In Norway it’s not allowed for regular stores to sell alcoholic beverages above 4.7% ABV, so for most of our craft beer needs we have to go to Vinmonopolet. More and more of the Norwegian craft breweries brew beer below this limit to be able to compete with the boring yellow fizzy lagers that pollute the beer shelves. These beers are usually a bit more expensive than the cheap lagers, but boy are they worth it!
Today I’ll have a look at three such beers from Ægir: Bøyla Blonde Ale, Rallar Amber Ale and Sumbel Porter. These three beers can go pretty well with a 3-course dinner. I’ll leave you with some hints on what to pair them with, along with some tasting notes on all three beers.
Ægir Bøyla Blonde Ale
Some citrus and grass, quite fruity. Almost a bit flowery. Not that much malt is coming through.
Much like the aroma, with some extra citrus. The mouth feel is a bit thin though.
Very short finish. Some fruity flavors are trying to stick around, but after a couple of seconds everything is gone.
This beer goes well with seafood, pizza (not too hot) and some light BBQ dishes. This beer probably doesn’t stand a chance against fat food with powerful seasoning.
I had this beer with scallops seared in butter w/garlic and mild chilies, which worked quite well.
As a low alcohol beer (<=4.7%) this beer is quite OK. It can’t really contend with most beer of similar style found at Vinmonopolet though. Score: 2.9/5.
Ægir Rallar Amber Ale
Caramel sweetness and some malt. I’m also getting some notes from the hops, but not too much.
Also a bit thin mouth feel on this beer. I’m getting malt, some fruity flavors and a small amount of bitterness from the hops.
Longer and better finish on this beer. Mostly malty flavors that stick around.
This is a beer that goes well with BBQ dishes like medium spiced sausages, or hamburgers.
I had this beer with fish pudding in Béchamel sauce which was a disaster. Luckily I had some more of the Bøyla Blonde Ale!
I saw this disaster coming though, but I wanted the meal too much to change it. There is too much malty sweetness in this beer for a plain Béchamel sauce with not much seasoning. The dinner was great though!
For me this beer was a lot better than the Bøyla Blonde Ale. There is a bit more character to this beer. Score: 3/5.
Ægir Sumbel Porter
Pretty good aroma on this beer! Medium dark chocolate, cold coffee and some burnt malts.
The flavor is much like the aroma. A bit more fruity then I would have expected. Pretty powerful beer for such a light mouth feel. Packed with taste!
The mouth feel is a bit thin, but not to the point of it ruining the experience.
Medium/long finish with malts, some chocolate hints and some smoky flavors. Pretty good finish.
I had this beer with chocolate ice cream and almonds, some chocolate sauce and some strawberries. The fruitiness of the beer worked with the strawberries, and the coffee and chocolate flavors of the beer went great with the ice cream and sauce.
For me this was the absolute winner of this threesome. Score: 3.6/5.
For me the best of these three beers was the Ægir Sumbel Porter. The other two beers are superb alternatives to all of the bland macro lagers found in all grocery stores in Norway though.
All these beers can easily be paired with a lot of the “regular” Norwegian dinners being served throughout the country. Bøyla Blond Ale goes well with fish, Rallar Amber ale goes well with pork chops or some mildly spicy sausages, or even a tasty burger on the BBQ, and the Sumbel Porter is very good with chocolate deserts, or even with a cigar after a good meal.
I urge you to pick up some of these beers (or some other good alternatives) instead of the soul-less macro lagers around! Feel free to leave a comment if you have some other ideas for food matches with these beers!
Expect more posts regarding craft beer found in regular grocery stores! If you have some favorites of your own, leave a comment or write on the Facebook page.