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Archive for March, 2012

I got a call from an ups driver this morning, wanting to deliver a box of beer at my apartment. I explained that I was at work, and and that there are no neighbors around to sign for it. I could have had it redirected and delivered at my office, but that would mean a Monday delivery, when I am off.

No problem, said the driver. There is a company a few streets from where you live. They are open until four. Why don’t I drop it off there, and you can pick it up on you way home?

The beers come from Biershop Bayern, sent on Tuesday.

I have yet to find out what the taxman has to say about the transaction.

I even learnt some German  – I did not know that there is an Umlaut in the plural of bock.

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The Hardknott brewery was born in the spotlight of the social media, Dave the brewer blogged from the pub that he ran with with his wife before he decided to step over to the brewing side.

His bottled beer range is available from online shops in the UK, I got mine from myBrewerytap.

I seldom do beer reviews on this blog any longer, but this is on my shortlist for beer discovery of the year already, so I had to share.

The Vintesse Noir has an incredibly strong and concentrated aroma and flavor. Tar, coffee, soot and vanilla. Velvet with a sharp edge I suppose will mellow with age. Very dark ruby, tan head. Chocolate finish.

This is solidly in the top league of imperial stouts with Kaggen and Dark Horizon.

It’s not even on the brewery web site, so I suppose it may be hard to find. Utobeer in London, perhaps?

I had some crackers with gorgonzola with this – a match made in heaven.

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Airports. You know the feeling. Your plane is delayed, and there is nothing to do. The salami pizza has so little topping it could be labeled suitable for vegetarians. There is a choice of the local pale lager and Carlsberg at twice the price you pay downtown.

Sure, there are exceptions. The brewpub at Munich airport. A glass of Altbier in Düsseldorf. The Weatherspoons bars in a number of UK Airports. But generally? Blah.

Part of the reason is that the airport owners tend to give one huge contract to a single restaurant entrepreneur, creating a monopoly on food and beverages. No competition, no incentives to offer a broad choice. The entrepreneur then goes to a few breweries, getting a quote on the delivery of  a certain number of hectoliters of bland lager per week. And they, appropriately, get what they pay for.

But it seems to me to be a tipping point. There is a rather large Norwegian company running restaurants and bars both in airports and in city centers. You never see it, as it hides behind a number of brand names, or, as they prefer to call it, concepts.  The market is the starting point and the concepts are the consequence is their slogan, which does not sound much better in Norwegian.

Their concepts vary, from mundane sandwich bars in railway stations and airports to places where the company behind them is invisible like fru Hagen or Beach Club in Oslo. The parent company even has the Norwegian Burger King franchise.

But back to the airports. Looks like things have come to a tipping point. And I realize that there will never be a time for the small family run cafe or pub in Norwegian airports. The best we could ever hope for, then, is that craft beer finds it way into a concept. Which it has.

The following is from a trade site, probably quoted verbatim from a press release, describing their new Brygghuset (Brewhouse) concept.

Brygghuset is a new, targeted pub concept. This is the down to earth cozy pub where everyone feel at home – on a business trip, with your mates or traveling with your girl friends. Brygghuset specializes in good beer. You will find a particularly broad selection of good Norwegian local “hand breweries”, but also classical national and international varieties.

The first pub featuring this concept will open in Bodø airport.  Presumably to be followed by others.

Now, if they could get some decent beers into their chain of pizza restaurants, too. But I doubt Carlsberg would like that.

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Way before I started ticking tasting beers, I collected comic books. Beatles records. Science Fiction books.

But first of all, stamps. My younger readers probably don’t know what I’m talking about. Buy me a beer, and I’ll explain.

Anyway.

I never had much money, so all the rare misprints eluded me. I always hoped they would turn up. In my grandparent’s attic. On a Christmas card.

But they never did.

But what did I spot today?

A Nøgne Ø label misprint. Same batch number, two label variations.

See you on eBay when I find out which one is the regular and which is the rarity.

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I’ve not gone away on a permanent basis, just a wee bit busy at home at at work. I promise to be back with more blog posts.

Meanwhile, I share some thoughts, some articles and some photos on twitter. Not just beer, maybe I ought to split up into various twitter personalities. For the time being, follow me at @KnutAl . That is also a convenient way of keeping updated on new blog posts.

Lost of other beer people on twitter, too.

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