Monday, December 26, 2011

Nøgne Ø: Underlig Jul – Mild, spicy, Christmassy

There’s just something so cozy about drinking dark Norwegian beer at 60 degrees north in Norway during the holiday season, amid falling snow and Santa. Well, for those familiar with this part of the world, you’ll surely know that the latter two are really the stuff for postcards rather than winter’s windy and wet reality. But Nøgne’s Underlig Jul really warms things up, and it may make the holidays more enjoyable (or at least bearable for those holiday skeptics).

While the name, which means curious or strange Christmas, suggests something highly unique, I found nothing truly original in Nøgne’s Ungerlig Jul. It’s malty, spicy, and well balanced in ways not much different than many other Christmas beers out there. Like other Christmas beers, Underlig Jul is a real treat. Life outside the snowflake speckled bottle begins with a dark reddish-brown color and a robust, foamy beige head. The lacing is a bit runny, but dense nonetheless. Giving it a whiff reveals roasted malts, licorice, and some Christmassy spices like ginger and cinnamon in the background. Overall, the taste closely resembles the aroma. Underlig Jul finishes dry and relatively bitter, and the spices leave a faint tingling sensation. 

This is a pretty solid Christmas brew, although not as complex as Nøgne’s God Jul. The label on the bottle suggests trying it with “traditional Christmas cookies” and that is certainly the right thing to do, especially with ginger snaps.


Nøgne Ø, Underlig Jul:

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