Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ægir: Rallar (Amber Ale) – Caramel, apples, dark chocolate and more

“Rallar” is a Norwegian word that was used to describe migrant industrial workers during the 1800s and early 1900s, most notably those that worked on building the railroad line that stretches from Oslo in eastern Norway across the plateaus to reach Bergen on the west coast. The construction road used for building the railroad is called “Rallarvegen”, which today is a well-travelled hiking route. One of the endpoints of “Rallarvegen” is in the majestic fjord town of Flåm, the home to Ægir’s brewery.

The term “Rallar, however, is a sort of curious choice for this fine ale. After all, the price of this beer is far from working class.  But for me, it’s one of the best amber ale’s I’ve had in recent years, and it’s truly a treat for me and anyone who happens to drop in for a visit, although serving too many of these to guests (and to myself) can get expensive. But it’s worth it. 

Life in the glass begins with a medium-brown pour, culminating in a tall and well-retained fluffy off-white head. The lacing is tight and sticky. Taking a whiff reveals a very powerful aroma with an ample amount of complexity given its timid 4.7 percent ABV: think caramel, apples, dark chocolate, and a hint of spice. The mouthfeel is slightly watery and, for the first second or so, there does not seem to be much taste to it aside from a bit of apples perhaps. But, after two to three seconds on the palate, there is a burst of chocolate and caramel that recedes into a nutty and slightly bitter finish. In short, swallowing it too quickly will leave very little in the way of taste. But, letting sit on the palate for a bit really turns this ale into a wonderful treat. Overall, it’s well balanced and a great session beer.


Ægir Brewery: 

Image credits

Cardinal Pub: 

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