWAY

You know, I don't even know if this "FYR & FLAMME" ("Fire and Flame" - oooooh) is one of those HAANDBRYGGERIET beers that's not distributed in the United States, where I live - but I'll tell ya, I've never seen it. And wouldn't it just taste better in Norway anyway? That happens to be where, this evening, I consumed the bottle you see here. One thing I've learned during my 4 nights in Oslo - which ends tonight - is that Norway's restaurants have very quickly embraced the beer revolution, and have elevated it to near-wine status. Isn't that all we beer hounds want, anyway? The right to a decent beer with a decent meal? Well in Oslo, anyway, it's possible, trending on probable.

I enjoyed this IPA from the always-reliable Haandbryggeriet at a great "local food" restaurant called Oslo Spiseforretning. The place simply could not have done a better job at representing "Scandinavia" than it did. Beautiful pale blonde waitress with a lilting voice, who said "Hi Hi" or "Hey Hey" to everyone who walked in the door. Fish, fish and more fish. Local butter for your local bread, served with local Norwegian greens and local potatoes, possible foraged from a plot behind the restaurant. I was loving it - nearly as much as I loved this "Fyr & Flamme", which takes the "Norwegian IPA" concept to something pretty local and indigenous as well.

While it has a distinct hoppiness that came from Marris Otter hopping - how could it not, right? - it's neither pine nor citrus, and is instead a smoothed-out, velvety malt IPA with some dryness but mostly a creamy and deep mouthfeel, and comes in at about 6.5% alcohol. I've had Haandbrygerriet's other "Norwegian IPA" - not the one I reviewed last week - and they're two of a pair. Truly "gourmet" beers, something I'm reluctant to say, but that you'll instantly know what I mean when you drink one. Distinctly and proudly Norwegian, and hopefully available in the Lower 48 when I get back tomorrow. 9/10.

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