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Archive for June, 2010

 

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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The organisation Norwegian Brewers has a long history, going back to the time when there were independent breweries in most towns. It used to be a profiled spokesman for the industry, fighting battles against new limits and regulations. Some of the battles have been successful – keeping the standard strength beers in supermarkets, some less so – ban on alcohol ads.

For the last decade or two, the organisation has been less visible. One reason for this is probably the fact that Carlsberg is the dominating player in the beer market, effectively sharing the market with three regional breweries.

Someone, I don’t know who, probably the board of the organisation, decided some time last year that it was time to change this. They recruited a well-known media personality, Petter Nome, as their new director, and he has set out to redefine the organisation.

I mentioned a few days ago their new web site that aims to cover the whole beer, soft drinks and water sector. This will obviously also add to the visibility of the breweries and soft drinks producers. It remains to be seen how the health authorities will react to the web site – it looks like Nome is willing to fight this out in court, which will also mean huge media coverage and a discussion both in political circles and among the public.

To be continued…

Petter Nome with Evan Lewis, Ægir Bryggeri

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An oasis in Africa

The English language edition of Der Spiegel tells the story of a German beer hall in Addis Ababa of all places.

The brewer is a local, but his brewing education is impeccable – from Weihenstephan, no less.

Two beers, brewed on the premises: A light ale called Blondy and a darker one named Ebony.

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The Norwegian Brewers had, amid some controversy, a launch of their new web site this afternoon, focusing on both beer, water and soft drinks. Norwegian authorities, namely the Directorate of Health, claim that such a web site is in violation on the ban of promoting alcohol.

Norwegian Brewers dispute this, saying that they have the right to give factual information about their products, especially as long as the wine monopoly promotes wine on their web site. Their new managing director, Petter Nome, is not afraid to speak his mind.

They are, nevertheless, on good speaking terms with some of the people in power. The Minister of Agriculture and Food, Lars Peder Brekk, has, as I have mentioned previously, been very positive to micro breweries. He has called for a revision of the laws, allowing for small scale producers to sell directly to the consumer.

Mr. Brekk was therefore named Årets Ølhund 2010, literally Beer Hound of the Year. In his acceptance speech, he stressed the need to think of beer and food as a whole, often adding a glass of aquavit as well. He was particularly pleased to see micro breweries among the ones gathered for this launch. He claimed not to have found any favourite beer as yet, but hs is still searching for it.

To mark the event, a dozen producers of beer and soft drinks were gathered. I’ll come back to updates on some of them over the next few days.

Petter Nome giving the award to Minister Brekk

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Guests at Olympen

It’s very convenient to have a decent beer bar just a few minutes’ walk from where I work, it means that I have mostly, well, to the extent I hang out in beer bars, been visiting Håndverkerstuene here in Oslo.

But there is still a great restaurant/beer bar, the one that really kicked the Oslo scene into something worth visiting, that’s in the same league, Olympen (or Lompa among friends).

I happened to be in the area recently, after a splendid meal at Oslo Spiseforretning.

Olympen has been running newspaper ads boasting of a broad range of Scandinavian beers, but some of these have been delayed by a strike in the transport sector. No need to worry about that, there are lots of other options in their beer list.

Saison de Lente from new American star the Bruery. Who would dream of getting beers like this around here a few years ago?  Citrus, light malty body. Grapefruit, Some barnyard or stable. Apricots, spices. Lovely, complex beer. Some brett character, but not overpowering.

What else? A fine range of Mikkeller beers, including five of their Single Hop IPA series. I had never tried their Centennial or Tomahawk varieties. Interesting showcases of the hops, none of which would be used alone in an optimal IPA, but here they were allowed to shine in their own right. Someone should have a grand tasting of the whole series.

Pricey? Sure. But when you compare with what they charge you for industrial fizz in more hip places, it is worth every penny.

Saison de Lente

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