To Øl are the wandering nomads of the brewing world; hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark, they don’t have their own brewery setup but use other breweries which have the spare capacity to take them in at the time. This always leads to varying types of beers and styles as the differing collaborations always give us something wild and wonderful. Thus far they have made beers that are always complex and always tasty, could this new one be any different?
Nelson Survin is a DIPA sour beer and upon opening the bottle you are battered with a fantastical aroma of fruits, massive massive fruits. Tropical as hell, this beer was delivering interest even before it left the bottle! Steadying oneself for the pour, excitement bubbling up inside like the creamy white foam that tops the hazy copper beer which issued forth into the glass. Oranges, grapefruits and other citrus notes batter your senses before you even start but start one must.
The flavour hits you hard, once again with the powerful flavours, ones in the citrus area being the main offenders. And we do mean offenders, like a bruiser it attacks you mercilessly, without respite pummeling your taste buds with orange, grapefruit, mango and passionfruit punches to the head. These flavours all mix perfectly and their subtle sweetness dancing and entwining on the tongue wonderfully, however how can all these flavours work well? Surely all the sweet fruits would just be too cumbersome and sweet to weave their magic spell on the taste buds? Then, just as you think this sweetness could become too much, BAM, it’s cut to ribbons by the lemon/grapefruit sharpness that gives this beer its sour name. Like a scalpel it dissects all the sugary fruits down to size, cleansing the palate, refreshing those battered buds ready for another round. The mouth waters in anticipation of the next drenching with this coppery goodness, this ambrosia of a beer. Whilst you contemplate the next sip you get the subtle rush of alcohol as the 9% ABV does its job, slightly sweet again, this alcohol brings those sour notes back to neutrality, hops flooding in with a cleansing bitterness adding great background notes. After the ride of its life your palate is stable once again, but begging for more.
Most people shy away from sour beers, some are almost like battery acid but frankly this is a fantastic beer. It takes you on a roller coaster ride of flavour, with point and counterpoint of taste, sweet and sourness along with a subtle hit of alcohol to tie everything together in on incredible package. Thick and creamy but never cloying, subtle yet powerful all in the same glass. This is the velvet hand grenade. The cashmere baseball bat, that subtle savagery that I love. As they started out doing back in 2010, To Øl have made a fantastic, beautiful beer, and have defined perfect balance all the way through.