I last went to Finland many years ago. Three hours of sunlight a day, freezing cold weather, masses of pickled vegetables…as a five year old it was a strange and frightening place, but these days it sounds like a dream come true. Anyway, aged five, I wouldn’t have appreciated the beers on offer.
This is a selection of IPAs from the Beer 52 Finland box. If I remember rightly, beer there is incredibly expensive and the drink driving limit is zero, so the done thing is to walk five miles along a dark, frozen road, have just one extremely strong beer, then stumble home.
Well, not so here. No stumbling required here, I’m home already.
Helsinki Brewing Co, Once upon a time in Helsinki
It’s not clear whether they mean this is from the west coast of Finland or it’s in the style of an American West Coast IPA. Maybe both.
OUATIH pours amber and clear with a generous, loose white head. The aroma it gives off is resinous and spicy, sweet marmalade and rye. The mouthfeel is thick and sticky, lots of dextrose. Resin, rye and orange dominate, with bitter peel on the finish.
It’s not the 10% big beast I would order if I were only having one beer before a long walk home, but it punches above its weight for 5.7%. 4/5
Pyynikin, Mango Watermelon Milkshake IPA
It’s common knowledge that if you want to make something sound fancy and tasty, you ramp up the number of adjectives. After all, this is not just a beer blog: it’s an independently run, objective and occasionally hilarious beer blog.
For a beer that is supposedly all about mango and watermelon, this smells an awful lot like grapefruit. If there is mango, it’s the bitter, astringent mango rind, rather than the sweet, juicy, golden flesh. As for watermelon, there’s perhaps a little ruby sweetness on the palate, but it’s subtle beneath the grapefruit rind overtones.
This isn’t a bad beer, but I feel like for all those adjectives, it doesn’t do what it says on the tin. 2/5
71 Brewing x Lumi, Musta Lumi Black IPA
I wasn’t terribly impressed by 71 Brewing when I tried their lager a few months ago, but I’ll keep an open mind here.
It’s a black IPA, so I’ll stifle my surprise to see that this beer is black. The head is tight and frothy, but it fades over a few minutes. The aroma is dark, malty; toasted brown bread and…funky. I’m picking up sulphur.
Charcoal on the palate, and burnt bitterness. There’s a little chocolate, but it’s mostly carbon.
This is not nice. It’s not often I get to try a Finnish beer, which makes it even more of a shame that it’s one I can’t finish. 1/5