By David Ort
Image: David Ort
Many craft brewers started brewing at home or had a great marketing idea they used to find a niche in the beer market. A small, exceptionally well-trained group left a career with a macrobrewery to open their own operation. After 16 years at Carlsberg in Denmark, master brewer Anders Kissmeyer joined this last group when he founded his own Copenhagen brewery, Nørrebro Bryghus in 2003.
In the eleven years since, Kissmeyer has augmented his reputation as a skilled brewmaster by collaborating with a long and diverse list of some of the world’s best. Kissmeyer collabs sometimes feature the Nordic wild herbs that are a calling card of contemporary Scandinavian cuisine.
The Kissmeyer Nordic Pale Ale he made with Beau’s All-Natural Brewing in Vankleek Hill fits this description since sweet gale, yarrow, dried heather flowers, and rosehips all make it onto the ingredient list. As well, cranberries and maple syrup give the beer a Canadian touch.
In a beer tulip, a firm head of moderately fine foam sits on top of a clear, pale golden beer. I had some difficulty teasing the herbal aromas away from what the hops contribute, but the whole picture is dried wildflowers, mango and a touch of pine resin. The flavor starts and finishes on clean bitter notes with a pleasant tropical sweetness in between for balance. The herbal additions seem to have amplified the complexity of the grassy, floral, and woodsy hop flavours.
Put the Nordic Pale Ale in the lead-off spot for a session that includes more typical examples of the style or its unusual ingredients will stick out like a sore thumb and it will lose its intriguing balance.
A growing number of critics are asking whether collaboration brews distract from the task of producing well-made standbys. That would definitely be an unfortunate outcome. On the other hand, these endeavours seem to be a release valve for creative energy that can build up when your primary goal is repetitive consistency. As well, consumers get to try something different and for bottles with Kissmeyer on the label we know it will be extraordinarily so.
Beau’s Kissmeyer Nordic Pale Ale, $4.85 for a 600 ml bottle, LCBO #365593
In addition to covering beer, new restaurants and food trucks for Post City, David Ort writes about food and drink for several Toronto publications including his own site, Food With Legs. He is the author of The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook; now in stores and available for ordering online. For more of his thoughts on food, beer and life in general, follow him on Twitter or get in touch at email@example.com.