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Archive for September, 2009

100.000

Well, not visitors. But page views. Pretty good, and the traffic has been building up quite nicely this year. Maybe I’ll have a beer to celebrate!

One thing. Some of you tell me you read the blog regularly, but never comment. Maybe once a year or something?

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The brewer at Danish micro Duelund Bryglade,  Poul Højlund, has a fierce attack on some of the beers on the Danish market. Højlund is launching a new concept – Real Microbrew, with a BBB logo – Brewed at the Brewery by the Brewer. (for once a concept easy to translate!)

He attacks major industry players like Harboe and Carlsberg, who market beers with misleading labels.

There is no Kongens Bryghus, there is no Wibroe, and there is no De Fem Gårde. Those are names stuck on bottles brewed and bottled at a big industrial facility with the same costs as a discount pilsener, but which retail at high prices. And that is cheating .

Labels can be bought, so the buyer can pretend that Ølfabrikken still exists, even if the beers now are spit out of Harboes factory. 

As if this was not enough, he also has a special message for so called phantom brewers, some of them among my personal favourites like Mikkeler, Djævlebryg and Beer Here:

But is there anything wrong in being a phantom brewery? The beer may be just as good, maybe even better, because the big secret brewery might have better equipment, better brewers and lots of experience. No, it is O.K. – as long as we tell the customer that this bottle from this or that “brewery” is not a product from the non existing brewery on the label, but rather the result of clever beer design and various contracts for brewing.

Thanks to the ever reliable Beerticker.dk for making me aware of this!

Your cheatin heart?

Your cheatin' heart?

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A scalding verdict

I am, as you know, usually a mild mannered guy. This does not mean I do not appreciate a mean streak in others.

Like a restaurant review in today’s NYT.

The problem with Gus & Gabriel is not that it aims low. The problem is that it fails to achieve even its low aims.

It gets even better:

Gus & Gabriel may be the only restaurant in history that would be improved by adding a popcorn machine to the dining room.

But the beer selection appears to be all right.

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Yes, it has 1.1% alcohol, but it also, I quote, contains more hops than any other beer we have ever brewed. There is over 60 kilos used in our tiny 20HL batch. It contains more hops than any other beer ever brewed in the UK. It has a theoretical IBU of 225.

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Lillehammer memorablia

The Lillehammer brewery also functions as a museum with lots of items relating to the history of the town. They also have lots of stuff from the old brewery, closed down by Ringnes in 1983, even including a driver’s uniform. They have scrapbooks of vintage newspaper ads, too. I won’t try to translate the following, for once a tidbit for my Nordic readers.

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On our way back to Oslo last weekend after visiting the mountain brewery, we passed by Lillehammer, and of course we did not miss the opportunity to stop at Lillehammer Bryggeri, the brew pub some of us visited last year.

The brew pub does not usually open until seven, but a few phone calls made them open some hours earlier to give us a tour and some samples.

Their seasonal beer is a modified version of their Christmas beer, a dark and tasty lager. It has a lovely toffee aroma, and has lots of grain and malt character, well balanced by the hops. Their other beers were also on top form, just like the last time we were around.

There is something about the fresh, unpasteurized flavour that makes the Lillehammer beers stand out, and this includes both their lagers and their ales. The Hammond Pils is probably the best pilsener brewed in Norway.

The best pilsener in Norway?

The best pilsener in Norway?

They are shortly to install bottling equipment, which means that their beers will be easier to come by. Let’s hope that the beers will keep their character in bottled form!

Distribution will be in the Lillehammer area plus a few selected outlets in Oslo, Fenaknoken among them.

Lillehamemr Bryggeri are setting up an outdoor serving area in their yard, and this will be a very pleasant place to while away a sunny afternoon. This also means longer opening hours.

To charm the local population, especially the students, they will host an Oktoberfest on 2-3 October in a large tent in their outdoor area, and they have plenty of beer ready for the guests to gulp down. Check their web site for details.

 

Beer festival or not, this is a must stop if you are in the region. I made some advice for a beer trip around Norway some time ago – I’ll need to revise that!

Getting ready for October

Getting ready for October

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What revolution?

antique_beer_photosThe 30th anniversary issue of All About Beer arrived last week. Lots of good overview articles and reprints of some of the best beer writing over the three decades. (I wonder why their web site never shows the cover of their current issue. That’s why I nicked anopther illustration instead.)

What I found most interesting was Maureen Ogle’s What Revolution, where she points out that craft beer has not taken over the market. What was fringe in 1979 is fringe in 2009. Two entities – Anheuser-Busch InBev and Miller-Coors control 80 percent of the U.S. market, with imports – mostly Corona and Heineken – taking a furter 13 percent.

She asks if the beer revolution has succeeded, and answers:

If the revolution’s intent was to change American beer culture, the answer is a decisive yes – and no. Yes, because the nation’s breweries now number fifteen hundred rather than the few dozen of thirty years ago. No, because the majority of Americans still regard beer as a kid’s drink and they still prefer those pesky corporate beers.

Yes, because American beer makers are stewards of the most dynamic, most creative brewing industry in the world. No, because after thirty years most of those brewers preside over a tiny niche market.

Buy a copy if you can find one!

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