Last week I reviewed some of the special beers from the NogneO range but they also have a number of the more common styles. Today I will review no less than 5 IPAs (all above 7.5% ABV!) plus a brown ale, porter and Imperial stout. (Two IIPAs formed my FABPOW post). Better get my drinking head on then!
The first couple I tried were both disappointing. Not that there was anything wrong with them. Both the Porter and Brown Ale are competently brewed beers and drink well enough, but there's nothing stand-out about them. I can get better examples of each for half the price I paid in any number of off-licences in the UK.
For the Norwegian market they showcase the respective styles, but its not a beer that would find much favour in the home of these styles.
I'd love to try this one fresh.
The same applies to the IPA. You know that its cascade in there, that grapefruit bitterness and hint of lemons is recognisable but the taste is somewhat diminished. Its a bit stickier that the pale ale and a slight alcohol burn at the end. It doesn't need to be this strong. Heftier still at 8.5% is the Two Captains another home-brew competition winner. Its nice enough with sprightly carbonation and pineapple esters on the nose. Its almost Belgique, but apparently just a UK yeast.
Imperial Stout top rated of the range with the Rate Beer crowd. So how does it stack up? Its very viscous black, tan head. The complex nose of vanilla, bourbon, tobacco, toffee invites investigation of the flavours. Thick and rich in body, sweet malt, sticky, slight sourness. The finish is as you would expect full of rich roasted coffee and dark chocolate, but also a fair bit of dried fruit too. It didn't disappoint!
Of those I've tried I'd suggest the Holy Smoke as my favourite and if you're a fan of rauchbeer or [eaty islay drams give it a go. The imperial stout is also particularly good; so look out for that. Aside from that try the pale ones fresh and only try the others if your wallet can stretch that far.
Of course, NogneO produce a lot more beers, which I may try in the future, but I doubt I'll be specifically seeking them out as there are so many other brewers, UK or otherwise, I've not yet tried at all. It seems its best to try them in the UK though as (although pricey) they're apparently cheaper here than in Norway!