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Posts Tagged ‘Nøgne Ø’

A new proper blog post sooon. For now:

Samples of a Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout aged in Cognac barrels are reported. I don’t know anything about a release date.

A new cranberry IPA, Zombie IPA on tap at Schouskjelleren in Oslo tonight. Their import list is as strong as ever. Lots of good stuff at their sister establishment Olympen Restaurant as well.

There will be a micro competitor in Drammen, the home town of Haandbryggeriet. The industrial Aass brewery is setting up a brewpub in the old Drammen public bath, they are currently inviting tender for the brewing equipment.

Larvik Mikrobryggeri is currently offering beer from Lillehammer Bryggeri, but they plan to start brewing in a few months’ time.

Twh new nanobreweries in Trondheim, both only selling their beers in one restaurant.

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Frank and his Christmas brew

It was one of those December days when dawn is just the dark night sliding into grey – gray clouds and steel gray ice. Lucky then that some of us had decided to brighten up the evening through an excursion to the newest brew pub in the Oslo area, Sundbytunet.

Sundbytunet is located in Jessheim, a town forty minutes by commuter train from central Oslo. It is part of a restaurant complex which includes several drinking and dining options as well as rooms for rent and even a distillery (yet to start production). A few years ago, this concept would have been totally alien in a place like this.

The decor is more or less what you would expect – an old cellar that has gone through a complete makeover – lots of exposed wooden beams and shining copper kettles.

Frank the brewer does not usually work as a bartender, but he was there waiting for us to present his beers.

The staple brew is a well hopped pils, and we were lucky to try both the last drops of the first batch and some fresh stuff from the tank.

The seasonal beer is a red ale related to a brown ale, fruity and refreshing and aimed to complement the Christmas fare in the restaurant on the floor above.

Most interesting was the special beer made for the opening, an eleven per cent ABV barley wine. A liberal use of hops makes sure that this does not feel too sweet, and it was the perfect companion to the cheese platter you can order at the bar.

With new copper kettles, even hidden bloggers are revealed.

Frank is a skilled brewer, and his last employer was Nøgne Ø, which is a recommendation it itself. It is therefore not a surprise that this was the first new brewpub I’ve visited that did not have teething problems with its first brews – these were spot on.

Coming beers include a porter, that will be available from the coming weekend, and an IPA. And some of the barley wine will be matured in oak barrels. There will be experiments with used sherry casks as well as new oak.

A detour from Oslo is highly recommended. And if you have a few hours layover at Gardermoen airport, you can hop on a local bus to Jessheim and try the beers without going down town.

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The pioneers of the Norwegian craft beer movement have cooperated with home brewers for a long time, and the tickets for their next meetup at the brewery sold out fast. That includes not only a visit to the brewery, you get to take some prime ingredients home to make your own version of one of their beers. They also make a batch based on the winner of the annual home brewing competition, meaning this beer is available across the country (and beyond).

But now they have been innovative again, making a product for people like me, who have never taken the step into home brewing.

A starter brew kit for home brewers.  And a beer kit based on one of their beers, the first one being their Pale Ale.

It is not cheap. But I don’t think I can resist this.

Available only in Norway for the time being as far as I know. But I feel sure they will roll this out globally. From the end of the world to your town.

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There are more beery pleasures next year than the Mikkeller event in Copenhagen. I have complained about the quality of some festivals here in Norway recently, but I am happy to tell you there are others more concerned about quality.

Haandbryggeriet have just finished moving to new and bigger premises in Drammen, half an hour west of Oslo by train.This means more capacity and more elbow room than the old facility was able to offer.

This calls for a celebration, but they have decided to wait some months for this. 4-5 May are the dates to note in your calendar.

They have invited some of their friends, and they have promised to bring along a few beers. Confirmed so far:

  • Närke
  • Nøgne Ø
  • Kinn
  • De Molen
  • Struise
  • Emelisse
  • Alvinne
  • LoverBeer

No details about tickets and other practicalities yet, but I’ll keep you informed.

Ready for new brews

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One phenomenon has caught my eye recently, and that is the increased availability of Norwegian beer in various European markets. And by this I mean Norwegian craft beer from small breweries – the major players seem very content with getting their slice of the pale lager market, possibly with some alcopops thrown in.

Brasserie 4:20 in Rome had a Halloween beer festival with more beers from Nøgne Ø and Haandbryggeriet on tap than we have ever seen in Norway. The Nøgne Ø beers are readily available in the best beer bars in London. Haandbryggeriet is cooperating with De Molen, Nøgne Ø brews for Mikkeller. I even got a report from my friend Max in Prague that there are Nøgne Ø beers on tap at the Zubatý Pes pub in the Czech capital.

Add to this a sizeable export to the US, and we are talking serious money. Enough to make it possible for the breweries to slowly expand and pay their taxes and salaries.

I’m not very nationalistic, and I enjoy beers from around the globe. But the “local lads make success” factor has a value, and the fact that there is great beer brewed on our door step means that the threshold for Norwegian restaurants and bars to offer them is getting lower. Journalists and food writers find it more interesting to focus on national craft beers, too.

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