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Posts Tagged ‘beer’

Utsikt fra Harøya. Foto: Bernt Rostad

Summary in English at the bottom

Kjører du E6 nordover gjennom Trøndelag, endrer landskapet seg når du har passert Steinkjer. De åpne og brede bygdene på Innherred går over i et skogkledt landskap med mer spredt bebyggelse. Men snart åpner det seg igjen, og du har utsikt mot det langstrakte Snåsavatnet.

På en øy ute i Snåsavatnet brygges det øl. Dette tror jeg må være både det minste og det minst kommersielle bryggeriet i Norge. Mer særpreget øl kan man knapt tenke seg heller. Bryggingen og serveringen skjer på den lille øya Harøya, så du må parkere bilen og be om båtskyss over.

På Harøya var det en gang i tiden to husmannsplasser, men det er hundre år siden disse ble fraflyttet. Det er ikke mer enn ti år siden gårdbruker Arild Johansen Østvik og hans kone Hilde Østvik fik ideen om å ta i bruk øya igjen, både som beitemark og for andre aktiviteter. De overtok et gammelt tømmerhus fra Snåsa Museum, og har også satt i stand en gammel låve der det nå foregår servering.

Kort sesong

Åpningstidene er svært begrenset, i 2012-sesongen var det åpent bare i juli, onsdag – mandag 13.00-19.00. I tillegg til øl serveres det hjemmelaget mat, gjerne med melk og fløte fra gården og fisk fra innsjøen.

Bryggeriet har fått navnet Qdulla, oppkalt etter den mystiske sjøormen som holder til i Snåsavatnet.

Det brygges stort sett batcher på 200-300 liter, og ølet er bare i salg på stedet.

Alt øl de brygger er tilsatt blomster og urter, for eksempel ryllik, lerke, skogstorkenebb og legevendelrot.

Øl tilgjengelig sommeren 2012:

Kdulla er et hveteøl, med både sitrus- og bananpreg, men også med et fint avstemt krydderpreg.

Håggå er en fri tolking av en Pale Ale, med syv slag sommerblomster tilsatt, inkludert forglemmegei. Duft og smak av sommereng har den også, med noen overtoner av jordbær.

Sivert er en Amber Ale med kaffe. Mørk rubinrødt brygg med rik og innbydende kaffesmak.

Den utgaven av Huldra jeg smakte har en nydelig rødfarve, men i følge bryggeriet varierer denne fra brygg til brygg. Honning, granskudd, skogsbær og pors er tilsatt i denne, og alle bidrar til smaken. Sødmen er fint avstemt med bitterhet.

Gam-Erik er en mør brun porter. Duft av lakris. Litt røykmalt bidrar til et velkomponert øl, og her er det også tilsatt svisker. Søtt, men sødmen er godt balansert av bitter humle.

Det er lurt å ta kontakt med Hilde Østvik på tlf 48 99 52 84 om åpningstider, båtskyss etc. Det er nok i tidligste laget for 2013-sesongen i skrivende stund.

Skal jeg omtale alle norske mikrobryggerier, må jeg også skrive om noen jeg ikke har besøkt.  Jeg har ikke vært på Harøya, så her har jeg basert meg på informasjon fra gode venner som har besøkt Qdulla. Takk til Bernt også for lån av vakre fotografier. For mer informasjon, inkludert bilder, se denne bloggen (på engelsk). Men ølene har jeg på mystisk vis fått smake.

For ølturister ligger Qdulla ikke langt unna Inderøy Gårdsbryggeri og Ølve på Egge. Videre nordover blir nærmeste bryggeri i Terråk, der jeg håper kafeen Mon Amour er i gang med bryggingen før neste sesong for Qdulla.

Two hours North of Trondheim, on a small island in the lake Snåsavatnet, there is a farmhouse brewery. Qdulla is named after a sea monster reputedly residing in the lake. The lake is actually close to the main North-South road, meaning it is easy to find if you know where to look. Expect  4-5 beer, brewed in small batches with local flowers and herbs. In 2012, this place was only open in July, so you are advised to make arrangements by calling ahead. Local food is also served, and the beers are highly recommended.

