Beer Man is a weekly profile of beers from across the country and around the world.
This week: Einstök Icelandic White Ale
Einstök Ölgerd, EHF, Akureyri, Iceland
I’ve always enjoyed witbiers, as the Belgians spell it, and the white ale style also has been a popular beer for American microbreweries to produce.
Einstök hails from Iceland and its claim to fame is using Icelandic water in its beers. As its website states, “Einstök Ölgerd is located just 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle in the fishing port of Akureyri, Iceland. There, the water flows from rain and prehistoric glaciers down the Hlidarfjall Mountain and through ancient lava fields, delivering the purest water on Earth …”
This clean water flavor certainly comes through. This quality is somewhat hard to describe and is best experienced by actual tasting — the palate immediately registers the quality.
It’s not like the majority of beers taste “dirty” or “muddy,” but when you have a beer made, by say, a Colorado brewery using water filtered through the Rocky Mountains, the overall impression of the beer is one of brightness and a wonderful, clean mouthfeel.
Einstök Icelandic White Ale stays with the traditional white ale style, with the use of a percentage of wheat and oat malts. The wheat adds a touch more sweetness, and the oats more creaminess.
I enjoyed this as much as any Belgian- or American-made white ale. The 5.2% ABV ale had a very clean, crisp character, appropriate sweetness and a creamy mouthfeel.
It seemed the orange peel and coriander seed was less than usually found in the style, but this did not affect it negatively — it made the light malts stand out a bit more and was still a refreshing beer.
This is an ale I would be glad to have available on a regular basis.
Einstök also produces Icelandic Doppelbock, which was slightly different than the typical German style. This 6.7% ABV beer (in a bottle) had much stronger caramel notes than a typical doppelbock, which usually leans more toward chocolate malt flavors.
It also had a lighter mouthfeel, although not too light or watery. Although I just sampled this a couple of weeks ago, it is described as a winter seasonal, so may not be as available as the white ale.
Einstök beers are available in about 15 U.S. states; its Beer Finder link is here.
Many beers are available only regionally. Check the brewer's website, which often contains information on product availability by mail. Contact Todd Haefer at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read previous Beer Man columns, click here.