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Archive for November, 2009

The VG Christmas beer test, where I was on one of the judging panels, is now online. No photos of the juries, though – but a nice plug for my blog.

Here is the jury judging the stronger beers:

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As I’ve mentioned before, the good people at Nøgne Ø have been busy this year, lining up seasonal goodies for their fans at home and abroad.

One beer is a collaboration project between Nøgne Ø, Stone and Jolly Pumpkin, I assume they are the three camel riding kings on the label.

The idea behind this beer is to use the same recipe three years in a row, brewing the beers at one brewery in turn. Stone released their beer last year, it’s even ben on tap here in Oslo, though I missed it.  I assume the Jolly Pumpkin version will be ready for Christmas next year, barrel aged if I remember correctly.

Brewed with ingredients from the area around the breweries, including sage, chestnuts and juniper berries.

The result is a delicate Belgian style ale with a solid malty body and a complex palate. The sage is perhaps dominating, but you have the juniper berries clearly present in the finish. Layer upon layer of goodness here. Lots of fruit, oranges and clementines, sweet with a little bitter edge – more from the juniper than the hops, perhaps.  Some caramel, burned sugar, cocoa, the nuances are endless.

Pours a hazy brown with a milk chocolate head.

Anything negative? I could do without the yeast sediment in beers like this. They don’t have to filter it, but I question the routine of adding yeast to every bottle regardless of the beer in question.

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Small world

Someone has used Google to translate my blog into Vietnamese. Wow.

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Vifilfell is an Icelandic brewery, with a range of beers boasting of viking heritage and pure Icelandic water. They have made a gift box of five of their canned beers, sensibly available in the Keflavik Duty Free shop, presumably doing a brisk trade with jet lagged customers in transit from North America.

I found a similar box in Munich airport a few years ago, but with bottles, not cans.

So, what’s the problem?

The contents. We’re talking five pale lagers here, all of them in the range between boring and mediocre. No bock, no stout, no pale ale.

For tickers only.

Five pale vikings

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Romanian beer blog

While I am happy about the dozens of British beer bloggers and amazed by the Irish Craft Brewers, who seem to blog more than they brew, there is always room for more voices in the European Union of beer bloggers. Say welcome to a new member of the family,  Slaven in Romania.

As he points out, (thanks to Google for translating!)  the beer industry down there has been aquired by the big lager boys. Let’s hope that someone starts a high quality brewery in Romania. I think easy access to high quality grain could be a starting point.

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A bit of history documented over at DDR Brauwesen, the breweries and soft drinks of the DDR all lined up. Beer mats, bottle labels and a history of the various companies.

I’m sorry to say I only tried one East German brew. It was not particularly tasty, and the gloomy Kneipe somewhere in East Berlin did not help much.

Thanks to Lieblingsbier.de for pointing me to this.

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Just now my shelves are filled with the new offerings from Nøgne ø, so it is perhaps lucky that I don’t have access to the most interesting brews from Denmark. (But if any readers are curious about what to buy me for Christmas, please read on..)

Last month saw the release of a range of bottles of barrel aged beers from Nørrebro Bryghus, limited to 250 liters of each beer. Right now Ølbutikken informs me about the new beers from Mikkeller.

There is a Christmas beer, what Mikkel calls a hybrid between a Red Ale and a Wit Bier, with lots of American hops and bitter tropical orange peel. It is issued in 1,5 liter bottles and named Red White Christmas.

Their “ordinary” Christmas beer is named Mikkeller Til Via Fra, and all the vintages from 2006 are also for sale.

What else?

Mikkeller 黑 (Peated)

Mikkeller/Nøgne Ø Tyttebær – with lingonberries and brettanomyces

Mikkeller/De Molen Mikkel & Menno Weizenbock

Presumably they have the Islay Cask Beer Geek Brunch as well….

What’s next?

According to the Mikkeller blog, there will be a collaboration between Mikkeller and the Craft brewery in Athens, Greece. But that’s still in the planning stage.

Photo courtesy of Alex at www.beer.gr

Danish and Greek brewers

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