Aass Bock

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Beer Status:
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Review Date
 12/21/2001

An Aass is an Orse, of course, of course. No, I haven’t just finished watching a Mr. Ed marathon, if that’s what you’re thinking. My colorful wordplay here refers to the pronunciation of Aass beer from Norway. Now, many people often see this beer in the store and inquire of their friendly neighborhood beer salesman, “How does ass beer taste?”. One wouldn’t get very far in life selling ass beer I suspect (or maybe one would, depending on whose ass was on the label). Be that as it may, this beer is not called ass, and it is my firm intention here to set the record straight on the pronunciation of the name.

Of course, the brewery itself doesn’t help matters with the slogan they use here in the United States: Aass Brewery: Aass good Aass it gets. Perhaps they think they’ll increase sales with a play on their name. In any case, the proper pronunciation of Aass equates to orse or ouse depending on whom you talk to. Beats the hell out of walking into a bar and asking for a glass of ass, anyway.

Whatever you call it, Aass beers are a true delight and the label’s claim that their bock is one of the world’s great beers is no exaggeration at all. Lagered for an astonishing six months (two to three times the aging given to most lagers), Aass Bock is wonderfully complex and delicious. The label features the company logo and a picture of the brewery along with a goat, the traditional symbol of bock beer, happily sipping from a foaming stein of brew. The green glass bottle is perhaps the only drawback to the elegant, attractive packaging that ensconces the precious fluid within.

Aass is the oldest brewery in Norway, having been established back in 1837. The brewery is located in Drammen, which is about 25 miles from the capital of Oslo. I distinctly recall drinking this brew back in the mid to late eighties, and it was certainly a pleasant surprise to find it once again on store shelves in the U.S.

Aass Bock is a little expensive at $1.99 for an 11.2 oz bottle, but it is well worth the price. It can be found, along with other brewery products, in Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Even in those states it may be a hard to find beer, but it is worth seeking out.

Aass Bock pours to a deep ruby red color with a thick creamy head formation and a rich malty nose. Upon sipping, the first thing about this beer that strikes you is the thick, creamy mouthfeel packed with luxurious, intense, slightly nutty sweet malt flavor and hints of chocolate, coffee, and subtle molasses. The finish is sweet with no hop presence but a hint of alcohol warmth. Alcohol is 5.9% by volume. This is an excellent after-dinner drink.

And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.

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