The Norwegian yeast called kveik (pronounced k’vike) has become more familiar over the past couple of years in our local beer scene but what’s all the fuss about, how does it differ and what does it bring to the party?
Simply put, a lot of kveik strains are resilient and ferment beer faster and at higher temperatures without causing off-flavours. They can be used in many styles but our local brewers are using it mostly in pale ales, or at least they’re mentioning kveik on those labels. It seems to be the poster boy of the yeast world.
That poster boy is used in at least three Northern Irish pale ales currently on the shelves, so what better excuse does a beer blogger need to do a wee round up of opinions?
First off and giving a tip of the hat to Frank Zappa is Cosmik Debris from Warrenpoint’s Mourne Mountains Brewery. This 4.5% ABV pale is hopped with Citra and Cashmere, giving off an enticing tangerine aroma. It’s a dark tangerine colour in the glass and once to the lips, you get the smooth, sweet taste of mango and pineapple with a back end twang of grapefruit and orange. Low bitterness and ABV help to remind you this is a pale ale and not a big bangin’ New England IPA so feel free to have a couple more.
Next in the kveik line is Community from Lacada in Portrush. The good news story with Community is that financial profits from this 5% ABV pale ale will be used to help people and groups on the north coast. First of all, what a beautifully stunning label from Portrush artist James McGonigle, vibrant is an understatement!
Hopped with Azacca and Bru-1, Community is bright orange in the glass and has a touch more passionfruit zing than the Mourne Mountains beer, a zing that sits happily alongside mango, peach and pineapple. An excellent choice of beer for a warm summer weekend.
The kveik round up concludes with Ballygowan’s Farmageddon and their 4.9% ABV Midnight Sun, a name that gives a nod to its Norwegian connections. It’s lively jumping from can to glass and is darker than the Lacada beer but lighter than the Mourne offering.
An inviting floral aroma wafts around my nostrils and while I believe that kveik isn’t really supposed to taste of anything, this one’s a bit drier and funkier than the others. Belgiany. Farmhousey. Add lemon and grapefruit tartness into the mix and I’m surprised. For a brew hopped with Azacca and Citra, I wasn’t expecting something so different to the previous two beers.
That’s that style partially covered – three different tasting pale ales using kveik. I wonder now if local brewers will be brave enough to mention kveik if they use it in the brewing of other styles?
So Norway, huh? Famous for Vikings, fjords, very expensive beer and now maybe yeast?
Remember, it’s k’vike.