Larsblog - beer

The beer revolution comes to Norway

When I first got seriously interested in beer, roughly ten years ago, Norway was a miserable place for a beer enthusiast. Norwegian beer was pretty much limited to four styles of lager from the industrials plus two half-decent brewpubs. As for imports, they were not very impressive, either. Two pubs had some Belgian beers, but that was about it. I used to memorize which pubs in Oslo had Erdinger, so I could get something decent to drink while out. ...

Read | 2012-01-26 19:44 | 6 comment(s)

Lambic

I can still remember my first sip of lambic. I was sitting in the tasting room of the Cantillon brewery in Brussels after completing the brewery tour, all eager to try the final product. The shock of actually tasting it was all the greater. It was sour! So sour it almost burned. And what's more, it was thin and tasted of metal and grain. This was lambic? ...

Read | 2012-01-13 17:37 | 1 comment(s)

The beer bars of Vilnius

Lithuania may be a small country today, but once the joint Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth included much of present-day Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belorussia, and Ukraine. This is why Vilnius has one of the largest surviving medieval towns in Northern Europe, covering well over three square kilometers. So Vilnius is well worth visiting just for the sights, but it also happens that you can find a very rare beer style here: kaimiškas, or Lithuanian farmhouse ales. ...

Read | 2011-05-14 10:40 | 10 comment(s)

Are macro lagers really all the same?

Beer enthusiasts like to say that people who argue over which industrial pale lager is best are missing the point, because they all essentially taste the same, and none of them are very good, anyway. I personally agree with that, and that now that there are so many good craft beers available everywhere, there's really no reason to drink this stuff at all. ...

Read | 2011-05-08 16:23 | 11 comment(s)

Traditional Norwegian homebrew, finally

I was recently invited to give a presentation on Topic Maps at Vestlandsforsking in Sogndal, as part of their 25-year jubilee seminar series. I first tried to fly there in December, but because of fog the plane was never able to land. Ironically, the flight itself was absolutely beautiful. The little propeller plane flew over an endless expanse of snow-capped mountains in blazing sunshine. Just before arriving in Sogndal we could clearly see the Jotunheimen mountain range in the distance, sticking up over the smaller mountains. ...

Read | 2011-04-03 10:18 | 6 comment(s)

Europe's best-kept beer secret?

A flood of industrial lager has swept away the native beer traditions of just about every country in Europe except, famously, for the Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium, and the UK. Oh, and, it turns out, Lithuania. If you haven't heard about Lithuanian beer traditions, don't worry, because nobody else has, either. ...

Read | 2010-09-18 21:09 | 10 comment(s)

Ægir, Flåm

It's far and away the most spectacular brewpub I've ever seen. Part of it is the location, at the end of a Norwegian fjord surrounded by tall mountains that seem to tower over the little village. But it's just as much the brewpub itself, a dark, bulky wooden structure looking vaguely like a stave church that's lost its tower, decorated with wooden dragons on the roof, in true dragestil. Inside it's no less unusual, as we'll get to in a moment. ...

Read | 2010-08-05 20:33 | 5 comment(s)

The sixth German Gose

When I heard there was a third gose in Goslar I didn't want to believe it. After all, we travelled to Goslar in 2008 specifically to try the two goses from Brauhaus Goslar, carefully hunted down both the pale and dark versions, and tried them both several times. I then crossed Goslar off my list of "places to visit before I die," and was ready to move on. So to be told that there was another gose in Goslar was not what I wanted to hear. Especially not that it was only available in a place I'd already tried to get in, and failed because it was reserved for a private party. ...

Read | 2010-07-17 11:44 | 2 comment(s)

Traditional Nordic beer

In the Nordic countries there is a whole style of brewing that has so far almost completely escaped the attention of beer enthusiasts, although some tips of the iceberg are showing above the surface here and there, if you look carefully. I'm referring to the traditional homebrewers, who have just about nothing in common with the new wave of US-inspired home brewers. What makes these brewers so interesting is that the beers they brew belong to styles that are almost completely unknown outside of these communities. ...

Read | 2010-01-16 14:48 | 13 comment(s)

Brewdog Tactical Nuclear Penguin (32%)

When I saw that Dr. Jekyll's Pub in Oslo was arranging a tasting with Brewdog, featuring their Tactical Nuclear Penguin beer, the world's strongest at 32%, I knew I had to go. Unsurprisingly, so did Knut Albert (his blog posting is here) and Geir Ove. The tasting was given by James Watt, who is responsible for Brewdog's marketing. ...

Read | 2009-12-17 08:41 | 5 comment(s)

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