Archive for June, 2010

Just to let you know that the latest issue of All About Beer Magazine has a special supplement – Beer Traveler. Focus is on the US, but there are articles about Germany and Belgium, too. A list of 150 Perfect Places to have a beer will surely lead to discussions. Nice to see Olympen in Oslo at number 98, but I would probably have skipped the visitor’s centres of Heineken and Guinness.

Btw, the magazine itself is recommended, I don’t know of any other beer periodicals with such a consistently high quality currently available.

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I had other plans last Saturday. The morning was spent trying to tidy the apartment recently well, as there will be a photographer coming in today. I had planned an overnight trip with my eldest from Saturday to Sunday. But then I suddenly had something else to squeeze in.

I opened my e-mail to see if there was anything urgent, and there was an invite from Amund at Håndverkerstuene. It was their last day before closing for the summer, and they had not one, but two special treats.

Nøgne Ø Pilsener and Nøgne Ø # 500. Both on tap.

So, when I opened the door at about six, the bar stools were filled with friends and acquaintances. Sebastian behind the bar gave me compliments for my Dugges t-shirt and Amund immediately poured a glass of each of the two specials.

Nøgne Ø runs a summer restaurant in a harbour on the Southern coast of Norway, not far from the brewery.  Correction (thanks Erik): They deliver beer to a summer restaurant not far from the brewery. Pils is the tipple most of the customers want, so they decided to brew their own, competing with the also local Arendals Pils. A few kegs are turning up elsewhere, luckily one of them in Oslo.

It has a full malty body, moderate carbonation. Well hopped, but not excessively so. Herbs, grass and flowers. Lots of flavour. Personally I would prefer a cleaner, crisper beer, but this could really appeal to the broader market they are aiming for.

# 500 is an Imperial IPA, no less. Glowing brown. This is raw hop juice, mint, herbs, white pepper. A solid malty body underneath giving a kind of balance. Lovely when it is fresh, I wonder how this will develop if you give ti a few years in the cellar? There is lots of malty sweetness underneath which might come more to the front when the hops mellow a bit.

I had to make my excuses, even if I’d love a second round. Wishing everyone a lovely summer I went back out in sunny Oslo.

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Irregular service

I had a number of ideas for blog posts lined up, but sometimes you get too busy doing other things. We bought a new flat last week, which means we have to get rid of the old one. Before that, my handyman capabilities are stretched to the limit whne I’m not tutting stuff into boxes and bags.

But I seriously intend to go to the Haandbryggeriet summer party on Friday! Rumour has it that one of their beers got top score in the latest issue of Beer Advocate magazine.

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Actually, he didn’t bring it. I had to go to the post office to pick it up. Buit it was well worth the trip!

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If you are under the impression that I buy a lot of beer, you are seriously mistaken. This guy, however, has done some serious shopping.

I was told an anecdote on one of my visits to Øbutikken about a Swiss customer who got up at 2 in the morning, drove all the way to copenhagen and filled up his care with more or less the whole inventory. His total bill was even higher. But 6780 Danish kroner is real money. Almost 600 Euros.

Thanks to beerticker.dk for the tip.

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DC Brews

According to the Washington Post All We Can Eat blog, there will be a number of new breweries opening up over the next year or two, offering beer in kegs, bottles and cans.

I haven’t been there for decades, but I still have fond memories of the Brickskeller, one of the pioneers among the beer bars of the world.

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Swedish Moderate MP Hans Wallmark has visited small scale producers of beer and wine in southern Sweden, and his recommendations on his blog are clear. It should be possible to tweak the system to open for direct sales of alcohol from producers to consumers.

The absurdities of the system are illustrated by the story of the sparkling wine producer Carl-Otto Ottergren. (It’s the wine that’s sparkling, I don’t know about Carl-Otto). When he wants to have a tasting of the champagne with his own name on the label, he calls Systembolaget in Ystad, telling them he wants to buy  20 bottles of Carl-Otto. Then a paper slides out of his fax machine with an order of  20 bottles of Carl-Otto. He packs the boxes into his car, drives to Ystad and delivers them. Then he walks around the building, lines up in front of the cashier and tells them he is Carl-Otto who’s there to get the wines called Carl-Ottos. He gets out and then home with the same boxes. The difference is that his profits have been cut by half through the fees charged by Systembolaget.

The chair of the Norwegian Liberal Party shares his views. Trine Skei Grande has visited a cider producer in Western Norway, where we find most of the orchards of the country. Here the rules are slightly more liberal than in Sweden. The cider maker does not have to drive to the nearest town and back again before having a tasting, but it is still impossible to buy a bottle or two to take home from your visit.

The governments of both countries are scratching their heads. There are supporters of threse proposals in many politcal camps, but at the same time there are worries that this will mean the beginning of the end for the government retail monopolies.

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Now it’s public. At Håndverkerstuene.  Ægir, Haandbryggeriet and Nøgne Ø. Plus our friends from Scotland, BrewDog.

10-11 September

Beermakers dinner as well. See you there!



















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The most promising about the revival of Norwegian Brewers is not their predictable views on government policies, taxes and such. It is the change from being an organ for the big and medium sized breweries to the inclusion of everyone from giant Ringnes to the smallest farm breweries brewing a few hundred liters at a time.

This new and broader approach has led to a number of new members, but it has also led to a focus on craft brewing and a diversity of style. A particularly encouraging sign was that a Ringnes representative earlier this week praised the innovative spirit of Nøgne Ø and gave them credit for renewing the industry.

Among the micro breweries present at the web site launch this week were Atna Øl, Ægir and Ølve på Egge. While this event was not particularly aimed to give direct press coverage, I am sure there will be future opportunities for the smallest to show what they are doing.  As long as the bigger players see that the craft brewers are contributing to make a more sophisticated and mature market, I think this is very encouraging.

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World Cup beers

For the tickers who want to drink beers from all participating countries, the good people at BierPost in Germany have made a box containing beers from 18 of the participating countries. No luck if you’re looking for refreshments from Algiers, Chile, Ivory Coast, Honduras, Cameroon, North Korea, Nigeria, Paraguay, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia or Uruguay, though.

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