Larsblog - beer

"My" farmhouse ale comes home

I wrote earlier about how I went to Sogndal to brew a traditional Christmas beer there. Unfortunately, since I had to get back to work, I left Sogndal the next morning, just as the beer was beginning to ferment. There was no way I could bring a big can of fermenting wort on the little propeller plane I was taking back home, so I just had to go home hoping we could find some way to transfer the beer. As luck would have it, a kind colleague was celebrating Christmas in Sogndal, and brought a 10-liter can of the beer back over the mountains, so I got to try it. ...

Read | 2014-02-01 11:47 | 1 comment(s)

Brewing a Norwegian farmhouse ale

When cousin Svein asked if I wanted to come to Sogndal to learn how to brew a traditional Norwegian farmhouse ale there was only one possible answer. One of the researchers at Western Norway Research Institute, Carlo Aall, is a traditional brewer, and offered to teach the other employees the art of traditional brewing. To give us an experience closer to the original, he'd been allowed to use the brewhouse at Amble Gård, a farm in nearby Kaupanger. I'll describe the procedure first, then give the recipe at the end. ...

Read | 2013-12-01 16:34 | 5 comment(s)

Kveik: Norwegian farmhouse yeast

If I say "domesticated animals", yeast is perhaps not the first thing that springs to mind, but it was actually one of the first organisms to be domesticated. Evidence of domesticated yeast goes back at least 4000 years. Yeast has been produced commercially since at least the early 19th century, and fairly quickly drove out the private strains that people used to keep at home. ...

Read | 2013-11-07 18:19 | 0 comment(s)

Norwegian farmhouse ale

It's a well-kept secret that in Norway there exists a homebrewing tradition completely separate from the modern homebrewing that's taken off in the last few decades. The traditional homebrewers don't make porter and IPA, instead they make stjørdalsøl, konnjøl, maltøl and other old styles that hardly anyone outside of Norway ever heard of. Michael Jackson visited some of these brewers back in 1995, but since then things have been quiet. ...

Read | 2013-10-27 13:24 | 10 comment(s)

Impressions of the Riga beer scene

When I landed in Riga, I have to admit I was more curious about the state of Latvian beer than about the city itself. Specfically, I wanted to know whether there were beers of the Lithuanian farmhouse ale type being brewed in Latvia. My sources were telling me no, but I figured there's always a chance. If nothing else, it should be fun to search. ...

Read | 2013-10-07 19:00 | 0 comment(s)

What is craft beer?

I've made a point of never discussing definitions, because all definitions are tautologies. That is, a definition can never be wrong. If I say, "I define horse to be 'any creature which has three legs and one horn'", then nobody can tell me that's wrong. I'm simply notifying you that this is how I use the term. What you can say is that nobody else uses the term that way, and that you don't believe there are a whole lot of things which can be called horses under my definition. ...

Read | 2013-10-04 13:58 | 2 comment(s)

Why does Lithuania have such a great beer culture?

I think everyone will agree that for Lithuania to be one of the world's great beer cultures is a bit surprising. For years I've been wondering why this would be, and now I'm finally in a position to propose an answer. And it is really a bit of a puzzler. Right north of the border is Latvia, where they speak a related language, and share the same Soviet heritage, but not the beer culture. Why? ...

Read | 2013-09-30 14:19 | 1 comment(s)

Six favourite Lithuanian beers

After the blog posts about my Lithuanian beer tour Bryan D. Roth invited me to do a post for The Six-pack Project. The idea is to get different bloggers to pick six beers from some country to present what that beer culture has to offer. Having written a lot about different Lithuanian breweries and styles in general, but little about the specific beers, I decided this might be a good way to give a more direct idea of what Lithuanian beer is like. ...

Read | 2013-09-28 09:16 | 1 comment(s)

Trying to understand Lithuanian beer

Now that I've visited Lithuania three times, and finally gotten to actually meet some of the brewers, I feel I am at last beginning to understand a least a little of Lithuanian beer. This post is my attempt to do a little analysis and put what I've learned into some kind of order. ...

Read | 2013-09-02 20:00 | 3 comment(s)

Joalda, an artist in yeast

I've already told the story of how the "tasting" at Joalda went somewhat off the rails, but there's so much left to say I need another blog post. From the outside the brewery looks like a private dwelling, with a normal house, a little garden pavilion, and something like a combined barn and garage. That, of course, is the brewery. (This is part 5 of the Lithuanian brewery tour.) ...

Read | 2013-08-30 15:44 | 6 comment(s)

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