Larsblog

Yeast terminology, part 1

I was asked to explain the family trees of yeast and since not much has been written on this I figured I'd give it a go. Before we get to the actual family tree, let's start by clearing up some terminology. ...

Read | 2015-08-27 18:54 | 1 comment(s)

Danish farmhouse ale

Danish farmhouse brewing appears to be almost entirely dead today, but it was once thriving all over Denmark, and it died fairly recently. Apart from one very brief summary hidden in a Danish dialect dictionary I don't know of any attempt at a comprehensive description of this brewing culture. So when I discovered that extensive ethnographic surveys of Danish farmhouse brewing existed in two places in Copenhagen I spent three days photographing 126 separate responses in order to get a picture of Danish farmhouse ale. ...

Read | 2015-08-16 12:35 | 0 comment(s)

Raw ale

The topic for the session #100 is "resurrecting lost beer styles". I decided to choose what is very likely the biggest beer style you've never heard of: raw ale. It's not even a single style, but a whole group of beer styles, all of which share one characteristic: the wort is never boiled. Strictly speaking raw ale neither dead nor lost, but it's still in need of a ressurection. Because even though these beers are spread over a wide area, and historically have been extremely important, hardly anyone has ever heard of them. ...

Read | 2015-06-05 09:42 | 12 comment(s)

Norway: climate and ingredients

Norway may not be the world's biggest country, but it has considerable geographic variation. This is mainly due to two factors. First, Norway is long and narrow, going roughly north-south. From the northernmost point to the southernmost point is 1700km, or roughly the distance from Manchester to Rome. The climate is fairly northern already in the southern part of Norway, and you can imagine what it's like 1700km further north. ...

Read | 2015-05-19 10:53 | 8 comment(s)

Interview with Simonas Gutautas of Dundulis

During my last trip to Lithuania I met Simonas Gutautas, who works for the Dundulis brewery. Dundulis is a unique brewery in Lithuania in the sense that they straddle the divide between the world of modern craft brewing and the old, traditional farmhouse brewing. They are also very good at promotion and run several bars in Vilnius and other Lithuanian cities. In a way they are similar to Malduguns of Latvia or Põhjala of Estonia, except that they have a real connection with the farmhouse culture. ...

Read | 2015-05-11 14:12 | 1 comment(s)

Kveik testing

I got hold of a bottle of raw ale from Hornindal via contacts. I'd been warned earlier that kveik from Hornindal had gone bad, and made sour beer. And by this time I'd already had the brewer's kveik analyzed, and been told that it contained bacteria. So despite trudging a good distance across town and back again to get hold of the bottle, my expectations were quite low when I opened it at a small tasting at a friend's flat. ...

Read | 2015-05-05 18:23 | 6 comment(s)

Riga on the rise

Since I'd learned that there was farmhouse ale in Latvia still I went back to Riga hoping to learn a little more. Studying the Ratebeer ratings from Latvia I'd seen that fellow ratebeerians had identified some of the smaller new breweries in Latvia as potentially farmhouse breweries. I was hoping to try their beers and learn a little more. ...

Read | 2015-04-30 13:58 | 2 comment(s)

Keptinis, Lithuanian baked beer

Farmhouse ale styles are known for being messy, sprawling, ill-defined categories to the point where it can be questioned whether they really are styles at all. The Lithuanian style keptinis, however, has a simple definition: it's made from malts that are baked, often in bread shapes. Keptinis actually means "baked," just as in the name of the excellent Lithuanian beer snack kepta duona (baked bread), which is bread sticks baked in oil and garlic. Unfortunately, the baking is just about the only point that all sources agree on. ...

Read | 2015-04-20 12:36 | 2 comment(s)

Herbs in Norwegian farmhouse ale

If you look at books on herbs, and even quite a few books on traditional brewing, it seems like just about every herb known to man has at one time been used in brewing. Which, given how many people were brewing over how long a period of time, might well be true. However, if you try tracing this information backwards to see what it's based on, you draw a blank. The only thing you see are these endlessly repeated assertions that such and such a herb was used in brewing. How reliable is that? ...

Read | 2015-04-13 12:25 | 8 comment(s)

Craft beer comes to Lithuania

I was invited to the Žmogšala beer festival in Vilnius to present my book on Lithuanian beer, but the flight times meant I had to spend a long weekend. I decided this was a good time to bring some of my friends who were curious about Lithuanian beer, so Knut Albert, Geir Ove, and brother in-law Hans Christian joined me. And since I now know a few people in Vilnius I planned to meet a few of them as well. ...

Read | 2015-04-06 15:10 | 2 comment(s)

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