Archive for the ‘Scotland’ Category

Breaking news this morning: BrewDog bar to open in Norway. Or, on closer scrutiny: One step closer to one or more BrewDog bars opening in Norway. I’m sorry that I forgot to credit Ølportalen (in Norwegian) as the source for this.

Three Norwegians have secured a franchise agreement with BrewDog, establishing BrewDog Bar AS. They will not run the bars themselves, but in McDonald’s style deliver everything. Beer engines, interior design, cash registers .. and beer.

Two of the three investors are involved in newly established 7 Fjell Bryggeri in Bergen, which is rapidly making a reputation for high quality beers. They are distributed nationally by Cask Norway, who also distributes BrewDog along with other acclaimed breweries from around the globe.

I am not in the restaurant industry, and I am no accountant, either, so I cannot give an economic analysis of this venture. Of course BrewDog is a familiar name in Norway, Cask Norway has done a great job, getting their beers on the supermarket and Vinmonopolet shelves in remote outskirts of the land. The market is also ready for trendy beer bars appealing to the younger crowd – there are a number of them already, at least in Oslo.

But on the other hand, there are some extra obstacles around here.

  • They cannot name it BrewDog. The rest of the graphic design also has to be toned down to follow the rather draconian Norwegian legislation when it comes to advertising alcoholic beverages. Pump clips seem to be all right, but apart from that they have to limit themselves to a clinical list of the beers on offer. This means that a lot of the promotional effect of using the well established brand name will be lost.
  • The concept of these bars is expensive beer in small glasses, even in markets where beer is cheap compared to Norway. If you add an extra link in the supply chain – the Norwegian franchise holders – and top up with Norwegian taxes and Norwegian wages, the cost of a beer could be astronomical.

They could go for low rent neighbourhoods, playing on the rough, no frills style of their bars. OR they could go for the other end of the market, finding prime spots where the customers don’t worry too much about the prices.

I have followed, with amazement and amusement, the BrewDog penomenon from its early days. I have enjoyed (most of) their beers, and I have praised them on this blog before they became a world famous brand.

I welcome BrewDog Bar to the Norwegian scene. I doubt that their bars (singular or plural) will be my favourite hangouts. But, as I wrote about Mikkeller Stockholm recently, all beer bars or pubs do not need to appeal to all discerning beer drinkers any more. There will be niches for various segments – and we old-timers will have to adjust. What a luxury!

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If you thought the British beer scene was all quiet pints and cobwebbed pubs, you obviously do not follow Melissa Cole’s blog.

She did not like what BrewDog has to say about other british brewers in a recently published book, feeling that BrewDog owes the industry as a whole a bloody enormous apologyy. It wasn’t exactly a big surprise that they don’t feel the same way.

Looks like James is able to stock up on new anecdotes to use when doing Meet the brewer tours.

Favourite quote? 

And we also don’t work for Satan.

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I like single hop series of beers, though the current Mikkeller lineup of 19 varieties is perhaps a bit too much.

For once, BrewDog is a bit more moderate. (Who thought I’d write that in the same sentence?) Four single hop beers, brewed to the same recipe. Sold as a set. Which is not allowed in Norway, for some reason. Actually it is not allowed in Sweden, either, but the Systembolaget decided to be a bit elastic for once. 

I picked up my four-pack in Ølbutikken, Copenhagen. Cheaper than begging the brewery for free samples and then paying hundreds of kroner in duties and fees.

The Sorachi Ace has loads of fruit aroma, peaches and apricots. Roses and perfume. amazing fruit punch flavour. Very sweet, though some earthy elements in the tail. No dryness to speak of.

The Bramling X has orange and almonds in the nose. this one is also quite sweet. Oranges, sweet malt, peculiar dryness in the tail. Not really impressive on its own.

The Citra has a mouthwatering fruity aroma, grapefruits are dominating. Grapefruit and orange palate, but this is also on the sweet side. Very seductive.

Nelson Sauvin also has grapefruit and sweet oranges. Ripe orange flavour, opening into more bitterness. Some bitter almonds. Great beer, the best of the four.

It is very educational to try oth these beers side by side, and it could be an idea for other types ob beer, too.

So, there isn’t much of a chance of seeing this on the Norwegian shelves. But there are other BrewDog beers on their way.

Expect a slightly weaker 77 Lager. In cans for the supermarket shelves.

And Alice, which has sold very well in Sweden, will be available here, though with another name.

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A guest post from the Ulster-Scot again:

Travelling back through Scotland the tippler stopped off at Morrison’s supermarket in Girvan, an Ayrshire coastal town.  With a little while to spare there was time to peruse the beer shelves and the selection of Scottish bottled beers. 

So the other Saturday night while doing a bit of cooking a friend and I started to taste the selection. More Scottish notes later, but the first tried was Innis & Gunn oak aged beer.  Now an oaked Chardonnay or Shiraz, or the occasional whisky would be common, but I haven’t come across before and the Company believes it is fairly unique. In the Company’s own words:
Using oak to age beer is unheard of. But, the flavours imparted by the oak barrels (previously used to mature bourbon) lend an incredible depth of taste. Think vanilla, toffee and orange aromas, with a malty, lightly oaked palate; soothing and warm in the finish.
That is about right. A delightful full flavour with a little bitter kick, smooth and a bit too easy to drink.  Great little website to check out, too.

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I would not generally mind being at the White Horse at Parson’s Green, West London on an ordinary night. Bot the beer and the food is outstanding. I would certainly not mind being there when they serve a five course Burns dinner with BrewDog beers to match the food. Three new beers, including the Abstract 05.

Tuesday 25 January.

I will not be there. But I have some Haggis in the freezer. And my son bought a CD by the Red Hot Chili Pipers.

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There is BrewDog everywhere now.  Their beers can be found across Europe – not only in specialist shops, but in well stocked supermarkets from Norway to Portugal.

This means that their main focus is to market their more accessible beers and to produce them in large quantities.

But they are still pushing boundaries, still collaborating with the most innovative of craft breweries around the globe.

The Basha is a collaboration with Stone Brewing, and a few months ago they released two special versions of this, both barrel aged with Scottish berries added.

My favourite of the two has black raspberries added to the beer before aging in a Highland Park cask. It has a lively carbonation. It has a solid head the color of caffe latte. The aroma is powerful, with raspberries intervowen with smoke. Lovely fruit flavour, too, clean fresh raspberries shining through the smokey whisky. A little vinegar. Dry finish.

The other version is aged with tayberries. This is more sweet and sour, the berry character is more playful. It does not have the same carbonation, meaning a heavier beer. Very pleasant sipping, but not quite the same world class as the other one.

Both are limited editions, of course. Grab them if you can.

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Just up the street from the hotel was an off-licence with the peculiar name inxs kicked. (Don’t ask me why, and don’t bother to visit their web site for anything but directions.) There seemed to be a lot of beers inside, so I decided to have a look.)

It turned out to be an Aladdin’s cave of beer. I guess there must be about 50 German beers, most of them really obscure stuff from small independent breweries. A good range of Scottish beers, too, including some of the more exclusive BrewDog stuff.

My first visit was on the Saturday evening, but then I had enough problems fitting the beers I already had into my suitcase. After our return to base on Sunday evening when our flight was cancelled, I had the opportunity to sample a few.

Proper winter beers and other lagers from breweries named Kitzmann, Kessmann and Meister. And a Devine Rebel from BrewDog/Mikkeller.

Perfect for sipping while watching A-team on dvd.

The shop is on Rodney Street if you are in the area. You even get a deposit back on the German bottles.

German beers

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