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Posts Tagged ‘Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri’

I was sipping a beer ( a very nice brown ale, since you ask) at Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri, one of the Oslo brewpubs, some days ago. Their blackboard shows their range of beers on tap, six of their own, the rest hand picked from around the globe. Wheat or wit, IPAs, pale ales, usually at least a sour ale, an imperial stout, maybe a barley wine.

But, for the last six months or so, they also have their own pilsener. They have always had Hansa pils, but it is not promoted in any way. An industrial alternative for those who get too scared of all this craft stuff. The Hansa pils is not selling much, though. The regulars want the home brews or the hand picked imports on the blackboard. Their own lager is another story. The barman told me they have pulled it form the menu at times to stimulate the sale of their other beers.

If you want Norwegian craft lager to take home, there are a few really good ones available from micros like Lillehammer Bryggeri and Sundbytunet, but they have a very small distribution.

Lervig started out as a lager brewery, way before Mike Murphy arrived to start making top fermented beers. Their pilsener varieties did not impress anyone back then. I’ve been told that they are much improved now. I will give them a try, but there is a lot of marketing work to be done as well, perhaps integrating a pilsnener and a few other lager varieties into their series of well designed bottles and cans.

But the one to look out for is further north on the west coast. Kinn has announced that they are reducing their range of beers to concentrate on a core range. But among those core beers, there will also be a pilsener. Knowing the quality of Espen’s beers,  I’m sure this will be a winner. But they might have to consider the price level. I’m not sure how much the Norwegian consumers are willing to pay for a bottle of pils, however good it is. We are used to drinking our pale lagers in larger quantities than the darker and stronger beers, so it’s a matter of keeping the price of a six-pack down to a reasonable level.

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Back when I visited Italy several times a year, I had a couple of very pleasant visits to Birrificio Lambrate in Milan. There were plans at the time to expand internationally, but nothing much seemed to come of the ambitions.

It was therefore nice to see four of their beers on tap in front of the Trattoria Popolare, which is part of the same complex as Schouskjelleren here in Oslo.

Available on Thursday were Su De Doss, Saint Ambroeus, Gaina and Ghisa. I suppose you should run along if you want a taste.

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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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I’ve been waiting for the first really well crafted and cellar conditioned beer from Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri.

Well.

It’s here. Their Christmas brew really does the trick.

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So, I was invited to the launch of the place some weeks ago. Now it’s been open to the public for two weeks – time to check it out.

It is still early afternoon on a Friday, perhaps a dozen customers, the beer list a mix of their own brews and guests. Their Amarillo beer seems to have evolved into a weaker version at 4.1%. The newest beer on offer is the IPA, phonetically named Aj Pi Ei. The Thunder Bear Stout is also on,. Guests are Nøgne Ø Tiger Trippel and Weienstephan Hefeweisse. A selected number of bottles, too, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch and US micros.

I enjoy the Aj Pi Ej with its flowery profile. Citrus and a hint of honey, a little marzipan. I would prefer it a little dryer, but it is a very decent beer.

The Amarillo is not as good as the earlier batch I tried. Sure, there are fine Amarillo hops in there, it has the makings of a smooth session beer. But there is an undertone of burned rubber tyres that makes it hard work to enjoy the other elements. Sorry, but this was not up to standard.

A bitter is almost ready, but needs some time in the conditioning tank, and there wi a wheat beer on within a week or so as well. I’m told that they have brewed a test batch of Christmas beer, too, but that the recipe needs a little tweaking before it is brewed on a larger scale.

So. This place is reputedly packed in the evenings, and they have problems keeping ut with demand. I have a feeling they are rushing the beers out before they are really ready.

I hope they are able to stabilize things a bit more, the worst thing to happen is that there are rumours that the beers are not up to standard. Perhaps it is better to focus on two standard beers, I’d suggest a stout and an IPA and make sure they are available at top form at any time. When this is up and running, it is time for the more fun part – one offs and experiments.

Schouskjelleren entrance

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On my bike to work this morning I noticed that they are rigging down the open air watering holes of Central Oslo for the season. Sure, there are tents of various shapes and sizes outside bars and restaurants catering to the smokers, but the true al fresco drinking is over until April.

Which makes this a sensible time to launch a place that is truly indoors, with an open fireplace and vaulted brick ceilings.

Yes, it is the Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri, where the kettles are polished, the walls and floors have been dusted down and where the first beers are now flowing through the taps.

Actually, the opening is the coming weekend, but some of us have been invited to try it out during a few closed sessions.

Firs of all, the vaulted cellar, dating back to the 1820s, is a lovely place. An open fireplace, glowing copper tanks, leather furniture and warm lightning from chandeliers (not very suitable for photos) – it all works very well. It is a place to meet up with friends and having conversations over a pint or two. There won’t be much food on offer, but there will probably be sausages or similar snacks to keep the worst hunger at bay.

John the brewer has been very busy trying out equipment and brewing test batches amid all the construction work, and he had six beers on tap last Saturday. Two stouts – one of which was a Java coffee stout, an ESB, a Blond, an Amarillo single hop IPA and a beer loaded with fruit and spices. A double IPA is also on its way.

Some of the beers need a bit more tweaking, some of them just a little more conditioning. I went back for seconds of the ESB and the coffee stout, both of them lovely beers which should be a part of the regular beer list. I’ll come back to the rest of them when everything is up and running, but this is very promising.

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Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri

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