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Aass Balders Brygg

Aass Balders Brygg
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Formerly brewed at Aass Bryggeri
Style: Spice/Herb/Vegetable
Drammen, Norway


on tap


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RATINGS: 4   MEAN: 2.75/5.0   WEIGHTED AVG: 2.75/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 141   ABV: 4.7%
Beer with a flavour of aquavit. Produced in Norway for A. Ystad & Co. a.s., phone 90764646. Herbs have been used in beer brewing since ancient times. In Norway, caraway and juniper, among others, have been basic herbs besides hops since the Middle Ages. English settlers in America brought with them tarragon for their kitchen gardens, to add flavour to their beer. Balders Brygg (Brew) is based on these 4 herbs.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 11/20
Beer5000 (5903) - Kristiansand, NORWAY - FEB 1, 2009
330 ml bottle. Golden body with a very small white head. Aroma is not strong, quite ordinary grainy as usually for an Aass pilsner, but coming aware of the story behind this beer you may sense several interesting herbs in your nose. It’s not strong, but they are there similar to what you find in many Norwegian aquavit. The same goes for the flavor, first a quite ordinary Aass pilsner, a bit on the sweeter side, then a hint of some herbal spices. The spices are not really distinct for me, except for the anis maybe. I really like this idea, but I think this would have been lot more interesting with another base beer than lager.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 8/20
Furseth (2090) - Kungälv, SWEDEN - APR 25, 2007
Bottle: Light yellow colour, with a flat head. Aroma of grain, and dry hops. Flavor is grainy,som sweet elemets,thin body, short bitter finish.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 1/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
omhper (23513) - Tyresö, SWEDEN - OCT 28, 2004
UPDATED: DEC 1, 2004 Bottled. Yellow colour, no head. Herbal spicy aroma. The interesting spices, the same a s in aquavit, on top a very average beer. A little sweet with vague malt character and a bitterness that only derives from herbal spices.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Sigmund (6719) - Tau, NORWAY - SEP 14, 2004
(330 ml bottle). This beer is contract brewed by Aass by the initiative of Mr. Arvid Ystad. I had a nice conversation with him about the background of his initiative. He also sent me a memo about the use of herbs in Norwegian traditional brewing. However, this beer is not an ale like traditional Norwegian farmbrew, it is based on a standard Aass pale lager with juniper berries, caraway/cumin and tarragon (estragon) added in the brewing process. These are herbs recognizable by modern Norwegians from the flavouring of aquavit, and Mr. Ystad emphasizes that they were already well known in Norway from the art of brewing, when aquavit was invented at a much later stage. Balders Brygg (named after Odin’s son Balder, Norse mythology) looks like a standard pale lager with a moderate head, but the aroma and flavour are much better due to the herbs used. The tarragon and caraway (to some degree reminiscent of aniseed) dominate both aroma and flavour, while the juniper berries are more subdued. Mr. Ystad himself thinks that the tarragon is more dominant than he intended, I would also like the juniper berries to stand out more than they do. But these herbs can't hide the fact that the basis of this beer is a pale lager with a rather thin mouthfeel. Props to Mr. Ystad for his initiative, but Aass Bryggeri should clearly have taken a leap forward and made an ALE with these herbs. As it is, Balders Brygg is at least a nice change of pace from the standard pilseners / pale lagers that dominate the Norwegian beer scene.

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