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Yummy Icelandic beer

After a recent trip to Iceland, our friend Philip came over with two bottles he brought back with him. "This one," he said pointing to a liqueur called Björk, "tastes like licking a rock. And this one," pointing to the other, "tastes like licking a rock that's been in a dirty shoe." 

I've never much wondered what Björk tastes like; based on recent works, I can barely stand  to hear her, much less suffer an assault on another sense. But it turns out that björk is Icelandic for birch, and this was a birch-infused liqueur. I rather liked it. It had an earthiness, to be sure, but also a faintly minty backnote. If you've ever had real birch beer, you'll know the flavor I'm talking about, only much lighter, more subtle. 

The other bottle was a moss schnapps. Earthy is the most kind euphemism I can come up with for how this tasted. At first it was merely odd, bitter and almost chemical. And then it kept coming in waves of palate-wrenching bitterness. The finish was mercilessly long. I can still conjure the flavor on my mind's tongue. 

Not everything from Iceland is so challenging on the palate. A few months ago we had brunch at Bar Tartine, and there tried an Icelandic white ale called Einstöck

dpaul and I have fairly divergent tastes in beer. He's more of a lager kind of guy, whereas I like a little tooth in my brew. He's all Stella Artois; I'm Pliny the Elder

This one straddles the very fine line where our tastes converge. Light enough to please dpaul's delicate palate, it has significant body and rich flavor. In fact, it has a high note that is faintly reminiscent of the backnote on the Björk liqueur. And fortunately completely devoid of notes of moss. 

Perhaps it would be just the thing to wash down a hardy bite of hákarl

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. I’ve never been very fond of schnapps, but maybe that’s because no one has ever suggested I try one that was made of moss.
    The beer sounds interesting. I wonder if it can be found around here somewhere. I’m going to look into that.

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