Sure, I’ve been lucky enough to do a fair amount of travelling over the last few years, giving me the opportunity to report first hand on the beer scene in many countries. But, as I have mentioned recently, there have been some positive changes here in Norway, too.
Some of the Norwegian micros seem to be doing fairly well, and they are getting better distribution month by month.
But there is a whole beer world out there, and we would really like access to that as well.
We can only dream about finding Belgian Trappist beers in our supermarkets, as there is a limit of 4.7% ABV to what can be sold there. But there are other countries producing fine beers below that threshold.
Centra Colosseum here in Oslo is almost my local supermarket, I can walk there in 15 minutes. They are among the biggest in town, and they have carried more or less the full range of Norwegian macro beers since they opened. The have a fair number of imported beers, too, and among the red stripes and cobras you can find some very decent German lagers.
The have, however, set aside a section for domestic and imported craft beers, and over the last couple of years, they must have had about 50 British beers on sale. They seem to have arrangements with a wholesaler that sends a few dozen bottles of each new beer along, while doing the same for the Cardinal pub in Stavanger. The best sellers will sometimes get re-ordered, but mostly you can expect to find 1-5 new beers every month or so. Some are from larger regional breweries like Adnams, but most are from smaller companies, some of them very small.
The quality? Very few of them are bad, some of them are a bit boring, but surprisingly many are flavourful and well worth drinking.
Yesterday they had three beers from the North Yorkshire Copper Dragon, the two I’ve tasted so far are splendid. They even had an IPA from the Okells brewery in the Isle of Man.
The downside? They are far too expensive. 40 Norwegian kroner would have been a decent price. And with all the tempting food on offer, you will probably end up buying something else, too. Some bread and cheese, perhaps. I bought the fish wok mix yesterday – great stuff.