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)

Hunting in the library

Ever since that first trip to Lithuania I've been trying to understand what it is that makes these beers so different, and how they are brewed. As I've written many times, that's a very difficult challenge, and the first break was my first roundtrip of Lithuanian breweries. The second was being given a history of Lithuanian beer, which unfortunately was written in Lithuanian. ...

Read | 2015-03-17 11:03 | 4 comment(s)

Understanding farmhouse ale

Somehow, the idea that farmhouse ale is a style of beer that began in "France and Belgium in the late 19th and early 20th centuries" has gotten traction. Many people have begun thinking of farmhouse ale as either saison or biere de garde. Which is strange, because this is bit like saying cheese is Danablu, and it began on a Friday afternoon in Denmark in 1953. So I guess the time has come for some clearing up. ...

Read | 2015-03-10 19:08 | 7 comment(s)

Up and coming beer destinations?

The subject for this month's The Session was: "What are the up-and-coming beer locations that you see as the next major players in the beer scene?" Well. I couldn't really leave that one unanswered, although for regular readers I suppose the answer is not exactly going to come as a surprise. Obviously, Vilnius. I mean, really, how could it not be? ...

Read | 2015-03-06 18:04 | 1 comment(s)

Vilnius: a beer guide for the impatient

My guidebook to Lithuanian beer has all the detailed information, but for those who are going to Vilnius and don't want to read 100 pages of detailed text, there isn't anything available now. So I thought it might be useful to gather the most important information in one place. To keep this piece manageable I have had to leave out lots of interesting stuff even though some if it is big enough to deserve full blog posts of their own. There really is that much going on in Vilnius. ...

Read | 2015-03-04 15:26 | 0 comment(s)

What is it that ferments lambic?

As everyone knows, lambic is fermented by "wild yeast and bacteria". But what does that actually mean? What yeast? And what bacteria? This is not an easy question to answer, but last year a study attempting to answer this was published. The results are interesting in several different ways, so let's take a look. ...

Read | 2015-02-20 11:00 | 14 comment(s)

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Lars Marius on Kveik: Norwegian far...

Martin Budden on Kveik: Norwegian far...

Andrew Rathband on Brewing in Morgedal

Lars Marius on Brewing in Morgedal

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Halvor Bjåland on Brewing in Morgedal

Lars Marius on The Saccharomyces fa...

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Zac on Raw ale

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