Getting To Know Nils Oscar
So, it’s onto the rest of Nils Oscar’s range. As my previous post said, I’ve not been the biggest fan of God Lager over the years, and maybe that had tarnished the brewery somewhat for me. My previous impression had tarnished the entire brewery – notions of style over substance, a boutique beer toted around for reasons other than ‘that it tastes really good.’
So when BeerRitz got a hold of pretty much the rest of their range, I was torn as to whether to dive in or not. Of course, as is always the case, pleasant surprises followed.
First up, Rokporter (5.9%abv), a self-styled Smoked Porter from the northern wastelands. The nose is full of sweet woodsmoke with only a hint of soapiness, and it’s certainly a heady enough mix to make you want to dive in. There’s bitter chocolate in the body; a drying, cocoa powder note, and the relatively thick mouthfeel is offset by a lively spritz. It’s a comforting taste – sweet, dry and full of muted freshly-chopped-wood notes – but it’s slightly too light to really warm you through, which is what I’d have liked, to be honest. Still, an interesting beer that would be a great match for cured meats.
Ctrl Alt Delete (which, by the way, is a great name) is a perplexing one, too. It pours a lovely tobaccoburst (one for you Les Paul fans out there) hue…all the colours of autumn swirling around in the glass as it settles. There’s that odd earthy note in the nose again; chalky, minerally and finishing with a herbal finish. Again, it’s a light beer to drink in terms of mouthfeel, and certainly isn’t cloying; but just misses the mark in terms of satisfaction. I want bready notes in the nose , I want a rich, sweet toffee-and-gingerbread flavour in the body of my Altbiers, and this just falls ever so slightly short. Maybe it’s too subtle – let’s turn it up a bit!
Kalasol (5.2%abv) rides to the rescue, however. What an interesting beer; a shimmeringly amber (remember those fake glass coals you used get in electric fires in the 70’s and 80’s? That colour) Vienna lager with plenty of grainy, nutty flavours happening in the body, and a clean, dry finish with a surprisingly assertive twist of orange peel at the end. The whole package is lovely; plenty of character, satisfying, and leaves the palate clean for the next sip, which happens at some rate. This beer would be wonderful with some Pizza or – as I have typed in capitals in my tasting notes – a massive, salty, soft pretzel. Lovely.
Hop Yard IPA (7.5%abv) proves that the guys at Nils Oscar are no slouches when it comes to hops, either. As the name would suggest, it’s a bold, brassy IPA with an axe to grind – high, riding bitterness appears almost immediately, puckering the lips and inviting another sip. Boiled sweets with an undertow of creamy malt dominate the body, and the sip finishes, offering a bag of sherbert lemons and pink grapefruit. Perfectly pitched and both sweet and dry enough to satisfy hop-monsters, it’s a bloody good beer.
So; overall, a mixed bag – but I’ve certainly adjusted my outlook when it comes to Nils Oscar. Now, can I have another Kalasol, please? Oh, and a gigantic Pretzel whilst you’re at it?