The Beer: Brewed with smoked Icelandic barley, Einstok's limited-edition Icelandic Winter Ale is a Winter Warmer par excellence! And to enhance that wintery hygge feeling, Einstok infused their brew with Bavarian hops and spruce tips, specially cured at the local Eimverk distillery to give a bold medicinal, piney quality.
On the tongue, the sweet smoked barley and pine needles give a satisfying whisky character that will warm your bones like no other. If they had to choose a warming brew for Valhalla, this would be it!
The brewery: A firm favourite with Beery Christmas 2016 customers, we're delighted to welcome back Iceland's Einstok Olgerd. Located less than 100km south of the arctic circle on the far north coast of Iceland, Einstok is one of the world's most northerly breweries.
The up-and-coming Craft Brewery attributes the exceptional quality of its beers to "ancient Viking ingredients", as well as the purest glacial meltwater taken direct from the local Hlíðarfjall mountain, an imposing volcanic pile some 6km from the brewery's front door, and not forgetting their totally fearless Viking spirit!
The style: Designed to bring a rosy glow to your cheeks on even the coldest of days, Winter Warmers are characterised by a big sweet, malty body underscored by a variety of warming spices such as nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon.
This invigorating spicing is further enhanced by a generous alcohol note, spreading across the palate and giving a pleasing sensation of central heating. Combine all this with the very subtlest of hops profiles, and you've got winning combination that's sure to keep out the cold!
Food pairings: As an aperitif, rich, spicy Winter Warmers are the perfect prelude to hearty stews and slow-cooked meats. Why not make a meal of it with slow-roast pork shoulder accompanied by steamed kale and an unctuous honey-infused apple sauce?
If you're in the mood for something less substantial, it's also great for pairing with ripe, pungent soft and hard cheeses like Jarlsberg, Beaufort, mature cheddars, brie or tomme de montagne.
Einstok tell us that the ultimate food pairing – though something of an acquired taste – is the traditional thorramtur – a selection of meats including boiled liver sausage, smoked sheep's head, air-dried lamb leg, and fermented shark! Thankfully the local supermarket is unlikely to stock most of these ingredients!
Bright gold, white head
Tropical, exotic fruit, sweet malt
Mango, lychee, passionfruit and pineapple, caramel, dry, bitter