29 May 2008

Sodding great

It started with some puerile punnage last month on Knut's blog. Actions have consequences, even in the blogosphere, so next thing Knut presents me not only with a bottle of the hilariously-titled Soddøl, but also an actual can of sodd: the Norwegian stew after which it's named. That's me taught a lesson about idle blog-commentary.

I'm used to the (for want of a better word) sober approach to beer names employed by Norwegian craft brewers Nøgne Ø and Haandbryggeriet. When they make a pale ale, they're most likely to call it "Pale Ale". But their new compatriot, Inderøy Gårdsbryggeri, has taken a more liberal approach to labelling, and as well as this stew-inspired pale ale, they have a porter called Ankerøl and a kölsch-alike called Kvamsholmer. By the sounds of it they're a tiny operation in a hostile environment, but I wish them the best of luck. Especially since I can now say first-hand that at least one of their beers is excellent.

Red-amber Soddøl has that typical Norwegian high gassiness, making pouring a long-drawn-out affair, but leaving a firm and lasting off-white head above a lightly cloudy body. The dense sediment collects in the bottom of the bottle, of which more later. The aroma is sweet and candy-like and the mouthfeel very full. First up flavourwise are roasted, almost smoky, malt notes followed up with a heavy brown sugar sweetness. An understated bitterness finishes it off perfectly. With the substantial lees added to the glass, this bitterness rises slightly, but the heavy treacley malt remains the driving force.

After a few filling mouthfuls I thought to look at the strength and was surprised to see it's a mere 4.5% ABV. Big flavour in a sessionable beer is definitely something to be welcomed. It makes for a perfect year-round winter warmer, and I think I can see where the stew associations came from.

From this day forth there shall be no higher compliment to pay a pale ale than "That stuff? Tastes like Soddøl."

11 comments:

  1. And how did you like the sodd? I'm sorry to say the canned version isn't up to much, but it's convenient for check in luggage!

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  2. I rather enjoyed it. I've had some very bad canned meat experiences in my time, but the little sausagey balls were perfectly edible. I will admit to having added HP Sauce half way through, but as Norwegian culinary experiences go, it beats dried fish or certain marine mammals we won't mention in the interests of diplomacy.

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  3. So you've tried the marine mammals?

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  4. Mrs Beer Nut wouldn't let me. Yes, I have a wife instead of a conscience.

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  5. Mmmmm...sodd.

    Have I (as an Atlantic Canadian) tried marine mammals? I eat everything else from the sea. I must have had a seal flipper sometime along the way but I can't recall. I know I did forgo the offer of muktuk.

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  6. Do 'certain sea mammals' fall into Mrs TBN's carnivore ethic i.e. she won't eat anything smaller than herself? What about walrus? Is that permitted?

    Strangely I had a weird conversation recently with a work colleague who comes with me on my flights of fancy rather than attempt to reel me in, as most do, and we had the idea for a 'club your own seal cub' restaurant for dedicated carnivores. It's so deliciously un-PC that I had to embrace it.

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  7. It was animals of the muktuk-bearing variety I was thinking of in particular, Alan. I wasn't even allowed into restaurants that had it on the menu.

    Mrs Beer Nut's carnivore ethic does transcend size boundaries in several instances, Thom, and this is indeed one of them. I don't remember the outcome of The Great Ostrich Debate, however. I think they're fair game.

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  8. Thom - "and we had the idea for a 'club your own seal cub' restaurant for dedicated carnivores."

    A mate of mine and I reasoned that the cuter an animal it is the better it tastes. I want to see what Panda tastes like!

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  9. We don't actually eat the blubber. Someone hatched a scheme to export it to Japan, but there was too much PCB mixed in with the fat.

    The Japanese tourists are very pleased that they can get marine mammal sashimi here, I think it makes them less homesick. I prefer making a stew.

    Hmmm. Hvalsodd? With an Imperial Stout?

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  10. I'd have gone with something paler and hoppier, but then I don't know what the damn things taste like.

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  11. They taste far better than they sing IMHO.

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