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Archive for the ‘beer blogs’ Category

Once is funny, when you find it is widespread, I get annoyed.

Jørn, the brewer at Trondhjem Mikrobryggeri, has pointed out that he has found my photo at yet another website. At Mozzarella’s Grill & Bar. It’s one of a number of photos rotating at their front page.

 

Mozzarellas

It might be that the restaurant chain, this time located in various locations in Connecticut and Rhode Island, is innocent. But they could have asked for photos actually originating from their own restaurants. And they claim the copyright for their website.

My main suspect is, once again, the company behind the website. This time it is called Zevon Media. According to  their own pages, they have social media skills. We’ll see about that.

For the record, here is my photo of the beer samples in Trondheim again.  Little did they know they would conquer the globe.

 Trondhjemsamples

I await a response. This time I will not settle for dimes. I know a beer blogger lawyer.

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I got a transfer from the web design company via PayPal last night, with the following message:

Apologies for the misue of your photo. It was for placement only during early production and was supposed to be swapped out with actual photos of this brewery’s beer — but that task fell through the cracks. Please accept this gift to buy yourself some beer. We have already replaced the photo.

So. No grudges. But I’d still like to try the beers from the Hopvine brewery.

Meanwhile – a crappy photo of a grilled Gorgonzola sandwich and a beer. At the Chelsea Pub in Parma, Italy. It is highlyunlikely that anyone will steal this.

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Someone stole my beer photo.

There have been some weird sites that has taken whole blog posts and republished them, but there have been many years since I have discovered unauthorized use of my photos.

When I look back, there is a strong possibility that I have a general crappy level of photo quality, meaning there are far better sources for nicking beer pictures than this site.

But one of my readers is a brewer at Trondhjem Mikrobryggeri. And he must have a very good memory of photos. Photographic memory?  Because he spotted a photo of his beers. That had appeared in my blog post from last year. But he found it on the web site of the Hopvine Brewery in Aurora, Illinois.

 

Your beers?

Your beers?

 

This is my original photo:

 

 

Trondhjemsamples

 What’s wrong with their own beers? Don’t they look good enough?

I think someone in Aurora, Il. owes me a beer. Either the Hopvine guys. or the ones in IPC, who set up their website.

 You will find our friendly, no-nonsense method of doing business quite refreshing, says IPC.

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Belgian flag

I had to rearrange the schedule of my day job this Easter. In Norway, this is serious vacation time. Many take the whole week off, going skiing on the last patches of snow or opening their summer houses for the season.

I’ll be home most of the week. I was supposed to be on duty the week after Easter, but I received an email that made me change my plans.

Visit Flanders, the tourist promotion body for the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium, has invited 8 Scandinavian beer writers for a four day visit from 24 April.  Four Swedes, two Danes, two Norwegians.

We will be visiting cafes and restaurants, breweries and beer festivals.

Here are the breweries where we will make a stop:

  • Cantillon
  • Brasserie de la Senne
  • De Halve Maan
  • De Struise Brouwers
  • Brewery 3 Fonteinen
  • Brewery De Kroon
  • Hof Ten Dormaal
  • Domus

 

Full coverage here on the blog, but also on twitter, @KnutAl, and Facebook.

This is a part of what looks like a general push for Belgian beer tourism. The craft beer explosion has swept the globe, but Belgium has the whole range from historical styles saved in the nick of time to daring newcomers pushing the boundaries. In my nine years of beer blogging, I haven’t given Belgium its fair share of coverage – I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to remedy that.

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Over the years, I have written about the beer scene in many European countries, but I haven’t written very much about Belgium. Sure, I covered some places in Brussels and Brugges, but I am a novice compared to those who make annual visits and know both the back streets of Antwerp and the green country lanes of Payottenland.
I am happy to tell that I belong to a group of eight Scandinavian beer writers invited to a four-day visit to Belgium next month. More about the itinerary later.
I like to plan ahead, so I have already spent some time with google maps, guide books and other sources.  My guides to Belgium were a few years old, so I thought I’d check what’s available.
There are guide books of all shapes and sizes. With 3D drawings of palaces and museums, with pull out or fold-out-and-never-able-to-fold-back-again-maps. And there is a peculiar tradition among the guidebook publishers – they hide the publication date of the book as well as they can, fearing that they will be considered past their sell-by date.
But there are some real gems out there. On Amazon, there are scans of old and out of print books, I stumbled across Peeps at Many Lands: Belgium by George W. T.  Omond, published in 1909 and now in the public domain.
According to Wikipedia, the author was awarded the Order of the Crown for his books about Belgium. I have a nagging feeling that the Belgians did not read the books before giving him the award.
A few highlights:
…..This seems a dull and hard life, but the Flemings do not find it so. Like all Belgians, they are fond of amusement, and there is a great deal of dancing and singing, especially on holidays. Sunday is the chief holiday. They all go to church in the morning, and the rest of the day is given up to play. Unfortunately many of the older people drink too much. There are far too many public-houses. Any person who likes can open one on payment of a small sum of money to the Government. The result is that in many quite small villages, where very few people live, there are ten or twelve public-houses, where a large glass of beer is sold for less than a penny, and a glass of coarse spirits for about the same price. Most of the drinking is done on Sunday, and on Monday morning it is often difficult to get men to work. There are many, especially in the towns, who never work on Mondays. This is quite understood in Belgium, and people who know the country are pleased, and rather surprised, if an artisan who has promised to come and do something on a Monday morning keeps his word. Of course there are many sober work-people, and it is a rare thing to see a tipsy woman, much rarer than in England; but there is a great deal of drunkenness in Belgium.
…………………….
The rooms in these public-houses are pretty large, but they get dreadfully hot and stuffy. The constant laughing and talking, the music, and the scraping of feet on the sanded floor make an awful din. Then there are sometimes disputes, and the Flemings have a nasty habit of using knives when they are angry, so the dancing, which often goes on till two or three in the morning, is the least pleasant thing about these gatherings.

