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Archive for December, 2011

Alternative reading

I should post more. But while you wait, there are other beer blogs to go to. Like The Pour Curator. A very good concept that makes it stick out among the thousand other beer blogs out there.

The motto says a lot about the idea:

There is art. There is beer. This is where they meet.

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The pioneers of the Norwegian craft beer movement have cooperated with home brewers for a long time, and the tickets for their next meetup at the brewery sold out fast. That includes not only a visit to the brewery, you get to take some prime ingredients home to make your own version of one of their beers. They also make a batch based on the winner of the annual home brewing competition, meaning this beer is available across the country (and beyond).

But now they have been innovative again, making a product for people like me, who have never taken the step into home brewing.

A starter brew kit for home brewers.  And a beer kit based on one of their beers, the first one being their Pale Ale.

It is not cheap. But I don’t think I can resist this.

Available only in Norway for the time being as far as I know. But I feel sure they will roll this out globally. From the end of the world to your town.

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If Austrian beers (or, more likely, brandy, wine or chocolate), Austian Airlines have teamed up with AustrianGrocery.com, delivering to your door if it’s not prohibited. A shame this seems to be aimed more at the homesick Austrian expat.

I’m afraid that the beer selection is not up to the same standards as the fruit brandies, the Sacher Torte or other delicacies. On the contrary, most of the beers are of the infamous Radler kind, a mix of pale lager and lemonade, a popular beverage in Germany and Austria.

There are, however, other online shops. MyBreweryTap in England offers a wide range of beers, most of them in boxes representing a particular brewery. But there is also a pick and mix list, including both British and import beers. Most interesting are the Hardknott beers from fellow blogger Dave. His operation is small scale, and still seems to be under the radar for beer fans outside the UK. (BTW go read his blog and read his comments to a letter from the Portman group!)

So, I ordered a box. I try not to think about what it will cost me after all the duties, taxes and fees. But at least it is legal now, not like the time when Alan tried to send me a few bottles.

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There are more beery pleasures next year than the Mikkeller event in Copenhagen. I have complained about the quality of some festivals here in Norway recently, but I am happy to tell you there are others more concerned about quality.

Haandbryggeriet have just finished moving to new and bigger premises in Drammen, half an hour west of Oslo by train.This means more capacity and more elbow room than the old facility was able to offer.

This calls for a celebration, but they have decided to wait some months for this. 4-5 May are the dates to note in your calendar.

They have invited some of their friends, and they have promised to bring along a few beers. Confirmed so far:

  • Närke
  • Nøgne Ø
  • Kinn
  • De Molen
  • Struise
  • Emelisse
  • Alvinne
  • LoverBeer

No details about tickets and other practicalities yet, but I’ll keep you informed.

Ready for new brews

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May next year will be a busy period for those of us in Northern Europe who take our beer drinking seriously. I’m not referring to the opportunity to drink beer Al fresco after hibernating through a long winter, but to the fact that there will be more beer festivals than most of us will have the capacity to attend.

Because the festival market is changing. Maturing is perhaps the word some marketing men would use. Sure, there will be a big festival in Copenhagen as usual. 10-12 May. At the old Carlsberg brewery. You’ll find breweries large and small, with more beers than you would probably want to try. (It is amazing how many over priced locally brewed pale lagers the Danish market can absorb.) The tickets are on sale, check out their web site for details.

But, more interesting, there will be a competing event. The Mikkeller brand is firmly established in the beer world, primarily with the gypsy brewery using spare facilities and guest brewing at craft breweries around the globe. The Mikkeller bar in Copenhagen seems to be a hit as well, with their own brews as well as imports you thought were beyond your reach.

The next step is the Copenhagen Beer Celebration. 11-12. May in another area of Copenhagen – close to the football area if that helps you get oriented. Not aiming for a world record for beer tickers, it is limited to 250 beers from 30 breweries. The 30 (depending how you count) are of course hand-picked:

They are obviously aiming for the hard-core of the beer fans. 1000 tickets were available for each day, and they sold out in two weeks – I believe the tickets for the Saturday sold out in hours.

At 300 Danish Kroner they were not dirt cheap, but the price even includes a high quality meal with food and beer pairings. They could easily have asked twice the price if they had included a few exclusive bottles in the package.

It should not come as a surprise that this appeals to me – I have my tickets for both Friday and Saturday.

I am sure the Danish Beer Enthusiasts are worried. This means a loss of one thousand potential customers per day, the customers who are going for the daring and extreme beers. Their festivals have been through some tough times in recent years, – I have sympathy for them. At the same time, they have not been a centre of innovation lately. Like CAMRA they seem to be seriously good at facing the challenges of a decade or two ago.

I hope there will be a place for both festivals, but in the end it is the most successful business model that will win.

Copenhagen Beer Fest logo

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