Style means nothing to the Norse

7 Dec


There are many great things about the beer scene in Oregon.  One is the sheer number of breweries within the state.  The other is the availability of unique beers from overseas at the local bottle shops.  I have reviewed a beer from the Haand Bryggeriet Brewery before, but this one is definitely something new; ‘dark force’ reserva, a Double Imperial Wheat Stout Aged in Oak Barrels…whatever.  Just throw the style guidelines out the window, I guess.

It looks like a stout, deep and dark on the pour.  The smell is sharp and almost hints at a sourness in the beer.  The beer is a bit thinner than I would have expected, and there’s that sharp flavor again.  Is that from the wheat?  It has a fruit characteristic to it, I can tell you that.  There are hints of coffee and smoke but very little in the way of the barrel flavors I was expecting.  Not sure how I feel about this beer, but this brewery clearly likes to take chances and play with people’s notions of what a beer is supposed to be.  Maybe that sharp flavor comes from the wood of the barrel.  There is no indication if there was anything in the barrels this was aged in…a bit of a hole in the labeling I suppose.  Maybe they were just plain oak barrels?

I go to their website and they have some info that starts to explain what I am experiencing.  I also have to say that the barrel starts to show it’s influence as the beer warms up.  Not bad.  At 9% ABV, it’s definitely a sipper.  Not sure if it’s still at Belmont Station, but it might be worth checking if you want something interesting for a cold night at home.


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