Larsblog - beer

Norwegian farmhouse ale styles

People are confused over what to call Norwegian farmhouse ale and what styles there are. So this is my attempt to clear things up as far as I can. This blog post is about the beers as they are today. The past is much more complicated, and I've covered it earlier. ...

Read | 2017-01-19 19:23 | 3 comment(s)

Gotlandsdricke - an overview

A lot has been written on Gotlandsdricka, but the writers generally call it "an ancient beer" or "indigenous beer" and variations on that theme. Nobody seems to have realized that it is of course a farmhouse ale. Farmhouse ale was made all over Sweden until it was replaced by modern commercial beer. Except on Gotland, where the farmers never stopped brewing it. Eventually it came to be seen as something unique to Gotland and part of the Gotland identity, but that's a recent development. ...

Read | 2017-01-08 13:24 | 4 comment(s)

A maltster on Gotland

While on holiday on Gotland I saw a note on a poster about an open farm and something about malt being made. There was a phone number, so I decided to call. Yes, the voice at the other end said, he made malts, but not the traditional way. His neighbour did, however. Sure, I could come visit, and if his neighbour was home we could see his malt house. ...

Read | 2017-01-01 14:02 | 2 comment(s)

A brewer on Gotland

Last summer, the family holiday included a visit to Gotland. I, of course, immediately started plotting to meet a farmhouse brewer. I began by emailing every single source that might lead me to one. This was a slow and uncertain business, but eventually I had a number of leads, all of them pointing to a single person: Anders Mattsson in Hablingbo, on the southern part of the island. ...

Read | 2016-12-27 13:09 | 9 comment(s)

How stone beer was brewed

It's only the last few centuries that metal kettles have become something that most people could afford to own. So how did people brew beer without a metal container to heat water in? One well-known solution was to heat stones in a fire, and then throw them in the liquid to be heated. I've written before about the archaeology of brewing stones, but archaeology can't tell us how people used the stones. So how did people actually brew with hot stones? ...

Read | 2016-12-18 12:47 | 4 comment(s)

Norwegian brewing processes

I've collected enough evidence now that I'm beginning to get a picture of farmhouse brewing as it was practiced in Norway in the past. However, to understand how people brewed we have to start with the geography, because that determined everything else. The brewing was a tradition descending in unbroken line from the Stone Age to the present. There were lots of changes on the way, and these were transmitted from village to village. When you look at the resulting patterns on a map it's obvious that the geography was tremendously important for what influences went where. ...

Read | 2016-12-11 20:01 | 9 comment(s)

Hunting Lithuanian white whales

On the morning of the second day of the Lithuanian brewery tour 2015 we stopped by a small and little-known brewery called A. Grigonio. It's literally just a few hundred meters from Jovaru Alus. As far as I know, it's a farmhouse brewery in the same vein, but I never got to see it. Vidmantas said the owners were not at home, and so a tour wasn't possible. ...

Read | 2016-09-28 14:54 | 1 comment(s)

My book on Norwegian farmhouse ale

Yesterday I finally got a copy of my new book on Norwegian farmhouse ale. I've written books before, but this one is different. So many emotions, such hopes and dreams, now suddenly materialized as a lump of pulped wood and glue. It's been my baby for a long time, and now it's suddenly going to be flung out to the public. ...

Read | 2016-09-17 12:03 | 24 comment(s)

Kupiškio - underground brewers

Eventually we ran out of breweries to visit in Pakruojis, and started discussing where to go next. I told Vidmantas I've always wanted to visit Kupiškio, but he didn't want to go there. I explained that the very first Lithuanian beer I had was from them, and it really blew me away. It's what really kicked off my interest in Lithuanian beer. Vidmantas looked at me queerly, then said, "well, let's try," and started the car, heading east. (This is part 7 of the Lithuanian brewery tour 2015.) ...

Read | 2016-09-11 13:41 | 5 comment(s)

Analysis of farmhouse yeast (kveik)

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim started doing research and courses on brewer's yeast a little over a year ago. I figured this was good timing, and asked them if they wanted to do research on kveik (Norwegian farmhouse yeast). The answer from professor Per Bruheim was immediate. Yes! They would love to have some Norwegian yeast to work on. So I've been sending them all the yeast I could get my hands on. ...

Read | 2016-09-06 16:30 | 14 comment(s)

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