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Archive for December 27th, 2007

Larko blogs about beer, too, amongst lots of other topics. A good read.

He picked up this story:

Germans drink less beer this year than they did last year, Reuters reports. The average consumption per capita this year is estimated as 112,5 liters which is 3,5 liters less than 2006. The decline has steadily continued since the top consumption of 156 liters in the 1980′ies.

2006 was the only year since 1998 when consumption increased. However, that must have been thanks to foreign guests at the football World Champ tournament. Germans are far behind Czech Republic and Ireland in drinking beer.

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Denmark is establishing itself as a country for beer tourism, with brewpubs and micros popping up in every town and village, some of them offering b&b, some of them food and all of them beers to enjoy on the spot or to take along.

We are far from that situation in Norway. The craft breweries are few and far between, but there are a few to be found, and with some planning and a rail or bus pass you could cover some of them in a week or so. I talked to Will, who works in the splendid pub the Bricklayer’s Arms in Putney, London, some weeks ago. He told me he was thinking about visiting Norway with a focus on beer, so here is a proposal for a schedule. For most visitors I would recommend getting a rail pass. There are also express buses, which may be cheaper, but they will not take you to places like Finse.

Day 1: Fly to Bergen (or take the ferry if that is convenient). Kalfaret Brygghus is a fairly new brewpub set up by Hansa, I have actually not been there yet myself.

Day 2: Boat to Flåm through the spectacular fjord scenery. Flåm has a new brewpub, Ægir, worth stopping at while you wait for the scenic train ride up to Myrdal. Continue by train to Oslo, or you could stay overnight at Finse, 1222 metres above sea level. There is both a hotel and a more modest hostel for hikers at Finse. If you want to walk in the mountains for some days, this is a great staring point.

An excellent alternative here is to take the train to Finse from Bergen and stay overnight. You then rent a bike and follow the Navvy Road – Rallarvegen down all the way to Flåm. It is steep, but the bikes have been fitted with extra brakes. This trip is only possible during a few summer months because of the snow.

Day 3: Oslo. Side trip to Moss and Møllebyen Mikrobryggeri in the afternoon , with some really nice beers. Return to Oslo and Oslo Mikrobryggeri in the evening. Of course there are other pubs in Oslo, too, but the ones with interesting beer are very few – the market is totally dominated by Ringnes/Carlsberg and a few other national lager factories.

Day 4: Now for the two most interesting breweries in Norway. Train to Drammen, home of Haandbryggeriet(by appointment). One of the most inventive micros in Norway, who knows , maybe they have something new that you could sample. Continue to Nøgne ø in Grimstad (by appointment, and you’ll need to read maps and timetables, too.)

From there there are several options. You can continue by bus or train to Stavanger and catch a flight. You can return to Oslo and continue north to Trondheim via Lillehammer, there are brewpubs in both towns. Or you can take the train from Oslo to Gothenburg or Stockholm, where the range of beers on offer is far greater than in Norway.

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The season of tacky trees.

The Vietnam Beer Company, assisted by Hai Duong Advertising Company, is displaying a giant Christmas tree made of more than 8,000 Heineken beer cans in central Hue City to welcome the upcoming holy season.

For some reason, the tree is located in front of the Hue University of Pedagogy. 

My apologies to the good people of Hue. But the holy season is not about the coming of Heineken. Try again!

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