Anything emblazoned with the head of a viking and not one, but two battle axes can only result in a single outcome. Total badassery. From the Viking of Stamford Bridge (who was only felled after taking a spear to the gonads) to the impossibly proportioned Stoick the Vast of How To Train Your Dragon fame (tiny tiny head), we can all agree that Vikings as a whole seem pretty damn cool. So I’m expecting great things from this nicely designed Einstök Ölgerð Icelandic White Ale.
Hailing all the way from a brewery only 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle and gold winner of the L.A. International Commercial Beer Festival this year it seems that whatever is in this little bottle is indeed a badass. It boasts of its tradition Belgian wheat beer brew-style, with an added twist of coriander and orange peel – an interesting combination that will need to do battle with my dragon-like tongue-receptors before it wins me over.
By the beard of Odin!
…If Odin got old and went grey. So white might be a slight exaggeration but this brew is a sun-faded cloudy straw colour, a bit Hoegaarden-ish, in fact. It’s what I imagine those Nordic seas to look like from the side of a Drake in the long slog over to conquer the English, with the waves cresting into a thick, brilliant white head. There’s a lot of energy in the first pour, hordes of little Icelandic bubbles rushing into battle, but after a brief skirmish they have subsided and the beer stills.
As I would think our friend Stoick up there has, it radiates a pungent smell, not of rugged manly war sweat though. It’s spiky and citrusy with a definite hit of coriander. Now, if you’re one of those wrong’uns who don’t enjoy coriander I can’t even begin to understand where you have gone wrong in life – but I don’t think this will be appealing. Luckily for me, my life choices have led me to the wondrous realms of coriander opulence. Let’s see if the taste is as strong as the rest of it:
Valhalla be a beer
Apart from being complete barbaric champions the Vikings also got their ideologies right. After being slain in battle and taken to Valhalla they would then look forward to getting a goat (ambitious, I know). This goat wasn’t one of those runty little things you see too many of in Wales though, oh no, this goat would squirt beer from its udders. Endless beer. I know what you’re thinking – a bit phallic isn’t it? Not sure I’d be comfortable with that. Well let me tell you, I’d milk much worse if it were to give me an endless supply of Icelandic White Ale.
It’s got a strong overtone of coriander, the orange is noticeable but doesn’t conflict. The wheat makes it nice and smooth, a creamy medium body (Stoick might be a touch disappointed at this). It’s light on the swallow and it’s very refreshing. This beer is very different to traditional English beers – it’s fresh and tart, energising even… I can’t stop sipping.
To confirm, if you’re not a fan of coriander then this beer won’t be for you (sort your life out). But for anyone who loves that citrusy tartness over a smooth, well-balanced flavour then get into this brew. It’s as close as your going to get the big Val any time soon. The only thing letting this beer down is a lack of aftertaste. If it could follow up with a nice subtle bitterness then I would definitely grow out my beard and call myself Leif.