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Archive for February, 2008

Back from Italy

Regular blogging to be resumed shortly. A few new discoveries, a few negative surprises, but overall a very pleasant trip.

Meanwhile, some Italian bottles I bet you haven’t seen before:

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It is winter holidays in schools over here this week, meaning that we have to do something to keep them occupied – we don’t want them to sit inside killing monsters on various consoles, do we?

So I took my kids to ØstfoldbadetWater Park in Askim, an hour by train to the southeast of Oslo. There are no decent swimming pools in Oslo, nothing like the magnificent Pirbadet in Trondheim. There are pools closer than Østfoldbadet, and I find them more civilized, too, but they keep the water a few degrees warmer than the other facilities, which does the trick.

Askim is on the outskirts of the computer belt for Oslo, but it is like another world. The locals in various degrees of undress had mostly pent their money on tattoos, and it var a relief that I felt almost skinny compared to the natives.

There was a smell of stale cooking oil hanging over the premises, mixed with the special pommes frites-krydder, a spice mix consisting of equal parts salt, MSG, paprika and dried onions. The pools were cramped, and there was half an hour of queuing for lunch. But the kids loved it.

On our way back to the station, I discovered that Askim is an overlooked beer destination. They have their own beer guru, Gustav Jørgensen, who is going to speak to the faithful next Thursday. The sign for the event did not, unfortunately, say anything about what beers he will present. I’ll have to see if the online version of their local paper covers the evening. Looking at Mr. Jørgensens web site, it seems that he is actually promoting decent beers and that he is not in the pocket of Ringnes/Carlsberg. It is encouraging that such events are held – I hope he is busy!

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Rather more local than I usually am:

Saturday 8 March, BTIZ in Keysersgate.

4 Norwegian bocks, so seemingly no festival specials.

Quite a few German bocks, among them Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock.

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The Norwegian Royal Ministry of Health and Care Services has, after dragging its feet for some time, sent a letter to the EFTA Surveillance Authority informing them that the ban on private import of alcohol should be repealed and replaced by an alternative control system. The Norwegian Government will therefore immediately initiate work on drafting alternative control mechanisms and an amendment of the legislation on private import of alcoholic beverages.

This amendment will have to be passed in Parliament, and the system is such that it will take a year or so to get the issue through the system. With a majority government, though, this should pass without much fuzz. I expect some whimpering from the Christian Democrats, but that’s about it.

Tonight we raise our glasses of (imported) beer to the European Court and the EFTA Surveillance Authority.

Belgian beer bottles

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The Beer Philosopher

Another new beer blog: Pivni Filosof  – The Beer Philosopher is an Argentinian living in Prague, and he blogs about beer in both English and Spanish. Lots of photos, restaurant and bar reviews etc – highly recommended.

Slowly, but surely, the beer bloggers are taking over the world.

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Chocolate beer

The Washington Post has an article on chocolate beer, profiling the chocolate stouts from Young’s and Rogue.

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The NYT have collected all their beer related articles on one page. Nice.

As for me, I am looking at my travel plans for the rest of the year. First of all there is a visit to the Lillehammer brewpub tomorrow. I’ll go with some of my ratebeer drinking buddies, so there will be a tasting on the train as well.

Next week it is off to Italy.

Later: Riga, Dublin, Prague, Berlin, Croatia, London, Copenhagen. Possibly Cyprus.

I had high hopes for a US visit this year, but I guess I shouldn’t complain…

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