Larsblog - beer

Pub-walking in London

It's odd that the pub should in one sense be the ultimate English tourist attraction, since all countries have their own bars and cafés, but somehow the English pub has become part of international culture. And deservedly so, because there really is something special about English pubs. A good English pub is almost like a communal living-room; a kind of home away from home. That is, the good English pubs are like this. They are of course outnumbered by the indifferent or even bad pubs, which are just boozers like those you find anywhere in the world.

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Read | 2009-02-10 12:34 | 6 comment(s)

Cask beer

The summer after finishing high school a friend and I set out on an interrail trip through Europe. In England, one of the things we wanted to experience was a proper English beer. So we ordered a Guinness. This was a mistake on many different levels, but I'll limit myself to three here. First, Guinness is of course Irish, and not English. Secondly, we could have had it just about anywhere in Norway. But perhaps the worst mistake was that what's most unique about British beer culture is the cask method of serving beer draft. Guinness, however, even in England, is served from keg, like draft beers in the rest of the world. ...

Read | 2009-01-25 15:07 | 7 comment(s)

Olympen, Oslo

Not long ago, my advice to anyone wanting to try Norwegian microbrew in Oslo would have been to buy bottles from the Wine Monopoly stores and drink them in the hotel room. Not very appealing, of course, but the alternative would have been to hit the two or three pubs that carried a couple of such beers each, where you would have had to argue with the waiters in the hopes of perhaps persuading them to sell you one. (To be fair, Bar & Cigar could be relied on to not just have some, but to also sell them.) ...

Read | 2009-01-17 13:08 | 1 comment(s)

Experiments in blind tasting

I've written before about my experiences as an uncertified beer judge, and when the Norwegian homebrewer's association offered their beer judge certification course again this year I decided to apply. My goal was to learn more about the beer brewing process, to improve my ability to analyze beer, and to learn about specific flaws in beer and how to detect them. If I'd also have to teach myself the Norwegian beer style guidelines I decided that was a price I'd be willing to pay. ...

Read | 2008-11-20 15:39 | 7 comment(s)

Amber Gold and Black — a review

Amber Gold and Black is Martyn Cornell's new book on the history of British beer, currently only available in self-published ebook form. Getting it as a PDF wasn't ideal for me, as it meant I had to pay quite a lot to get it printed, but since Martyn is extremely well-informed on British beer history and passionate about getting his story right, I was more than willing to put up with this in order to be able to read the book. ...

Read | 2008-11-17 18:06 | 0 comment(s)

Samuel Adams Utopias

Samuel Adams Utopias is the world's most expensive beer in regular production, costing about USD 100 in the US. In Sweden the government alcohol monopoly takes in a few bottles every time it's produced, and a friend managed to get hold of a bottle from a pub in Gothenburg. It cost about USD 300 there, though, so he wisely decided to split the bottle with others. In the end we were eight beer enthusiasts who gathered in a flat in Oslo to try it. And, of course, since we were getting together anyway, we brought a few more beers to try at the same time. ...

Read | 2008-11-15 21:40 | 1 comment(s)

European Beer Festival '08

The Danish Association of Beer Enthusiasts have been arranging beer festivals for several years, but this year was the first time I was able to go. In fact, this was my first ever real beer festival, since the only ones I'd been to before were the Norwegian ones, which don't really count, as they rarely have any new beers, or even that many people. The EBF, on the other hand, was the real thing: roughly 1200 beers on offer from all over the world and more than 21,000 guests. ...

Read | 2008-11-13 15:25 | 2 comment(s)

2K: The five best beers

I wanted to make the 2K series quite long, with various lists of beers selected by different criteria, but I never managed to find any selections that inspired me enough to actually write the pieces, so we'll round off with the obvious one instead. ...

Read | 2008-09-07 14:19 | 0 comment(s)

Tasting at Haandbryggeriet

In April a group of beer enthusiasts booked a tour at Haandbryggeriet where we were shown around the brewery and tasted some of the beers. And since they knew of us from our blogs and from RateBeer they also let us taste some test brews of unreleased beers. Being real enthusiasts and raters we of course were quite vocal with our opinions, and apparently they appreciated that, because they invited us back this week to review some more test brews. Of course, we didn't need to be asked twice. ...

Read | 2008-09-03 21:44 | 0 comment(s)

How we judge beer in Norway

The state of the Norwegian beer scene never ceases to amaze me, and given that I'm a native Norwegian, I thought international readers might enjoy a look at what goes on here. If nothing else, it might have some entertainment value. The occasion for this blog entry is a beer test, initially published by a Norwegian magazine about cottages (as in summer houses, mountain retreats, etc). This magazine is owned by the media conglomerate Schibsted, which also publishes the main Norwegian daily, and so the test has now made its way onto the site of said daily. So the unwary reader could be forgiven for assuming that it was published by the most prestigious newspaper in Norway. ...

Read | 2008-08-20 21:04 | 9 comment(s)

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