Archive for February, 2009

Good new from the British Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA):


In marked contrast to the decline in volumes reported by national and global brewers, the local brewing sector grew by a total of 10 per cent in 2008. Of this, three per cent was contributed by new brewers not operational throughout all of 2007, leaving ‘like for like’ volumes up by an impressive seven per cent.


The growth of the local brewery industry has been achieved through both increased distribution  – the average number of pub customers per brewer grew from 79 to 94 last year – and increased rate of sale –  throughput of local beers grew by an average of nine per cent over the last two years. While draught ale, through the pub, is the mainstay of the local brewer, accounting for 86 per cent of volumes, bottled beer is growing fast. Last year, bottled beer volumes increased by over 50 per cent, which helped to grow total sales turnover by an average of 20 per cent.


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One thing I am pretty pleased about is the BeerAdvocate magazine. I paid for a founding subscription a year or so before they launched it, which means I just pay postage to get it in my mailbox at regular intervals. Definitely a US bias, which means that there are lots of beers I can only dream about tasting. But there are good articles, and you can drool over the ads…

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The best in Norway

The Norwegian beer drinkers organisation NORØL is not very active, though they publish a magazine and has a fine electronic newsletter.

They recently published the result of their annual beer poll – percentages in parenthesis.

Best new Norwegian beer:

Nøgne Ø Dark Horizon 2nd Edition  (15,8)
Nøgne Ø Dobbel IPA   (9,8)
Haandbryggeriet Haandbakk (9,2)
Aass Bryggeri Juleøl Premium (6,7)

Brewery of the year:

Nøgne Ø (42,9)
Haandbryggeriet (23,3)
Aass (10,8)

Brewpub of the year:

Ægir Bryggeri (36,3)
Oslo Mikrobryggeri (23,8)
Trondhjem Mikrobryggeri (16,3 )

Best imported beer:

Raasted Imperial Stout (11,3)
Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast  (9,4)
Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter (7,5)
Rochefort 10 (7,5)

As you see, the craft beers are dominating the scene, which is really encouraging. Now, if I could find an excuse for getting to the Ægir brewery on the West coast…

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On pub-going politicians

A (British) Home Office minister who wants stringent measures that will cost the trade millions of pounds of can’t remember the last time he was in a pub, according to the Publican.

Not surprisingly, he is scalded by the pub trade:

“So the man who can’t remember the last time he was in a pub, thinks he knows more than the trade about why pubs are closing and why this code is necessary. ”

Around here, being in a regular in a pub is not seen as a mark of quality for any politician. It is rather the opposite, most alcohol debates are dominated by members of the temperance (or rather, abstinence) movement – and they are to be found in most parties. Some of them would probably boast never having been in a pub.

And there is no decent watering hole, let alone cask ale, in our parliament, either, surely a necessary condition to be considered an advanced civilization.

I think it all started with Martin Luther.

We all need Courage

We all need Courage

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Nice to read about BrewDog in the Scotsman, where they reveal that they sell about 200.000 bottles per month. Most breweries would only dream of figures like that a few years after starting a business. And, remember, these are premium beers that fetch premium prices. The next move is to make more beers available in casks and kegs.

I was at a combined beer shop and pub in Italy last week, and their stocks were low after the Christmas season. They had filled up the shelves with BrewDog beers, though.

-They are very expensive, said the landlord.

-But they are so good, I have to have them.


I  liked the way they are using the Scotsman interview to say hello to the hardcore fans:

For the drinkers, bloggers and others who follow and support us, rest assured that beer world domination is very much still on the agenda.

Cheers to that!

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More cheese

Here you can even read their name tags. Drool on….



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Just a few minutes’ walk from BQ is an older establishment, but run by the same people. The Enoteca Decanter is, as the name says, a wine bar, but they have a very impressive beer list as well. They even have a cheese plate made for beer tastings, so I had to order one.

Their beer list was not updated, but they had a number of beers on display. The Almond 22 Blanche de Valerie is listed as a wit on ratebeer, I don’t know about that. I found it more similar to a lager, but with extra bitterness and nuts, perhaps brewed with almonds. The cheese plate came with crusty bread, and the ripe gorgonzola was my favourite.

This was a very relaxing place, with jazz over the loudspeakers and small tables with friends conversing. As the quiet atmosphere made me sit back and relax, I felt that a long day was taking its toll, and there were beers to be had next day as well. I decided to buy a few takeout bottles and make my way back to the hotel.

Definitely a place to come back to – and a place where you could bring wine drinking friends as well…

The Enoteca Decanter cheese plate

The Enoteca Decanter cheese plate

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