It was one of those December days when dawn is just the dark night sliding into grey – gray clouds and steel gray ice. Lucky then that some of us had decided to brighten up the evening through an excursion to the newest brew pub in the Oslo area, Sundbytunet.
Sundbytunet is located in Jessheim, a town forty minutes by commuter train from central Oslo. It is part of a restaurant complex which includes several drinking and dining options as well as rooms for rent and even a distillery (yet to start production). A few years ago, this concept would have been totally alien in a place like this.
The decor is more or less what you would expect – an old cellar that has gone through a complete makeover – lots of exposed wooden beams and shining copper kettles.
Frank the brewer does not usually work as a bartender, but he was there waiting for us to present his beers.
The staple brew is a well hopped pils, and we were lucky to try both the last drops of the first batch and some fresh stuff from the tank.
The seasonal beer is a red ale related to a brown ale, fruity and refreshing and aimed to complement the Christmas fare in the restaurant on the floor above.
Most interesting was the special beer made for the opening, an eleven per cent ABV barley wine. A liberal use of hops makes sure that this does not feel too sweet, and it was the perfect companion to the cheese platter you can order at the bar.
Frank is a skilled brewer, and his last employer was Nøgne Ø, which is a recommendation it itself. It is therefore not a surprise that this was the first new brewpub I’ve visited that did not have teething problems with its first brews – these were spot on.
Coming beers include a porter, that will be available from the coming weekend, and an IPA. And some of the barley wine will be matured in oak barrels. There will be experiments with used sherry casks as well as new oak.
A detour from Oslo is highly recommended. And if you have a few hours layover at Gardermoen airport, you can hop on a local bus to Jessheim and try the beers without going down town.