Ego brygghus is one of the many new breweries established in Norway this year, and they have established themselves with high quality beers from the very start. I visited some months ago, and head brewer Christer was very clear that he would not compromise on quality – they will only sell beers they can really stand behind.
Ego is located in Fredrikstad, Østfold, the southeastern corner of Norway.
Their first batches showed the scope, two IPAs, a rye IPA, a pale ale, a stout and a wheat ale. They brew 500-700 liter batches.
The production in 2014, with only six months of actual brewing, will end up at around 20000 liters, while the aim for 2015 is at least to double that. The best sellers so far have been A Damn Fine Coffee IPA and Reign in Citra – a single hop pale ale. The number of beers is approaching 20, so it is a challenge to follow this as long as they have a limited distribution.
The plan was to aim for the pub restaurant market with both kegs and bottles, but Ego is now ready to move into both supermarkets and Vinmonopolet – the state monopoly stores. The first supermarket beer is a saison. They had plans for an unfiltered pilsener as well, but they were not happy with the first batch, so we’ll probably have to wait until the new year for that one. They have a new distribution deal with Strag, which has a number of solid brand names in their portfolio, including the Erdinger beers. I think both sides can profit from a partnership with a Norwegian craft brewery.
The Ego beers do not aim for the extreme, they are drinkable and accessible. This does not mean bland beers, there is plenty of flavor and bitterness, My current favourite is their Black Chocolate IPA. Dark brown, with very inviting aroma, berries and a hint of cocoa. Bittersweet flavor, roasted grain and herbal hops. The chocolate or cocoa is there, but not in an intrusive way.