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Bloggers need more love!

Dear blogger

We know PR people sometimes drive you nuts.  We understand that they can have unrealistic demands or may not respect your time.  We want to change that.  If you could take 5 minutes and fill out our survey we promise we will get the results into the hands of as many PR people as we can. Our goal is to help PR people learn to communicate more effectively with the blogger world. To show our appreciation we will be sending a $100 Target gift certificate to one participant!  

Dear PR person.

Then you can be the first to stop wasting my time.

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Jeff Knut

I told you I won’t give any proper coverage of our London visit, but I must mention this particularly.

We had spent the afternoon and early evening doing brief stops at a number of pubs. Some of them we knew beforehand, like Cask Pub and Kitchen and the Euston Tap. My aim was to end up fairly early in the evening at the Gunmakers Arms, where two of the early activists of the beer blogsphere are to be found, behind the bar, Jeff and Alessio.

I was welcomed warmly – I have met Jeff some time over the years, while I was in touch with Alessio during the time I visited Italy fairly frequently.

The Gunmakers is still doing very well, with a good range of well kept cask ales.

I’m happy to report that Jeff is also opening a new pub in Earls Court, or to be exact, if I got it right, reopening a pub that has been closed for quite some time, the Finsborough Arms. It will not be a brewpub, but in the beer range you’ll find  recreations of classic beers unearthed by the legendary Ron Pattison. Six keg beers, eight hand pumps.

Opening on 28 February. Jeff’s birthday.

Jeff even promised that he’ll start blogging again.

If you want updates, follow @FinboroughArms on twitter.

Thanks to Ole Richard for the photos.

Gunmakers

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Peter M. Eronson runs the Swedish beer blog Fat & Flaska, and he has published a list of the 100 best sellers in Sweden’s Systembolaget. The ranking reflect sales in Swedish Kronor, but the right column shows the volume in liters. The category includes beer, ciders and alcopops.

This shows, that, for all the talk about craft taking over the world, it is all about pale lagers. The only exceptions, Newcastle Brown Ale (64), Falcon Bayersk (65), Brooklyn Lager (74) and Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer (88) are not something I’d go out of my way for, either.

This also show the contrast between the Swedish and the Norwegian markets. The beers below 4.7 % would be sold in Norwegian supermarkets, so you’ll not find them in the Vinmonopolet stores. And the super strength lagers are hardly to be found here.  I suspect the Norwegian tramps either smuggle strong beer from Sweden or stick to vodka.

Call me a snob, but I pass on the red rhubarb flavoured cider (82).

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I’m on my way to Stockholm. A city I used to visit several times a year. A beautiful place, both summer and winter. And a city that has a number of beer pubs with a splendid reputation. I have hardly visited since I started blogging, and not at all since I moved over to the WordPress platform.

A train journey this time around. Then I finally have the time to read Pete Brown’s book.

The blog homebru net Scandinavia has counted 400 new Swedish beers in 2012. (Check out their blog. A great resource for documentation on new breweries).

Add that to the figures for Norway and Denmark, and we end up with about 1400 new Scandinavian beers last year.

Who’s gonna drink it all?

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It has certainly not been the most productive of years at the blog. The beer scene is more vibrant than ever, it’s really me being busy elsewhere. But I thought it appropriate to share a few world, as we seem to have survived yet another solstice.

The number of breweries in Norway is almost at the same level as it was in the last golden age a century ago – except this time around they don’t all go for the same German lager styles. As I have started to document in my series of presentations of Norwegian micros, there is a diversity out there that makes it even more fun to observe.

The question is, of course, is this sustainable? Denmark is a few years ahead of us, and they have seen some bankruptcies in the sector. Can we expect the same?

There are some major differences between us, making me a cautious optimist. Many of the new breweries are brewpubs, supplying one or a very few pubs and restaurants. This means no bottling plant, no capital tied up in bottled beers in shops up and down the land, the opportunity of tweaking and adjusting the recipes to get the right beer. This also means that brewing is often a part-time activity, you don’t have to find room for a full salary. On the other hand, the driving force here is often pure enthusiasm, and this may wear thin over time.

Others bottle their beers, aiming for local or national distribution. This may work out well for a year or two. The supermarkets in Norway are concentrated in four groups, and as long as beer is trendy, there are opportunities. But this depends on sales, if they do not live up to expectations, the shelf space will be given back to Carlsberg and Corona. It is partly a question of price, there are limits to what people are willing to pay for a beer at 4.7%ABV.

The Vinmonopolet stores have a huge increase in beer sales,  and some of them now have a very good range. The seasonal Christmas beers were sold out in record time this year. There are a number of importers trying to cash in on the opportunity, but I don’t think all of them will be successful. There are splendid beers to be had – but there are also far too many overpriced Italian clones of standard beer styles not worth a premium price.

The new brewpubs in Oslo are to be applauded for not sticking to their own beer, but also offering the best domestic and import beers they can lay their hands on. I travel far less than I used to – but I can get some of the best beers on the planet close to home.

I have stocked up a few bottles for the holidays, and will be taking a long break in the Norwegian mountains with my family. Skiing, cooking, reading, playing cards.  Merry Christmas to all of you!

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