Whenever we or friends and colleagues go overseas, we try to bring back a few bottles of unusual or local beers from various places, and I try to keep up with tasting notes here on the blog. Here are a few I've noted down over the last few months; I'll try to add more as we get through them.
Lurisia, Otto: a pretty, artisanal beer from the northwest of Italy, made with pure water from an Alpine spring some 16km from the French border, Otto comes in an attractive, unique bottle, and is a cloudy, earthy colour, with sweet smell slightly reminiscent of a musty granary. On the tip of the tongue it is candy-sweet, with apple peel, apricot, malty bread and dried berries; in the mouth there are notes of biscuit and sprouted rye. It’s more mellow in the swallow, but there’s a hint of lingering yeast, and a hit of sweet cherry right at the end. A bit strange, this one, but not unpleasant. (***)
Sinebrychoff Porter: this Finnish bottled beer is pitch black, almost oily, with a small head, and a coffee and treacle aroma. It starts sweet, smoothing out to a bready maltiness in the mouth, but then leading to a dark, smoky finish, like a cigar over earthy whiskey. There is a lingering sweetness, and a hint of bitter chocolate, that polishes it off nicely; not really a session ale though, except perhaps on a Finnish winter night, when it's 2pm, dark, and the warmth of the lunchtime sauna has worn off already. (**)
Pöhjala, Rukkirääk Rye Ale: named for the Baltic corn crake, this memorable Estonian ale is a dark copper colour, with a warm and malty aroma, some dried date and cherry , but a sparkly, tangy, and disconcertingly sweet first taste. It’s fruity and orange-zesty in the mouth, leading to a dark and yeasty aftertaste that clings to the mouth for quite a while. Given that, this is a surprisingly quaffable pint, and I’d be interested to try a few more. (***)