Larsblog - beer

Storli Gard: Norway's oldest beer?

Leaving Sunnmøre we drove for many hours along narrow mountain valleys. It was a completely different landscape: spruce forest, bare rocks, some farmland, no fjords. Eventually, we left the highway, then turned back west again, following progressively smaller and smaller roads into the mountains. The whole way the view was almost impossibly gorgeous, as if someone had arranged every mountain, house, and cluster of trees for maximum effect. Eventually, the road ended in front of a cluster of wooden houses. There were no signs, but from the map we assumed this had to be our destination: Storli Gard. (This is part 7 of the Norwegian farmhouse ale trip.) ...

Read | 2014-08-17 16:59 | 5 comment(s)

A brief stop in Stranda

We knew there were lots of active farmhouse brewers in the Sunnmøre region, but since we had great difficulties getting in touch with them, other parts of the trip expanded, eating away at the available time. From Flåm to Stranda is a 5-hour drive, and onwards to where we were staying next is an 8-hour drive. So in the end we had just an evening for this whole area. Which is a crying shame, but there was nothing to be done about it. (This is part 6 of the Norwegian farmhouse ale trip.) ...

Read | 2014-08-05 17:38 | 0 comment(s)

Holo Gardstun

The Flåm valley sees a huge number of tourists each year. Most either arrive on a cruise ship, or on the Norway in a Nutshell daytrip from Oslo or Bergen. They take the famous Flåm railway up onto the Hardangervidda mountain plateau, then back down again. Quite a few drop by the famous Ægir brewpub. Hardly any spot the treasure that lies hidden on a shelf in the mountain side, several hundred meters above them. (This is part 5 of the Norwegian farmhouse ale trip.) ...

Read | 2014-07-31 16:12 | 1 comment(s)

A visit to Voss Bryggeri

Voss Bryggeri is not actually in Voss itself, but in a small village called Kyte a few kilometers outside. It's in a small yellow wooden building that used to be a shop, but now serves as part brewery, part pub, and home to two of the owners. The location is just gorgeous, up in the hillside above a valley dominated by a snow-capped peak of 1400 meters. (This is part 4 of the Norwegian farmhouse ale trip.) ...

Read | 2014-07-24 15:47 | 2 comment(s)

Voss - farmhouse ale central

We'd booked a camping cabin in Voss, but because of confusion over the booking, we were moved into a huge house with lots of rooms instead. It was really quite luxurious, and there was nobody else there, so we felt like kings. We moved in, and filled up the fridge with all the craft beer we'd bought in Bergen. As I'd gotten a little carried away during the shopping, this was actually an almost embarrassing amount. (This is part 3 of the Norwegian farmhouse ale trip.) ...

Read | 2014-07-20 15:32 | 0 comment(s)

Eating burnt sheep's head

We'd booked a lunch at Smalahovetunet, for two reasons. One was that they served the local delicacy smalahove, which really is burnt, smoked sheep's head. The other was that they'd promised to serve us traditional Voss home brew with the food. So we drove the 8 kilometers from Voss up to the farm, in an idyllic setting by the lake in the middle of the valley above Voss. (This is part 2 of the Norwegian farmhouse ale trip.) ...

Read | 2014-06-26 20:28 | 1 comment(s)

Brewing with kveik

We didn't really know what we were in for. We'd been invited to brew with a home brewer in Vestbygda outside Voss, who claimed to brew the traditional way, and to use kveik. That is, his own private yeast strain inherited in the family since, well, since nobody knows when. That was all we knew. So it was with some uncertainty we stopped at the railway station outside Voss and called our hosts. (This is part 1 of the Norwegian farmhouse ale trip.) ...

Read | 2014-06-22 14:12 | 5 comment(s)

In search of lost time

After I came back from the Lithuanian tour I had a discussion with Martin Thibault about doing the same in Norway. After all, why go to Lithuania to explore traditional brewing when the same thing exists in my own country? As I started to look more seriously into it, it seemed that there was a lot of traditional brewing still going on in Norway, but nobody had done any real research on the subject since Odd Nordland's famous book. Published in 1969. Clearly, it was high time that someone made another go at it. ...

Read | 2014-06-19 12:29 | 1 comment(s)

The price of ale

One thing that struck me very strongly when I was on the Toer de Geuze in 2012 was that the pricing for beer was totally wrong, and that major changes would have to be on the way. Those changes do seem to be coming, but much more slowly than I would have expected. As we'll get to, there are reasons for that. ...

Read | 2014-06-16 19:14 | 3 comment(s)

Beer cafes of Leuven

The final item on the programme was a visit to the Zythos Beer Festival in Leuven, one of the world's biggest beer festivals. The others were all enthusiastic and raring to go, but personally I really don't like beer festivals. Too many people, too much hassle, and not really the kind of setting I enjoy drinking beer in. To me, a beer cafe crawl of Leuven on a quiet Sunday afternoon seemed like the perfect alternative. (This is part 8 of the Scandinavian beer bloggers' tour.) ...

Read | 2014-06-12 22:29 | 3 comment(s)

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