Larsblog - beer

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 | 10 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)

How to find good pubs in London

It's hard to find the really good pubs in most places in the world of any size, but London presents special challenges, for a number of reasons. First, there is the sheer size of the city, which has a population larger than many countries. Second, there is the enormous number of pubs (about 4000, according to many sources). And, third, there is the vast difference in quality between the average pubs and the really good ones. ...

Read | 2009-10-18 13:26 | 6 comment(s)

Innis & Gunn tasting

Innis & Gunn has met with a divided reception among beer enthusiasts. Some really like it, some think it's not bad, and some hate it. Personally, I quite like it, and it's one of the very few beers that are oak-aged and fairly widely distributed. So when Dr. Jekyll's pub in Oslo announced a tasting with Dougal Sharp, the creator of Innis & Gunn, I signed up. ...

Read | 2009-06-21 19:23 | 12 comment(s)

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