Oh Beautiful Beer made me buy these beers. A couple months back they were on there and had to get my hands on them when they came to the U.K. I went to Iceland/Reykjavik in 2006 - I don't really remember much beer. I mean, I was 16 but my only beer/alcohol-realted memories include government-owned alcohol shops and drunken Icelanders cruising Laugevaegur around midnight off their faces.
So yeah, Einstok is a craft brewery (the only one?!) from Iceland - a country which had prohibition "in some effect" till May 1989! (Wikipedia told me so it must be true). Of all places, they're being distributed by Harvey Nichols (Maybe Craft Beer really is hitting the mainstream) and so I ordered a couple of each, which arrived in the most disgustingly un-eco friendly packaging I've ever seen. (Each bottle does not need a 1/2m of bubble wrap and 6 inches in a box to itself).
Anyway, Icelandic white ale with cor(r)iander and orange peel. Subtle orange peel on the nose with a incredibly thin and quickly dissipating head. Definitely get the slight spiciness of the corriander ,but also the fizzy 'Haribo' taste that I think defines a lot of Belgian-style beers. Maybe not the right time of year to enjoy a beer like this, but it was ok.
Icelandic Pale ale - definitely get maltiness and caramel on the nose and first taste. Quite sweet! However, I think i had a bad batch and there was definitely a strong diacetyl flavour which really wasn't to my taste. Slightly disappointing and I unfortunately drank as quick as possible.
Toasted Porter time! Oh yeah - rated highest on RateBeer for Einstok beers and I can see why. 6% with a quickly dissipating head, with a strong Marmite/Soy sauce aroma. Black as sin, with a strong mouth feel. Strong malt flavour from the toasted malts but also a strong bitter Marmite-y tang. Would definitely have another, plus I love Marmite!
Lastly it was the Doppelbock "xmas beer" with highly-suitable Red nose & antlers on the Viking symbol. At 6.7%, it's the highest in the range and you definitely get a boozy mouth-feel. Slightly sweet (raisin-esque) with a strong malt character and highly drinkable. A very "clean" and smooth taste and quite moreish.
Firstly, I would love to try all of these beers on tap via draught/keg as bottles don't always tell the true beer story. I don't know if they're planning on doing that any time soon (I don't get that impression) but would be lovely to try. Toasted Porter and Dopplebock were the clear winners of the range and worth a buy!