Posted: May 18, 2012
It might be a contradiction in terms to advise someone to hurry up and savor something. However, if I find myself behind that person in line somewhere, I might be singing a different tune. This sense of urgency can be traced back to a specific beer, its unique character and its suddenly abrupt and unwelcome departure. The beers from Scandinavia never cease to engage and inspire me. From the complexity of the grain profile in their stouts and porters, to the chewy richness of their malts or the tongue-lashing brightness in their choice of hops. They always keep me interested. We have a small section for these beers and I can often be found going on to no end about the region and their offerings with customers I meet in the aisle until they finally say, Yes, that is very interesting, but I was just looking for a Pinot Noir. The Norwegian Brewery Nøgne-ø is a magnificent example of what is being exported from that region. They have been producing some of the more interesting and ambitious beers in the craft world for years now. Their Imperial Dunkel Wit wowed me when I had it for the first time a few months back. It was so complex with a barrage of ever changing flavors. I was floored by it and just couldnt shake it the memory. So I did what most beer managers would do, I bought as much as I could find so I could preach the gospel and hand sell it to my customers. But after speaking with a sales representative from the brewery a month or so later, he explained to me that the beer was amongst a list that would be discontinued. Bad news comes just like that. The good news is I was in possession of the product , so now would be a good time to re-visit the beer and see if it was everything I remember. After pouring it into the glass, the deep, roasted color reminded that the dunkel in the title means dark beer. The smell was so unique to where I had to go in again to get another whiff. The color was dark and deep, so I was expecting chocolate, but the nose was most certainly lemon with a bright concentrated citrus pop. As I tasted it, I quickly got to the richness of the malt, but it still somehow managed to stay on the lighter side. It seemed as if the citrus and acidity was keeping the flavor a little more buoyant. The most amazing thing about the beer is that it seems to bloom as it breathes. It displays a little piney note of rosemary and a slight bitter hint of cilantro. But it keep going from there. Five minutes later the pine flavor morphs into juniper. Five more minutes allows the slightest bit of delicate floral notes and lavender to show through. I do want you to find out if your local Binnys does carry these last few bottles of this little gem. You can take your time to prolong the enjoyment of this bottle, however it will still leave you with the desire for more. That might not be a contradiction, but I wouldnt classify it as a problem either. Obligatory Availability Disclaimer: As mentioned, Nøgne-ø DunkelWit is in dwindling supply. Check your local Binny's for availability, and if it's there, be sure to grab as much as you can. Once it's gone, it's gone.