HaandBryggeriet is a small Norwegian craft brewery that along with the fine gentlemen at Mikkeller, Nogne, and…well, that’s about all I know actually, are revolutionizing Scandanavian beer making. I had heard about this beer for a while and didn’t really see it, until I was reminded of it by Jay of Hedonist Beer Jive, who posted a a review a little while back. On a trip to a local distributor, I found a few dusty bottles, and since this was the only Haand beer available, went for it.
Norwegian Wood is a smoked ale flavored with Juniper Berries, recalling a time when farmhouse brews were common (and if you read the label closely, even mandatory). When I read the label I thought “Smoke from the Oak: Gin Barrel?” but was pleasantly surprised to behold a more rustic brew, with a huge hit of smoke and a tart sweetness from the Juniper Berries. Norwegian Wood recalls dirt, mud, and barns in many respects, and the way it pours is no exception. Clouded, turbid, and with a tan head, this is a very nice looking beer, artfully crafted, beautifully balanced, and a real unique one to nurse for a long time. Let it warm up and smell and taste everything this has to offer, which is quite a lot!
HaandBryggeriet seems like quite a promising brewery from their web page, depicting two killer looking Norwegian dudes chilling with a brew inbetween bottling several hundred bottles of beer in a day long session. They’re aging beer in Aquavit barrels, making sour beers and aging them, and doing so as a gesture of craftsmanship and respect for beer. Isn’t it good?