Visiting Norwegian breweries does not only mean downtown brewpubs and drab industrial areas. Some of them are in idyllic surroundings – and the smallest ones combine brewing with rather exotic activities. I wanted to visit Furuhaugli Turisthytter this summer, and sent off an e-mail. The reply came fast, asking me to please call ahead, as the owner might be out guiding on a muskox safari.
My wife and I were in the Dovre National Park last year, and got quite close to the animals. We saw the through a bus window, but this safari offered a chance to get closer to them. So we decided that instead of just stopping for a few beers, we included dinner, a night in one of their cabins and a muskox safari the next day.
When we checked in, we were made very welcome.
- So, you are the author? We have your book right here!
Inger-Lise and Stein runs the establishment now, they are the third generation to rent out cabins in the mountains – Inger-Lise’s grandmother started this in 1930.
You can make your own meals in the cabins, but you should really try their food. Excellent home cooking, we had pan-fried Arctic char, which Stein and their children had caught themselves, but there are other options as well.
Stein claims to have the smallest commercial brewery in Norway, and I am sure he is right, his 25 and 50 liter batches are unlikely to wipe out the competition. He likes to brew a wider range of beers and to keep them fresh. The beers are not for sale off the premises, they are only available in the restaurant.
I try the Blonde at 4.5 % ABV. It is dry and fruity. Light and drinkable, with moderate amounts of American hops. The Red Ale is stronger, at 5.9%. It is a rich, malty beer, with just enough hop bitterness to make a pleasant balance. A true to type Wit (5%) has lemon, camomille and coriander, while the Amber X at 5.8% is malty with notes of nuts, toffee and roasted grain.
The beer labels do not hide the inspiration for the brews, Stein has used several of the recipes from Gahr Smith-Gahrsen, which are freely shared both through 7 Fjell Bryggeri and via the book Den norske ølrevolusjonen.
This is not the place to go for extreme beers – but for beers to enjoy after a day’s hike in the mountains and to go with the wholesome food.
In addition to large mammals like muskox and elk, the Fokstumyra nature reserve is very close, giving excellent opportunities for birdwatching if that is your thing.
The muskox safari takes place on foot in the Dovre National Park, a short drive from Furuhaugli Turisthytter.
We were in a group with various nationalities setting out on the safari the next morning. Expect a hike of about five hours – obviously depending on where the animals are. They tend to be closer to the road and railway in spring and autumn. The guides are experienced, and as these walks are arranged every day in the summer, they know the animals well, know where to find them – and know how close to them you can get and still be on the safe side. They are big enough to be dangerous if you provoke them.
We were able to get very close to a young bull, who did not seem to mind us watching while he was grazing. An experience well worth the time and money involved.
Noet that you are free to hike in these mountains on your own, a guide is not required. There is a network of well-marked trails and a number of hostels within a day’s walk of each other. In the winter you can go skiing instead. But if you do this on your own, you should be careful to stay well away from the animals.
Furuhuagli Turisthytter and the muskox safari are easy to access – both just off the main road – E6 – between Oslo and Trondheim. You could make arrangements to be picked up at Dombås or Hjerkinn Railway station as well.
Thanks to my wife Astrid for the photo below!
Furuhaugli is not the only Norwegian micro-brewery to offer a good combo with outdoor activities.Here are some more:
At Ansnes Brygger, Hitra, you can go hunting, diving or fishing.
You can bike the spectacular road along the railway line from the 1223 Micro Brewery at DNT Finsehytta (at 1223 meters above sea level) to the Ægir brewpub in Flåm (at the end of a fjord offering boat connections.)
You can go rafting, explore glaciers or do some serious mountaineering at Espedalen Mikrobryggeri, which is located in Ruten Fjellstue.
You can hunt for small game, go skiing or fishing at Tuddal Høyfjellshotel, the new home of Fjellbryggeriet.