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There have been some newspaper reports lately about the beer prices at Oslo airport, which are the highest in the land. This should not coame as a surprise to anyone. The beer prices at the airport is always more expensive than in town. A plass of Pilsener Urquell at Prague airport is astronomical if you compare it to a baskstreet cafe in town.

The Director General of the Norwegian Competition Authority is interviewed in the major business daily Dagens Næringsliv. She, unsurprisingly, wants more competition.  

I wrote a letter to the editor in Dagens Næringsliv, quoting Evan Lewis, forunder and head brewer at Ægir brewery. He sais a few days ago that there is one term in the Norwegian language he strongly dislikes. It is en halvliter, literally half a liter. (The English equivalent  obviously a pint. In Sweden they call it en stor stark, a big strong)

It is the generic term for a beer. If you walk into a pub, you traditionally ask for en halvliter. What you get is the standard pale lager available on tap in the establishment. (If it is noisy, you just signal with your fingers how many halvlitere you want, so no conversation need to take place.

Evan asked the question: Would you go into a restaurant and ask for one food?

His point is that things are changing. Many consumers go for quality, not for quantity.

When the Director General of the Competiton Authority raises the question of  how to increase competiton to get lower beer prices, what she discusses is wether we sould pay niney or one hundred kroner for a halvliter of Carlsberg. Real competiton would mean that we could choose between a broad range of beers, domestic and imported.

And if the beer is good, we don’t mind paying premium prices.

You know what? They printed it yesterday.

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Back in my old home town again, a few hours to spare. Two new beers at Trondhjem Mikrobryggeri, both of them keeping the high standard that they have those days, hoppy and well crafted. Later, I will have a chat with the guys running the pub and micro brewery at Studentersamfundet.

But I have heard rumours about beers from a new brewery available in a pub I’ve never visited. Though the place is very familiar. This building used to house a temperance hotel and cafeteria on one of the busiest street corners in town, Prinsenkrysset. Those days are gone, and it makes perfect sense to have a pub here, a very convenient place to meet.

Irish theme pubs is not an endangered species, and at first sight Cafe Dublin is no different. Pub grub, which seemed a bit pricey, beer engines with the usual suspects.

But when I talk to the man behind the bar, I recognise that he sim more committed than most. He has some bottles from the Rein brewery in the fridge, he has the O’haras Leann Follain from Carlow, an excellent Irish stout I’ve never spotted anywhere in Norway before. Austmann beers in bottles and on tap, too. The temperatures in the fridges have even been turend up for the more interesting beers.

It is not my favourite beer bar in Trondheim. But it is certainly worth looking in if you are passing by. Live music in the evening.

I haven’t learned to use my new camera yet, so no decent photos of the facilities.

The Reins beer? Not quite there. Going organic is not enough.

Reins Ale No 23

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The city where I was born and grew up, Trondheim, has lagged behind when it comes to beer. The scene is dominated by Carlsberg subsidiary E.C. Dahls bryggeri, and they have not shown any signs of innovation for decades (if ever?). I am happy to report that things are rapidly changing.

There is an annual food festival in Trondheim at the beginning of August, showcasing regional produce, including fish and game, fruit and vegetables, cheeses and preserves. I have blogged briefly about this before, suggesting that beer should be included as a part of the festival. A few of the micro breweries in the region are brewed on farms, so they fit very well in, and they are finding their way into some of the stalls, both Inderøy and Klostergården beers are to be found in the main festival area.

New this year is a separate beer festival, Trondheim Bryggerifestival. In a separate tent and with a 100 kroner entrance fee, you get to sample a fine range of beers, most of them Norwegian. Nøgne Ø, Haandbryggeriet, Ægir and Kinn are there, so you get the best of the established national craft breweries. But there are two others that merit special attention.

I blogged about Klostergården Håndbryggeri after my visit there in May. They have brought along a splendid range of brews for the festival, from a highly refreshing summer beer at 4.5% ABV to a barley wine aged in bourbon barrels at 12.5%. My current favourite among Norwegian breweries.

There is also a brand new micro in Trondheim, who will have national distribution from the very start. Austmann Bryggeri go for sessionable beers with a moderate alcohol level. They had two different saisons and a brown ale on tap yesterday, all very respectable.

The festival is staffed by volunteers, but several of the breweries are presnt, giving talks and hanging out to talk to the drinkers.

Some minor details could be adjusted. I’d like a souvernir glass instead of plastic samples, and a full beer list with descriptions would also be welcome. But the important thing is that the festival is there to promote craft beer in the region, I hope they draw enogh people to make this an annual event.

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 Leiberheim portal

I have to admit I found this is a guidebook covering the best beer gardens of the region. It was (rather) conveniently placed, and it does not offer beers from the big players in Münich, but rather the smaller Erharting brewery, a brewery owned by the same family from the start in 1872.

Leiberheim is located in the Southeastern suburb Neubiberg, I advise you to print a map before you start your expedition. The less techically challenged can probably find their way using their mobile phone.

The sprawling Biergarten is in the middle of a residential area. No table service, at least not in the main garden, you place your order and pay at the counter.

One peculiarity of the Bavarian beer garden law (yes, there is one, but it is far younger than the Reinheitwsgebot, is that people are permitted to bring their own food in the beer gardens. What you typically see is one area with tablecloths and cutlery, one with just plain wooden benches and tables. This means that families bring their own baskets, with the ladies arranging impressive displays of Tupperware boxes of homemade food.

I go for two small glasses, wanting to sample two beers instead of just one Mass. I felt like a sissy, obviously, this is a place where the full liter glass is the custom.

