Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week:" Nøgne Ø Porter
By Chuck Sudo in Food on Apr 16, 2010 7:20PM
If beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy, as Benjamin Franklin once surmised, then the Norwegians behind Nøgne Ø are the equivalent of missionaries luring bloodthirsty Vikings away from the halls of Asgard with the allure of satiny ales. Brewmaster Kjetil Jikiun came to craft brewing like nearly every other successful brewer we've met: he started out as a homebrewer. Jikiun is also a commercial airline pilot, was able to expand his knowledge of beer while flying around the globe and became a fan of the quality of beers being produced by American craft and microbreweries.
At last week's Blackbird brewmaster dinner, Jikiun told diners the inspiration for Nøgne Ø porter was Perseus Porter, from Washington State's Elysian Brewing. "I decided that I would make my version of Elysian's porter the next time I was home," he said. "Mine eventually turned out better." as you can see from the photo, there's excellent carbonation on this beer. As the head dissipates it leaves nice thick lace rings on the glass, with a nose of coffee, caramel and molasses. For all that sweetness on the nose, this porter is sneakily medium bodied, with a hint of spice complementing flavors of caramel and chocolate. Blackbird chef Mike Sheerin must have picked up on the chocolate on his palate. The porter was served with a bold preparation of Iberico pork neck, bacon, black grapes, fava beans and banana consommé, and pulled it off masterfully.
Beer Menus Chicago lists Nøgne Ø Porter for sale on draft at the Local Option (1102 W. Webster), which was one of the busier beer bars during last week's Craft Brewers Conference. If it's there, a 12-ounce glass wills set you back $8, but you'll get your money's worth.