For extensive information, including contact details and directions, read the Beer Trotter blog.

Beer glass

Håggå i glasset. Foto: Bernt Rostad

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Was this what we needed?

The beer selection at my local ICA supermarket isn’t bad. At least not if you compare to just a few years ago. Two Scottish ales, several stouts, a few beers from Nøgne Ø and Haandbryggeriet. Lagers from Slovakia, Germany and the Czech republic. Even a few Goose Island brews.
But I’m afraid a significant percentage of the consumers go for the cheapest lagers or for anything that does not taste of beer.
But do we really need a cerveza with limon? And it remains to be seen if a 3.2% ABV beverage will sell.

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All right then, it’s time I finished my series of reports from Manchester. A number of my readers seem to be interested in football, some have expressed their hatred towards United, others have spam filters making sure this type of blog posts do not infect their RSS feeds.

We check out of our hotel after breakfast and bring our bags over to Piccadilly Station to make sure we are able to get the earliest possible train to London. I try to make seat reservations, but it turns out it’s not possible. It might be the football game, we eventually find seats anyway.

A word of advice: Do not use the left luggage facilities at British railway stations. In Manchester it costs you £ 7 per bag, at London Victoria £ 8. You are not able to pay as you hand in the luggage, so you have to line up again to get it back. In Brussels, on the other hand, I paid € 2 for a locker with enough room for three bags.

The tram towards Old Trafford is not packed, as we are arriving two hours before kick off. The only tickets we were able to get were hospitality tickets with a meal and drinks included, so we pick up our vouchers and find our way to the tent where we have our seats.

Champagne on arrival, a surprisingly good three course meal including a nice steak. There is free beer also, but the choices are basically Budweiser and Guinness. The only beer with a local connection is canned Boddington Bitter, ice cold, full of gas and tasteless. Everything else is nicely laid out – a hand pump with a decent ale would have been a welcome addition. The last time I was in Manchester – 15 years ago or so – I had some splendid cask Boddington. Looks like that is gone forever.

Half an hour before the match starts we find our way to our seats. The refreshment kiosks inside the stadium are filled with offers of Budweiser/fast food combos. I remind myself that this is big business, not something connected to quality.

The match?

It had been billed as one of the most important of the season. United was at the top of the Premier League, but visitors Aston Villa was not that far behind. It was vital for United to win the match.

78.000 spectators, it looked like 90% of them were home supporters.

The first half of the match was not that exciting. Aston Villa was actually playing very well, and for us Norwegians it was fun to see how John Carew scored one goal and was involved in the other. At full time the result was 2-2.

Then the miracle happened. 17 year old Italian Federico Macheda, in his debut match for United, managed to score a goal. The crowd went wild, and with this fairy tale ending to the match we found our way out of the stadium as soon as possible.

We were lucky enough to find room on a tram towards the centre without any incidents, and were on the 7:25 train towards London before the majority of the crowd had arrived. A few ice cold Heinekens from the buffet car were just the thing now!

I promise – it’s back to beer blogging after this!

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Easter offerings

Here in Norway we tend to take a long Easter break, starting this weekend. Some people go skiing in the mountains, where you can get a really nice tan from the sun and snow if the weather permits. Others go to the coast to greet the spring. Some go to Sweden and try to smuggle 758 liters of pale lager and get caught by the customs. Boys will be boys…

Lots of people prefer city life, the tempo slows down, and if you are lucky you can find a watering hole with a sun trap where you may enjoy a pint. Come to think of it, the heaters for the smoking areas have taken some of the thrill out of having the first al fresco beer of the season.

But there are offerings in the evenings as well. We used to have legislation which gave special restrictions on the sale of booze during the holidays, but that’s history.

If you are in Oslo, there will be some special events.  Bar & Cigar will have some special American beer imports on Thursday and Friday, and Dr. Jekyll’s will have a tutored tasting on Saturday.

