The Grapevine Christmas Beer-Off - The Reykjavik Grapevine

The Grapevine Christmas Beer-Off

The Grapevine Christmas Beer-Off

Published December 12, 2011

JÓLA BOCK 6.2%
Víking Ölgerð/Vífilfell
From the distributors of Coca-Cola. Those are the people that brought you SantaTM, you’d expect something a little more Christmassy. A traditional bock, quite bitter, pleasantly malty, not bad but lacks body and quite dull. Local reviewers have apparently been very happy with it though. Good, not exceptional.
RATING: 3.5/5
MALT JÓLABJÓR 5.6%
Egils
Basically Malt Extract (if you’re North or South-American—think Malta) with an alcohol volume. A sweet stout, very thick and malty and contains liquorice.
DN:
Full-bodied, can enjoy with or without a meal, especially around Christmas and especially with the heavy salted, fatty food
RE: Like the design of the label the beer was a bit overloaded. Too sweet and too much. But it gets points for being unique and I’m curious if it would go well in orange soda (a traditional non-alcoholic Icelandic Christmas drink is made with Malt Extract and orange soda). Might even be awesome.
DN:
In a world where Egill’s Gull wins a prize as the best standard lager in the world, anything is possible.
RATING: 4/5
EINSTÖK ICELANDIC DOBBELBOCK 6.7%
Einstök Brewery
From Akureyri, brainchild of Baldur Kárason brewmaster at Víking Ölgerð.
What the bock is up with all those bocks?
RE:
Christmas beers are strong, I’m getting tipsy
DN:
What the hell is up with this label! Vikings did not wear horns! Let alone antlers!
RE: I like the green colour on the bottle. Very soothing.
DN: The beer is not very demanding. It doesn’t speak for itself.
RE: You’re just pissed off about the label. It’s a fantastic beer, tastes like spruce and chocolate. Full-flavoured and works on its own or with a meal.
RATING: 4.0/5 for beer -1 for label
LEPPALÚÐI 7.5%
Named after the lazy husband of Grýla, the child-devouring ogress of Icelandic Christmas mythology.
DP:
It has a woody…greenwood smell to it. First taste is like sour hey, new milk…manure.
RE: Tastes like shit?
DP: Not quite but it is under-aged
RE: They recommend it with venison or game. Maybe, I don’t have any lying around.
DP: Can’t think of a meal this would go with. Would work well as a marinade for something like sausages.
RE: Overall this is a beer that should have been sold in a smaller bottle, they were going for barley wine but I’m getting an Old English vibe—boozy and cheap.
RATING: 2.5/5
JÓLA KALDI 5.4%
Bruggsmiðjan
Dry ale, hint of orange zest, nuts and rye, dark reddish amber.
DP: It talks a big game with three types of Czech malts. I like the normal Kaldi better. It doesn’t really impress. Remains too long in the aftertaste and too carbonated.
RE: Sheesh, you’re hard to impress. I would call this the best session beer out of the bunch. I can’t really see what’s so Christmas-like about it, though, other than it being heavy on the caramel like the rest.
RATING: 3.5/5
STEKKJASTAUR NR. 7
Borg brugghús
RE: Fantastic red-brown ale, sweet & spicey and everything nicey. Tastes of oats. Kills with a double-smoked lamb, can vouch for it. Also goes great with the first four Metallica albums.
DP: I’m plastered. I’m calling this a night.
The best beer with a meal of the ones tasted. Very solid beer.
RATING: 4.5/5
—–
We regret to say we did not get around to tasting Egils Jólagull, Gæðingur Jólabjór or Víking Jólabjór this year due to time-, budget- and liver-constraints.

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