Ther Erharting Helles is nice and crisp. I’d call it a pilsener, but don’t tell anyone, they might have to take out the hops. Liquid bread, to use a cliché.

The Erharting Dunkelweisse is sweet, malty, full bodied and earthy. But malty beers can be boring, the hoppiness would have been as welcome in this beer.

Ten or fifteen minutes to the S-bahn station. Low Dirndl  factor.

If there were other foreigners around, they were not noticeable. No signs or menus in English or Japanese. Well worth the walk and the time. Bring along a book and spend the afternoon.

Leiberheim customer

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Mittagsessen

Mittagsessen

I personalkantinen faar man en treretters lunsj for to euro.

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English summary at the end

Et steinkast fra Nidarosdomen, i en trebygning fra 1853, som tidligere har vært blant annet bispebolig og kommunal musikkskole, holder Trondheim kunstforening til. En naturlig samboer for en slik institusjon er en café som tilbyr vått og tørt i de hyggelige gamle stuene innredet med designmøbler – og i en hyggelig have på baksiden der man kan sitte de årene sommeren finner det for godt å avlegge besøk.

(Bloggeren er klimaflykting i Oslo).

Og i denne hjemmekoselige caféen finner man en breddfull kakedisk, salater, brødmat og enkle varmretter. Og et bra ølutvalg med Brooklyn, Nøgne Ø og Kinn godt representert. I tillegg brygger de sitt eget øl, i samarbeid med hjemmebryggere fra regionen, skal vi tro etiketten.

Ni Muser IPA har en litt slørete kobberfarve, som viser at denne ikke har vært gjennom noen filtrering. En innbydende aroma med urtepreget humle og en bittersøt duft som innbyr til den første slurken.

Maltpreget smak, et snev av spearmint, clementiner.

En litt kort avslutning, kanskje, men for en bryggerivirksomhet som nok er mindre enn det mange hjemmebryggere driver, er dette godkjent med god margin. Ikke minst er det positivt at det brygges noe annet enn pils.

Håper ølet blir tatt godt imot av gjestene på Café Ni Muser. Og brygg gjerne flere typer. En saison eller en porter, kanskje?

http://nimuser.no

Café Ni Muser shares a house with an art gallery, and is situated in an old wooden house close to the landmark Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. The café has the usual selection of ciabattas, cakes and coffee drinks as well as a hand picked list of beers.

Among these beers is the Ni Muser IPA, brewed on the premises and bottle conditioned. A pleasant and well balanced beer, well wort seeking out if you are in town. Brewed in very small batches, so they tend to run out at times.

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I don’t cover the European beer scene as comprehensively as I used to. There are several reasons for this – I don’t travel as much as before, there are others out there with local knowledge which does the job nowadays, and I don’t have the time to keep up with it all.

On the other hand, much of the best brews of the world are now available at my doorstep (Well, here in Oslo). The new wave of brewpubs are not afraid of letting the competition in, meaning we get access to Swedish, Danish, British and Italian beers along with their own offerings.

One of the relatively new stars on the European beer map is the Italian Revelation Cat. I first encountered them at the Copenhagen Beer Festival a few years ago, and their beers are now often available at Schouskjelleren in Oslo. They specialize in lambics, brewed in Belgium, barrel aged, blended and bottled in Rome. Lambics is perhaps using a term that is a bit too narrow, we are talking barrel aging a wide spectrum of beers, using barrels previously storing wines and spirits from around the globe.

Revelation Cat has so far been a contract/phantom brewery, meaning they don’t own their own plant, apart from a small pilot brewery in Italy. Their beers have been brewed in the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK.

They have recently bought brewing equipment in England, and they are currently launching a range of hoppy beers more inspired by American and British styles. When I was asked by owner Alex Liberati if I would be interested in sampling some of the beers from the new range, I did not hesitate.

To make  a long story short, a box of beers has been spending Christmas in the warehouse of FedEx, but yesterday it was delivered to my office. The box was not that big, but it was crammed full of beers. No possibilities of opening them this week – but I’ll tell you when I do.

The customs fees did not ruin me, either.

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After all the years in the wilderness, I guess we should bow and be grateful. The Oslo beer scene has exploded, and next week it is a matter of picking and choosing.

In addition to a beer festival at Aker Brygge and one at the new Vulkan food hall, held simultaneously in separate parts of town, there is a the-more-the-merrier Oktoberfest competing for attention. There is the 2nd birthday of Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri, featuring some very interesting new stuff.

There are beer tastings at bars and restaurants. There is a press event celebrating Pilsner Urquell, I’d not be surprised if that involves the (excellent) unfiltered version of the beer.

You can attend a Brewmaster’s Dinner several evenings in a row. One of tem with beers from Erdinger, hereby nominated for the Least Exciting Beer Event of the Year.

Me?

I’ll be at our mountain retreat most of the week, without losing any sleep for not attending the proceedings. But I’ll probably pop in at both festivals on the Saturday.

But I have a feeling that this is far too much. That some of the events will be less than succesful. And that there are far too many people without a clue jumping on the bandwagon. But that does not mean that things were better when we were an underground movement.

The more the merrier? Photo nicked from the amazing Oktoberfest Girls blog.

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3-4 May. Three Floyds the first confirmed guest

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Alejandro Lovera is an MBA student of the University of Westminster and is currently working on his dissertation project. He tries to measure how responsible drinking campaigns, organic products and other factors can influence the buying decisions of beer consumers.

He needs people to fill in a short online servey, which only takes a few minutes.

http://edu.surveygizmo.com/s3/985615/77a10541dfc0english

I’ll ask him to pass along the results when they are ready. Help him out, please.

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