Sunday, January 1, 2012

Haandbryggeriet: Fyr og Flamme – A nearly perfect resinous and piney IPA

Hailing from Drammen, Norway, about a half-hour drive south of Oslo, Haandbryggeriet brews a very creative line of products, although not all of them have been big hits with me personally. But Fyr og Flamme (to be excited, lit. fire and flame) is an awesome brew – one that captures a lot of the essence of what an IPA should be. For starters, the head nearly explodes out of the glass when pouring Fyr og Flamme, although the head level is totally controllable with a delicate pour (unlike their Nissemor that I recently reviewed). The creamy white head quickly settles to a drinkable level, leaving a beautiful lacing matrix and a translucent amber body topped by a well retained white cap. Overall, the appearance predicts a top-notch, highly refreshing IPA.

The aroma is all business, mostly hops, and totally awesome: Smells of pine and resin dominate, but are also accompanied by a grapefruit-like context. Malt references are present, but difficult to discern, which perhaps detracts just a bit from Fyr og Flamme’s overall appeal, at least for me. It’s also perhaps a bit less florally when compared to other IPAs, but bouquet notes are definitely present. The aroma accurately predicts the taste: The assertive piney and resinous taste is supported by a lighter citrusy background and some spicy notes. Again, malt references are difficult to pin down. The finish is sufficiently bitter and somewhat dry. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, with generous amounts of carbonation. 

Overall, Fyr og Flamme does a remarkable job when presenting itself. It’s a near perfect representation of what a resinous and piney IPA should be like and exemplifies Haandbryggeriet’s capacity to turnout some amazingly complex and well-balanced brews. If you like IPAs, I can promise you that Fyr og Flamme will not disappoint you.


Image credits

Bernt Rostad

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