Archive for August 24th, 2009

Longyearbyen at noon (January)

Longyearbyen at noon (January)

If you are living in one of the most remote communities on the planet, I don’t blame you for taking every opportunity to make life a bit merrier.

Mind you, we are not talking Siberia here. Longyearbyen, Svalbard is a place people volunteer to go, where no one is supposed to be a permanent resident. I’m not sure the Norwegian governments would have kept it going if it wasn’t for the Cold War, nowadays it’s roughly one third coal mining, one third Arctic research and one third tourism. It’s not as if you’re stuck when the fjord freezes, either, there are daily flights from Oslo via Tromsø.

But even if it’s a place appealing to the adventurous, a winter night lasting for several months can be tough enough.

Well, it’s not winter yet. And it won’t be in September, either. But the range of entertainment on a given weekend probably tends to be limited. So a beer festival is probably just the thing.

SvalbardSo, for 1990 Norwegian kroner you get festival tickets, a cruise on the fjord and two nights with breakfast. No beer, presumably.


But look closer at the ad. Would you travel to the end of the world to drink Corona?  On their web site, the organisers promise that During the three days of the festival you can taste beers from Norwegian and foreign breweries. Brand new types of beer will also be served..

Gun cabinetI’ve been to Longyearbyen, and it is certainly worth a visit, it is as exotic as they come. There are two places in the world I’ve seen signs asking people to leave their hand guns in the reception, Sofia, Bulgaria was the other one. There was even a decent beer selection in the pub at Radisson Blu.

But I would not spend 1990 kroner for attending a beer festival there. At least not when the cheapest plane ticket would set me back another 3000,-.


Actually, Longyearbyen could be a great place to start a micro brewery. The Northernmost in the world. The locals and the tourists could buy the beers on tap, then they could ship out bottled extreme beers named after the great trappers, explorers and pioneers. Nansen Old Ale, Bering Imperial Porter, Nobile IPA, Amundsen Bock….


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