Norway

#HBBAdvent Beer 16: Lervig Konrad's Stout (Norway)

Lervig says: We’ve been producing this stout since 2010. We wanted to make a straightforward Imperial Stout with a Scandinavian touch to it, so we used a lot of dark malts and just the right water chemistry to give the beer a very soft mouth feel with coffee and Liquorice notes.

We say: Lervig Aktiebryggeri, from Stavanger in Norway, is brewing some of the greatest dark beers in Europe right now, whether they’re adjunct-rich pastry stouts, barrel-aged chocolate martini stouts or this bittersweet imperial stout. The malt base carries coffee, liquorice, dried fruit and berries perfect for in a cold dark sunday with a pre-Christmas cheese board (or if you're still craving pastry, a warm mince pie!). - Nathan, HB&B Deptford Manager

Fundamentals #18 – Amundsen Bryggeri Dessert In A Can Pecan & Maple Pie Imperial Stout

“Check out the discus of my meniscus.” That’s what I’d probably say if I posted a picture of this beer to Instagram. That’s what all the kids are saying these days, right?

I’ll freely admit the pastry stout phenomenon has passed me by. Call me old fashioned but my favourite beers are, in general, ones that taste like beer – like malt, hops, yeast and water. I enjoy it when brewers experiment with ingredients such as fruit, spices or coffee. But I often struggle with beers that taste more like pudding (hence the term “pastry stout” for those who might not have come across it before) than they do beer. I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth, though.

What I admire about this beer is that it makes no bones about what it is. It’s literally called “Dessert In A Can”. The label notes ask why would you bother going to the length of pairing a beer with dessert when you can simply drink a beer that tastes like it. Basically, Amundsen is saying this is the beer equivalent to Head & Shoulders. Why take two into the shower? Etc.

While this beer wasn’t really my thing, I found myself discovering a soft spot for it as I enjoyed it late one Sunday evening. That might have had something to do with the face-warmingly large 11.5% ABV, undetectable behind the layers and layers of sweetness that this beer possesses. It pours like oil into the glass, rising to the rim and providing a perfect, oubliette dark silhouette in the glass. Ideal for sharing with your friends on your preferred social media platform.

Dessert In A Can’s aroma is a little like a fresh-out-the-oven crème brulée. To taste, it’s a little like drinking a homemade blend of condensed milk, maple syrup and treacle, with the sticky body coating your palate just like the aforementioned would. It’s a beer that makes no bones about what it is though, and the sweet of tooth would surely demolish a beer like this. For me, a chaser of bourbon provided the cut of alcohol I felt it needed to machete its way through all that cloying sugar, however.

It’s definitely a beer worth trying though, because is a really fun beer. You could say it puts the “fun” in “fundamental”.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis as UK editor of Good Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up a can of Amundsen's Dessert In A Can series here.

Fundamentals #17 – Lervig X Boneyard West Coast Dank IPA

My first experience of Oregon’s Boneyard Beer was one of those coincidental beer moments that flicked on a light inside my head.

As a brewery it’s known these days for stunning takes on the IPA style, pouring them at events such as the Mikkeller Beer Celebration in Copenhagen and at London’s Beavertown Extravaganza. I was completely unaware of Boneyard, however, when I was naively strolling the aisles of the 2013 Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado.

An advertised Triple IPA, named Notorius3, drew me to the brewery’s stand. Unlike the stands for nearby breweries such as Russian River and Dogfish Head, there was no line, so I was soon handing over my tasting glass for my statutory 1oz pour. It was an IPA as good as I have ever tasted – not to say it was better than anything I had tasted before, but the flavours were so precise and well defined I immediately knew this was a brewery that could make IPA better than most. It wasn’t long before they became known outside of their own state for doing just that.

And so we come to this beer, West Coast Dank. Boneyard headed to Norway to collaborate with Lervig for this one, the latter brewery known, among other things, for its excellent recent takes on the hazy, juicy New England style IPA.

However, you won’t find either of those qualities here. In fact, you can detect the sweet snap of crystal malt as soon as you pour it. There’s plenty of dank pine forest and grapefruit pith on the nose too, smoothing out that sweetness. 

West Coast Dank effortlessly leads you from notes of sugary malt loaf to flavours of citrus undercut by richly resinous pine. It’s rounded out by a characteristically dry and bitter finish, belying the beer’s 7.1% ABV and leading you straight into your next sip.

Each gulp of this beer, from the first to the last, took me right back to that beer festival in 2013. In a moment it reminded me of all the different spectrums of flavour that IPA can inhabit, whether that be dank, juicy, bitter or whatever. And these are the kind of moments that are fundamental to our beer experience.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis as UK editor of Good Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up a can of West Coast Dank in store or online.

#HBBAdvent Beer 22: Lervig Tasty Juice APA (Norway)

Lervig says: We did it, After we all travelled to Boston we came back inspired to finally jump on the juicy band wagon. Funny thing when we first saw one we gasped, and asked if the keg was okay... Then we realised this is the juice! The biggest issues for these beers are they have to be sold fast! Drank immediately. The freshness is what its all about. Unless you are working at a brewery you can see what a hoppy IPA tastes like straight out of the fermentation tank. Don't buy this beer unless you plan to drink it very soon! We canned it to help preserve its hoppy quality better...

We say: The brewers in Norway definitely know how to make a good beer, whether it is an imperial stout, sour or this great example of a DDH Citra IPA. If tasty is the word you use to describe this beer then you’re absolutely spot on. Oh, and the name kind of gives it away too… For me, this has been one of the most consistent juicy hop-bombs this year and my fridge has become well acquainted with it. - Joris

#HBBAdvent Beer 4: Amundsen x Devil's Peak Chuggernaut New England Session IPA* (Finchamstead)

Amundsen says: On a recent exploration trip to the southern most tip of Africa we met up with the like-minded guys at Devil's Peak Brewing Co, and immediately decided to make a beer together. Chuggernaut is a reincarnation of both our flagship beers moulded into one, so chuggable it will blow your mind with a total hop overload, tropical, juicy and hazy. Chuggernaut pairs best with sun, shades and lazy days.

We say: Good luck to anyone finding some sun to pair this with! No matter, this little hazemaker brings the sunshine. Amundsen packs in a shedload of big tropical flavours into a easy-drinking, Monday-friendly 4.7%. - Jen

* NB: Some boxes feature the equally excellent Amundsen x Dugges Hop Magic IPA.