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Archive for March, 2009

The Norwegian daily Dagsavisen reports that the major Norwegian breweries see a dramatic fall in their turnover. In January and February this year they sold three milllion liters less than the same period last year, and the trend continues in March.

Spokesmen for the industry are praying for a hot summer, and mention several factos affecting thir sales:

  • Consumers are switching to cheaper, supermarket label beers
  • They travel less and eat less in restaurants
  • The opening hours for bars and nightclubs have been restricted in a number of towns.
  • Young people (what the industry calls first time drinkers) tend to go for wine and sweet drinks.

I don’t have any figures for the most important micros, Haandbryggeriet and Nøgne ø. They export most of their production, and I suppose they are more vulnerable to what happens in Denmark rather than at home.

No rush for the chairs in Bergen

No rush for the chairs in Bergen

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Danish Easter

Two, well, enthusiasts, from the Danish Beer Enthusiasts, the people who gave us the European Beer Festival, have tested ten Danish Easter beers for the daily Politiken.

The best beers are from Ørbæk and newcomer BeerHere, while Ølfabrikken and Nørrebro also have decent scores. At the bottom of the list? The Tuborg Easter brew.

Somebody said that the Nørrebro bar in the arrival hall of Copenhagen airport has closed, but I haven’t checked myself. I hate airports that give one beer brand a monopoly….

Another good beer from Nørrebro

Another good beer from Nørrebro

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Farmers’ market

Farmers market, Trondheim

Farmers' market, Trondheim

We flew up to Trondheim last weekend, but, as there were family festivities, there was no time for beer drinking. We went into town on Saturday lunchtime and had a look at the farmers’ market, with lots of interesting stuff from the region. Cheese, bread, herring, salmon. Lemonade and cakes, reindeer meat, wild boar sausages. Pickles and preserves. Honey and jam.

It’s the same around the globe, I suppose. In season it would be filled with fruit and vegs.

I’m very pleased that they have managed to revive this tradition in the nick of time 97& of the food we eat in Norway is sold through four chains who are laughing all the way to the bank.

But what was missing at the farmers’ market to supplement the food was beer and ciders  from farmhouse producers. Would it be too much to ask that beer could be legally sold in setting like these? Probably. It would lead our children into ruin and all that. Sorry I asked.

The beer is missing

The beer is missing

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The Scheldebrouwerij seems to do its brewing in Belgium and its marketing in the Netherlands, but their web site is in Dutch only, so I cannot get into the details.

A tutta Birra in Milan had a number of their beers at a reasonable price, and, unlike the Italian micros, they were of modest size, suitable for putting in a suitcase.

I bought three of them.

 

The Strandgaper  is a lovely Belgian ale at 6.2%. It has apricots, peaches and oranges. Fine balance, subtle bitterness. Hazy blond. More of this, please – but I think their web site says it’s no longer being brewed.

The Wildebok is nutty sweet, with a little sourness and some bitter almonds in the finish. Plums, a little cocoa, some apples. A complex beer, yet highly quaffable. I almost said outstanding, but at least it is a might fine little bock. Well, ratebeer says it’s an ale. Whatever.

The Merck toch hoe sterk is quite sweet and surprisingly thin for a 10% barley wine. A brown beer, but with a lot of floaties. Alcohol warming. Not bad, but this one was not at its prime. Will try it again if I get the opportunity.

Three Belgians (or Dutch?)

Three Belgians (or Dutch?)

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Scotch eggs

Feeling peckish? The Evening Standard has a list of the best pub snacks in London, with an emphasis on Scotch eggs.

I cannot vouch for any of the pubs on the list. I have probably been in one or two, but they do not seem to be on the tickers circuit…

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Google Street View is amazing. They’re not covering Norway yet, but I’m sure they will be driving by with their cameras any day. Of course this adds value to lots of web sites, have a look at how the Good Pub Guide uses the photos in a Soho Pub Crawl.

And what a tool for both armchair travellers and for researching before trips. With this I could have avoided that Brussels hotel that was right in the middle of the red light district….

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A warm welcome

I found this in the window of one of the old “brown” restaurants in Oslo the other day. This used to be a place for rustic food and serious drinking (half liters of lager), and they obviously frown on anything that makes the guests linger longer than strictly necessary. This being Norway, it goes without saying that there is no smoking. And no dogs.

 

The sign says (in broken Norwegian): It is not allowed to play cards, chess or any other games. Cannot use portable computer.

I did not venture inside to check if this policy has filled it up with customers. Life is too short.

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