Archive for April, 2010

New dog in town

Who would have thought, just a year or two ago, that we would have a BrewDog beer on Norwegian supermarket shelves? Specially brewed for Norway?

And I’m not talking about any exclusive shop with deli and manned fish and cheese departments, but you basic no frills discount chain. I think their Scandinavian importer has done some serious salesmanship here.

They are not on the shelves of every REMA 1000 shop yet. If it’s not in your local shop, ask them to add it to their range.

It’s a red and fruity ale, packed with citrus hops. Quite a contrast to the bland lagers they usually carry.

Alpha Dog

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It is very encouraging to see that the same spirit of cooperation and community I have observed amoung the beer geeks also to a large extent applies to the craft brewers. I don’t follow the North American scene enough to give any intelligent observations, but here in Northern Europe there are new projects all the time.

The best example of this is probably Mikkeller. Mikkel does not have a brewery of his own, so he is totally dependent of finding like-minded breweries where he can brew his beers. Hitting the market right now are variations of the Beer Geek beers aged in Islay and Bourbon barrels. These have been brewed at Nøgne Ø in Norway, while I believe BrewDog have helped them find whisky barrels for the purpose.

Mikkel has also brewed quite a few beers at De Molen in the Netherlands. Menno from De Molen, on the other hand, has visited Haandbryggeriet in Norway, and the first collaboration brew is called Menno and Jens. It was pre-released on cask at Håndverkerstuene in Oslo last week.

This is a historical recreation of beers before hops were widespread, using various herbs instead. An interesting experiment, which I encourage you to try when it turns up in bottes – but on the other hand I think I prefer hoppy beers..

Haandbryggeriet has an impressive list of beers being launched this winter and spring including a Smoked beer, a crowberry beer and two beers brewed on lingonberries and currants fermented with lambic and wild yeasts. And they have started importing rare stuff, too – we can look forward to more De Molen beers, for example.

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Lunch, Bruges style

Halve Maan menu

And a beer, please!

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Swedish Member of Parliament Hans Wallmark has an update on his blog about the revisions in Swedish alcohol legislation. Anyone being able to read Swedish (or able to use Google translator) should read it, it contains a coherent line of reasoning I won’t try to summarize here, except one point.

Hans feels that the government proposes some positive changes, but they are dragging their feet in other areas, particularly when it comes to selling alcohol directly from farms making them.

The government says the following:

The possibilities for allowing the sale of alcohol from farms should be analyzed further. The Government has therefore decided to do a study to find out if it is possible to allow farm sales of alcoholic beverages within EU legislation and while still keeping the government retail monopoly.

The Norwegian minister of Agriculture, Lars Peder Brekk, Center Party, has called for a more liberal policy in Norway in this area. His coalition partners in the Social Democratic Party are, however, not amused, they feel that tinkering with the legislation in this field might mean an end to the retail monopoly system.

Some farmhouse booze to go?

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The End

There is a distinct smell of sulphur in the air, so the end is probably approaching fast. I should probably drink the beers I have stashed away. Just in case.

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Lots of people are stranded in airports today, and I read a cheery statement from a geologist that the last time this volcano erupted it lasted for two years…

If I could pick an airport to be stuck in, I think I’d choose Munich. They have a brewpub.

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Even if I had bought some bottles in Amsterdam and Bruges, I had to look in at the Bier Tempel in Brussels. I mean, it was on the way from the Gare Centrale to the hotel!

I almost bought an extra suitcase.


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