Who doesn’t love some fresh java?

Not so long ago I had the pleasure of downing a couple of pints at Biero (or as I like to call it: Paradise), and I chanced upon a rather curious brew from the Norwegian mob at HaandBryggeriet.

Obviously this was quite exciting, as I’d only found one of their beers previously in a bottle shop (their smoked beer made with Juniper berries). These Scandanavian brewers also tend to make ‘big’ beers. Big, in terms of flavour and style.

The Costa Rica is a coffee porter. Now for those of you who know something about beer, in a wide range of porters and stouts you get coffee flavours. However, this one is actually made with Costa Rican coffee beans (hence the name).

Naturally I ordered a pint. It’s the real man’s beer size. Pots/schooners/middies – depending on your location – are all well and good, but pints not only provide you with enough beer to properly quench a thirst, but they also allow for the flavours of the beer to change-up a little bit as it warms slightly.

As is the ‘authentic’ method, I smelt the beer first. As expected, big coffee nose, with some semi-sweet dark chocolate notes to it.

Onto the taste. And here’s where it gets interesting.

Now bear with me, because it’s an odd flavour profile to describe.

You get almost sour chocolate notes at the beginning, before the coffee malt flavours kick in, a smooth mouthfeel, followed by a semi-bitter, dry finish.

I’ve always been a fan of darker beers during colder weather (this is the polar opposite to a thirst-quenching summer ale), and this one didn’t disappoint.

It’s a massive beer in terms of flavour, and one that seems to improve as it warms up and allows the flavours to air a bit more.

It seems there’s no denying it: The Norwegians do make some exceptional beer. It’s just a pity they’re so damned expensive….


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