If you are on the other side of the globe, the Verdugo Bar in Los Angeles seems like the place to be. They showcase the He’Brew/Shmaltz beers:

Enjoy one of the few kegs of Coney Island Human Blockhead as well as the very special, and very rare Lenny on Rye (Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A. aged in Rittenhouse 100 Kentucky Rye Whiskey Barrels).

I would’t mind one (or two) of these…

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I check out of my Milan hotel, drag my suitcase to the nearest Metro station and emerge at Lambrate, slightly to the east of the centre. My research has shown a direct train from here to Parma. A slow train, for sure, but changing to other means of transport in big cities will always take longer than intended, so it will be more efficient after all.

I buy my ticket, and, as I am early for my next scheduled stop, find a bakery where I buy an espresso and something to munch on while I find a park bench to enjoy the spring-like sun.

I wait across the street from the Birrificio Lambrate when they open the shutters for the day, as I have an hour and a half before my train, I intend to get the most of it. I find a stool at the end of the bar, and order a pint of the newest addition to their range, a cask American Pale Ale named Ligéra.  The beer is cloudy brown, and is packed with flowery and bitter hops with a fine malty body underneath. Too bitter for some, perhaps, but I order another when I’ve finished the first. The   is not working properly, so it’s hard work to fill my glass.

The pub is filling up fast, most of them seem to be regular customers, greeting the staff and the other patrons. A large group of students have to find somewhere else to have lunch, there is no room for them.

The menu lists about ten dishes, pasta starters at 4 Euros, main dishes cost 6. The orders come in swiftly for both food and beer, and it is a show in itself to watch the glasses being filled, there are separate glasses for each of the six beer types.

I have a small glass of their smoked beer, the Ghisa, which was my favourite on my last visit. I have some pasta, too, tasty food without any gimmicks.

The atmosphere is jovial and friendly, but I must be on my way. I am invited to have a look at the brewery, and I just have time for that.

Birrificio Lambrate brews 2600 hl annually in 20 hl batches. Half of the beer is sold in-house, the rest by other restaurants and pubs.

There is a lot of red tape for breweries in Italy, and local regulations vary a lot. There are separate applications for brewpubs, for selling beer to other pubs, for bottling etc.

The aim is to establish a bottling line and aim for the American market, hopefully doubling the output.

I am offered a sample of their new beer, a pils that will be launched at the Rimini beer fair later in the month. It is brewed with German malt and hops, and it has a strong, dry hoppiness that can compete with my favourite German lagers like Jever.

This pub concept could not work in Norway, where lunchtime drinking is frowned upon. But here it is a great success, with fresh beer, homemade food and a warm atmosphere. It is not a fake English or American bar, but it is meeting the locals’ need for high quality food and drink. 

The next time I’m in town I’ll go for their evening buffet, I’m not doing justice to this establishment by popping in for an hour or so. A perfect pub? For Milan it probably is. But there is a nice place waiting in Parma as well…

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On cask ale

Stonch has a blog post on how to make sure cask ale is served in optimal condition. Read the comments thread as well.

For us Norwegians this discussion is almost like observing a parallel universe. But things are changing, slowly, here, too. Nøgne ø and Haandbryggeriet are offering cask ale to pubs now, let’s hope their customers know how to treat it properly.

Even having keg versions of some of the Nøgne ø beers is quite a change, both their Porter and the Imperial Brown Ale are great on tap.

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There will be beer festivals in Denmark this year as well, but not on the massive scale of last year’s event at the old Carlsberg brewery. They will return to Valbyhallen, a venue that has been used often over the years.

The dates are 15-17 May, which is not convenient for me, but I’m sure there are beer lovers across Europe who are booking their flights and hotels already. Check www.ale.dk.

Tickets are on sale next week. And, in case you were worried that the recession has taken its toll, there should be plenty of beer. There are already 150 new Danish beers launched in 2009!

And if you cannot make Copenhagen, there is a smaller event in Esbjerg in October.

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