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Monday, November 24, 2008

Elysian Bifröst Winter Ale

Bifröst -- The Rainbow Bridge of Norse mythology. Bifröst spanned the otherwise untravelable distance between Asgard and Midgard; roughly, heaven and earth. (That's pronounced "BIV-rost," BTW, not "BUY-frost.")

I didn't quite get to heaven with my bottle of Elysian Brewing's Bifröst Winter Ale. But it was a nice trip. Bifröst is pleasantly in the "turn it up" category of winter beers, cranked up a little to 6.25%, and 42 IBU (including a nice aromatic dry-hopping with Amarillo and Styrian Goldings). It's got more body than that strength might lead you to expect, not cloyingly so, but enough to grant it some authority. The hops aren't overdone, while the dry-hopping lets some nice aromas -- spicy, earthy, and fresh -- come through.

The more I think about Bifröst, the more I think that this represents the American ale-equivalent of a bock beer, not the variety of ale-brewed bock imitators (Rogue Dead Guy being the best-known). They're good, and they're close to a bock, but this is, I think, closer to the idea, the raison d'etre (or Daseinszweck) of a bock: a bigger, heftier beer for winter comfort. Bifröst achieves this while staying true to its roots, rather than by craftily imitating something other than what it is.

Come the Fimbulwinter and Ragnarok, I'll probably want something much stronger (the Bruichladdich Trestarig might be appropriate). But until the Fire Giants shatter the Rainbow Bridge, I'll be happy with a bottle of Bifröst.

1 comment:

J T. Ramsay said...

I don't really have the beer vocabulary to back it up the way you do, but I wasn't blown away by this either. If it's still on tap at Memphis Taproom, I'll probably try it again, with your comments in mind.