Archive for February, 2010

Animal Planet

I had to share this, but blame Barry.

Tested on animals

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More praise for Olympen

Pub of the Month in the Inside Beer newsletter is Olympen in Oslo. A good choice!

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The Pub History Society, in cooperation with the British National Archives, has a seminar on pub history on 20 February.

Speakers include Jack Adams revealing ‘Lost London pubs’, Patrick Chaplin looking at aspects of the history of darts’,  ‘Pub Signs and Names’.  David Roe will give a slide presentation about the history of pub signs and the origin of pub names. It will focus on examples for London pubs – some of historical interest and some with entertaining signs and names.   ‘The pub and the people’. Simon Fowler looks at contemporary views of pubs in the 1930’s and David Thomas goes behind the scenes of the coaching inn.

Free admission, but advance reservation essential.

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While the Scandinavian governmental TV channels do not wince at showing horror movies, and while our offspring are busy have blood spattered monitors after battling down rebel forces on their Xboxes, there are still things which are too tough for us.
Swedish TV Channel SVT is currently running a series called Landet brunsåsThe Land of brown sauce –  asking questions about why Swedes eat what they do.
One part of a program was to feature the cooking and eating of a guinea pig. When one of the national tabloids got hold of this, the scenes were deleted, presumably after protests from the family that sold the pet to the journalist.

To be replaced by brown sauce, I assume.

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It’s been a while since the last installment in this series, so it’s a bit time to follow up.

Håndtverkeren is a traditional restaurant in central Oslo, lately being mostly used for meetings – press conferences and so on.

It closed down for some weeks last year and reopened as HåndverkerStuene. It is slightly refurbished, with a large bar and lots of smaller areas and long tables. Still inspired by ca 1890 national romantic style, but not excessively so.

There is still wine and stronger stuff to be had, but this is now an unashamedly beery spot. A printed beer menu with a long list of Norwegian micros and selected imports. Six Norwegian micro beers on tap, and you can even order a sampler of those.

The food is reputedly good, too, and there is a daily special that’s moderately priced.

I work in downtown Oslo for the time being, so I popped in on my way from work the other day. There was one beer on their list I particularly wanted to try, Haandbryggeriet’s Wild Thing.

I have tried a prototype of this beer at the brewery some time ago. I’m not sure if this is being brewed at commercial scale now – but there are properly printed labels for this, so I assume it’s on its way.

Wild Thing is brewed with lingonberries, red currants and Brett. The prototype was quite sharp, very dominated by the red currants as far as I remember. The sourness is still there, but it is more Rodenbach-like and a bit more muted. The malty base is more present, giving good balance. The lingonberries give a fresh fruitiness.

Highly recommended. They could consider a better spelling of the name, though, the capital S is out of place…

I will also like to highlight the good service. I was there at a quiet time, and the waiter came over to my table and politely enquired if the beer was to my liking. This is the style we want. Let’s hope it wasn’t only because he noticed my camera and note book.


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Sometimes I get unexpected treats. Some weeks ago, my friend David the brewer told me he had a beer he’d like me to try out. It was a long distance collaboration project between him and  Paul Thomas, former head brewer at Bitter Root Brewery (where the beer was brewed) in Hamilton, Montana and, as of December, head brewer at Pelican brewery and pub in Oregon.

The beer is listed on the Bitter Root web page under Brewer’s whims and seasonals, CollaBEERation Baltic Porter. 9% ABV, aged in freshly emptied bourbon barrels for 69 days, no less.

The bourbon is very present here, with vanilla and an edge of alcohol.There is more underneath, a fine porter with cocoa, liquorice, a hint of coffee, perhaps.

It is bottled with a fair amount of carbonation, giving a huge, rapidly imploding head. A dark beer with a ruby glow.

The bourbon outshines everything – for a follow up perhaps an even stronger imperial stout would give the barrel more of a challenge, or maybe a few weeks less of barrel aging?  A bit too much vanilla for me.

But that’s a minor complaint. First and foremost this is a refreshing change from all the Scotch barrel aged beers out there – perhaps some bourbon casks could find their way across the Atlantic as well?

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For most of us, Autumn is not the season that comes to mind right now, busy as we are waxing our skis, shuffling snow or just trying to keep our beer from freezzing.

But the brave burghers of Bavaria are looking foward, and they are announcing the winner of the contest for the 2010 poster for the Octoberfest. The artist is Nathalie Fumelli from Designschule München.

Nice job, but I prefer the Dirndl with Mädchen in them.

It’s the 200th Anniversary of the fest, so the glasses will be extra large this year.

Octoberfest 2010 poster

Just kidding.

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