Norwegian craft beer has been succesful in the American market. Nøgne Ø has, of course, been the door opener, but Haandbryggeriet has also been exporting as much as they have been able to brew for some time.
Their old facilities did not allow for any expansion, so they decided to move across the Drammen river to the industrial area of Sundland. Their new home is within an old train factory, with nice brick facades. In the summertime it is within walking distance from the railway station, at this time of the year it is ten minutes by taxi.
They have started brewing, but the bottling equipment and some of the tanks from the old brewery have yet to be moved.
They wanted to celebrate a bit before Christmas, so a number of beer geeks were invited to come and see the new brewery and sample some of the beers that will be launched in the new year. Apart from their own brews, they also had a fridge full of their imports, including splendid Dutch and American beers.
Sweet & Sour is a barrel aged beer, which did not win me completely over. They have aged a fairly light bodied beer, and I think something a bit more heavy and malty could have coped better with the oak treatment.
Their Sundland Kreosot was much better, a smoked dark IPA. A lovely blend of fruity hops and smoke that is both very drinkable and wonderfully complex.
Haandbryggeriet now has a licensed bar, and I assume they will be open for groups when everything is in place. During the summer months, I’m sure it will be nice to sip a beer on a bench outside as well – I look forward to their festival in May.