Monday, January 9, 2012

Nørrebro: New York Lager – Would really love to like it. Maybe next time

Nørrebro is one of the 10 districts that constitute the city of Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital and largest urban center. Nørrebro is also the name of a brewery and restaurant located within that district in what seems to be an almost one-block long and somewhat statist looking red brick building on Ryesgade (Ryes street). Since the brewery first opened in 2003, they have turned out some 28 different beer varieties covering an impressive assortment of different tastes (see Nørrebro's website).

Nørrebro’s New York Lager is a beer that I would really love to like, but find it hard to actually do so. For starters, the timidity of its slightly off-white head was rather disappointing, although it was still well-retained. The translucent copper color is gives Nørrebro’s New York Lager an inviting and refreshing look. The lacing, however, was a bit weak, although sufficient enough to paint the inside of the glass with some sticky suds.

This particular sample is the second time I’ve tried Nørrebro’s New York Lager, and as I remember it, the first sample (taken approximately a year ago) was substantially more aromatic, tasty, and well-balanced. In this second round, the aroma is somewhat weak, but spending a bit of time sniffing it does pay off. Grassy and malty tones are definitely there, along some citrus references most likely from the Cascade hops. 

The overall taste is much like the nose, with hints of malt, vegetables, and citrus fruits, although the malt note should have been a bit more focused for what is essentially a Vienna lager. The mouth feel is watery, and the carbonation is mild. What I found most interesting was that Nørrebro was thoughtful enough to use a Cascade hop, but disciplined enough to use it in moderation. The Cascade’s aromas and flavors were there, but way in the background. Vienna lagers should not have the hoppy bite that sometimes comes with an overly ambitious use of Cascade hops.

However, the finish is way off the mark. What I expected was a sweet malty character that dried out into a soft bitter finish. What I got instead was a weaker than expected malt character that transitioned into a strange, somewhat tangy acidic finish. Given the timidity of its appearance, the rather weak malt character, and the less than appealing finish, I found this particular sample of Nørrebro’s New York Lager to be a bit of a disappointment. That said, I will not suggest avoiding it. I’ve had Nørrebro’s products before and found them to be respectable, including their New York Lager. In fact, I look forward to reviewing it again and hope it performs better than this particular sample.


Nørrebro New York Lager on

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