Currently reading Gavin Francis’ True North, a fascinating account of his travels through the Shetlands, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland — so it’s entirely pertinent that this little beauty from Borg brewery in Iceland turns up on my desk. It’s a fairly pale creature — the sun is a stranger, maybe a result of spending time in the caverns of maturation; though the paleness is of the golden ilk and so perhaps we’re thinking of fields of barley ripening in the sun. Whatever, it looks pretty beautiful with bubbles lazily tracing their way up the glass to meet their destiny in the Kate Moss thinness of the collar of foam. Bavarian-style Pilsener is apparently the aim (with Mittelfruh adding nobility, though the website talks of Pilsen), and according to the can I have (yes it’s a craft can or whatever you want to call it) the beer was developed in close collaboration with several pubs in Iceland.
There’s a gorgeous freshness about the nose, a sensation of freshly kilned lager malt, a bath salts freshness, a brewery source freshness that amazes me given its long travails from the far north (to be drunk in tandem with a hot spring perhaps?). The palate has a great lemony snickett of hop notedness that I adore in noble hops (when I wrote said entry for the OCB I was amazed to discover that the whole concept only went back to the 1970s), along with a quenching semi-bitter, bitter lemon bite that Pilseners seem to emerge into the world with. The finish has a dry and Wildean crispness about it, with lemony hints rushing backwards and forwards. It’s a rather delicious Pilsener and I for one are now thinking of how I can get to Reykjavik to taste it in situ (perhaps in a hot spring).