HaandBryggeriet Norwegian Wood

Total Score: 7.9/10 Smoke1 Nut1 Wood1 Tulipglass1

Time for some Norwegian Wood, which would sound a bit X-Rated were it not for the novel by Haruki Murakami with its title based on The Beatles song “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”. HaandBryggeriet are actually a Norwegian brewer, so I guess in this beer the reference has come full circle (as this brew is smoked with actual Norwegian wood).

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: A pleasing hazy deep auburn body with a massive 3 inch tan head that soon settles to a thin lace on top. HaandBryggeriet are (for me) renowned for their explosive heads – their Kreklingøl ruined my last keyboard (which is why I always open beers in the kitchen now). 7/10.

S: Smoke notes give this brew a burnt sesame oil aroma, followed by toasted pine, hints of pepper, and a thin malt base, expecting little but smoke in the flavour now – a bit too much for my liking. 6/10.

T: The flavour, thankfully, is delightfully sweet, smoky and nutty. There is a dry Juniper berry finish and more nuts than you can poke a squirrel at. The burnt sesame oil flavour lingers on well into the aftertaste and is right on the border of being overbearing. 9/10.

M: Mid to light(ish) bodied with a classic HaandBryggeriet explosive carbonation that strangely does not give me the hiccups like most fizzy drinks. Perhaps a touch watery is the biggest criticism with this beer. 5/10.

D: Well this is quite a departure from any other beer I’ve ever had. Even a Rauchbier like Schlenkerla Urbock tastes different to this Smoked Beer. I give it big points for being so far out there and unique, and despite it being a bit watery/gassy, I fully endorse this brew – if like me – your tongue is seeking new challenges in the beer world. One of the best HaandBryggeriet brews so far, and I would recommend this first before you attempt to topple the tipple (Odin’s Tipple). 9/10.

Food match: The sesame oil smoke in this brew made me long for fried egg noodles in sesame sauce.

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