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Just in time to get an overview on the Belgian beer scene before my trip next week, here is the new edition of the Good Beer Guide Belgium. The seventh edition. Author Tim Webb is joined by another well known beer writer this time around, Joe Stange.

I have plenty of beer books. Even a few half-read beer books. So it’s not that i grasp every opportunity to buy new ones. But this one really deserves its place on the shelf - and in your suitcase. It is too big to fit in a standard jacket pocket, but there is nothing in here that I would have removed.

There are chapters on Belgian history, on getting around, on food, and on brewing. But the bulk of the book is of course given to the breweries, their beers and where to buy them or drink them. There is even a section on where to drink Belgian beer outside Belgium.

There is not much space available for each brewery, but there is enough to point you in the directions you want to go.

But this is not only a useful book. It is also a good read. When the authors point to the weird tradition in cafes around Liège of adding honey to beer, they dryly comment: You must try this, for the same reason that children must burn themselves at least once on hot metal.

And I love this description: …. a high-carbonation, pungent blond barley wine that pours like sticky Champagne, with elements of marzipan and aftershave.

So, go ahead, buy it. For armchair travellers, newbies and those of us who already have lost most of our enamel to the wonders of the lambics.

As well as blogging, I also hang around various other beer sites. In Scandinavia, we tend to go for RateBeer rather than Beer Advocate, and I am approaching Norwegian beer rating number 1000 on RB. I am not much of a ticker any more, but I enjoy following the Norwegian scene.

There are new beers every week now, and I do not pay good money for beers from breweries that tend to let me down. So I could have reached this milestone before.

But which one to pick for the big number?

It could have been a beer from one of the forerunners of the Norwegian craft scene. Nøgne Ø, Haandbryggeriet, Ægir, Kinn or Lervig. One of the stars rapidly building a name like Austmann, Voss or Lindheim. A beer from one of my favourite brewpubs, Trondhjems Mikrobryggeri, Crowbar or Schouskjelleren.

But I picked Fjellbryggeriet Lun, a brown ale from a newcomer. They have made things even more difficult by going for the supermarket segment, staying below 4.7% ABV.

Lovely notes of roasted grain. Nuts, malt, coffee and chocolate. Clean and elegant. A most impressive beer from a new kid on the block. Well, they are new as commercial brewers. But their home page tells the story – 13 years as home brewers. So this is probably more than just beginner’s luck…

And located in the middle of the moutnains of Southern Norway, they also  fill in one of the blanks of the Norwegian beer map.

Once is funny, when you find it is widespread, I get annoyed.

Jørn, the brewer at Trondhjem Mikrobryggeri, has pointed out that he has found my photo at yet another website. At Mozzarella’s Grill & Bar. It’s one of a number of photos rotating at their front page.

 

Mozzarellas

It might be that the restaurant chain, this time located in various locations in Connecticut and Rhode Island, is innocent. But they could have asked for photos actually originating from their own restaurants. And they claim the copyright for their website.

My main suspect is, once again, the company behind the website. This time it is called Zevon Media. According to  their own pages, they have social media skills. We’ll see about that.

For the record, here is my photo of the beer samples in Trondheim again.  Little did they know they would conquer the globe.

 Trondhjemsamples

I await a response. This time I will not settle for dimes. I know a beer blogger lawyer.

I got a transfer from the web design company via PayPal last night, with the following message:

Apologies for the misue of your photo. It was for placement only during early production and was supposed to be swapped out with actual photos of this brewery’s beer — but that task fell through the cracks. Please accept this gift to buy yourself some beer. We have already replaced the photo.

So. No grudges. But I’d still like to try the beers from the Hopvine brewery.

Meanwhile – a crappy photo of a grilled Gorgonzola sandwich and a beer. At the Chelsea Pub in Parma, Italy. It is highlyunlikely that anyone will steal this.

Someone stole my beer photo.

There have been some weird sites that has taken whole blog posts and republished them, but there have been many years since I have discovered unauthorized use of my photos.

When I look back, there is a strong possibility that I have a general crappy level of photo quality, meaning there are far better sources for nicking beer pictures than this site.

But one of my readers is a brewer at Trondhjem Mikrobryggeri. And he must have a very good memory of photos. Photographic memory?  Because he spotted a photo of his beers. That had appeared in my blog post from last year. But he found it on the web site of the Hopvine Brewery in Aurora, Illinois.

 

Your beers?

Your beers?

 

This is my original photo:

 

 

Trondhjemsamples

 What’s wrong with their own beers? Don’t they look good enough?

I think someone in Aurora, Il. owes me a beer. Either the Hopvine guys. or the ones in IPC, who set up their website.

 You will find our friendly, no-nonsense method of doing business quite refreshing, says IPC.

Belgian flag

I had to rearrange the schedule of my day job this Easter. In Norway, this is serious vacation time. Many take the whole week off, going skiing on the last patches of snow or opening their summer houses for the season.

I’ll be home most of the week. I was supposed to be on duty the week after Easter, but I received an email that made me change my plans.

Visit Flanders, the tourist promotion body for the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium, has invited 8 Scandinavian beer writers for a four day visit from 24 April.  Four Swedes, two Danes, two Norwegians.

We will be visiting cafes and restaurants, breweries and beer festivals.

Here are the breweries where we will make a stop:

  • Cantillon
  • Brasserie de la Senne
  • De Halve Maan
  • De Struise Brouwers
  • Brewery 3 Fonteinen
  • Brewery De Kroon
  • Hof Ten Dormaal
  • Domus

 

Full coverage here on the blog, but also on twitter, @KnutAl, and Facebook.

This is a part of what looks like a general push for Belgian beer tourism. The craft beer explosion has swept the globe, but Belgium has the whole range from historical styles saved in the nick of time to daring newcomers pushing the boundaries. In my nine years of beer blogging, I haven’t given Belgium its fair share of coverage – I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to remedy that.

There are (far too) many books, museum exhibitions, concerts and performances connected to the bicentenary of the Norwegian constitution this year, a process that led to our total independence – if there is such a thing – in 1905.

The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History has a temporary exhibition in cooperation with Frederiksborg Slot in Denmark, compact enough to walk through in an hour or two, focusing on how Denmark and Norway was interwoven until the Napoleonic wars split the union.  The exhibition will also be shown in Copenhagen in the autumn, it is very much recommended, even if the web page in English tell next to nothing about it. Try a google translation of the Norwegian text  instead.

A traditional item at all Norwegian farms around 1800 was the beer bowl, passed around from man to man as they sat by the table. This one was painted by one of the members of the constitutional assembly, Eivind Lande, who represented Råbygdelaget in Aust-Agder, not far away from the present location of Nøgne Ø.

 

beer bowl

Cheers for the constitution!

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