When not brewing Christmas beer was illegal

There really was a time when not brewing Christmas beer in Norway was not just illegal, but even punished harshly. I realize this sounds like a tall tale, but it is documented far beyond any reasonable doubt. Which is of course quite confusing. Why was the law like this? That's quite a complicated question, it turns out. ...

Read | 2019-12-07 17:02 | 13 comment(s)

Muri: A Mystery Solved

I wrote about the Muri mystery and how I didn't think we'd ever solve it, but yesterday I got an email out of the blue. Kristoffer Krogerus had noted a new paper on Saccharomyces eubayanus (one of the two parents of lager yeast) where the researchers had sequenced the genomes of a number of commercial brewing strains. He downloaded the data and took a closer look. ...

Read | 2019-09-12 08:51 | 6 comment(s)

My new book, in English

Somehow it seems to have happened for real. I've been slaving away at this farmhouse stuff for almost a decade now, and now a summary of all that labour is going to appear in the form of an English book written by me. Somehow it seems at the same time both inevitable and almost unbelievable. But here we are. ...

Read | 2019-09-04 12:09 | 24 comment(s)

The Muri mystery

Back in 2014, when people first started getting seriously interested in kveik, a homebrewer named Bjarne Muri realized he might be able to contribute something. He came from the farm Muri in Olden in Nordfjord, western Norway, not far from Hornindal. His grandfather was a farmhouse brewer, and the last time they brewed on the farm was in 1991. Two things remained from that final brew: a home-made video, and the yeast, dried and stored in an outhouse on the farm. ...

Read | 2019-08-17 17:30 | 4 comment(s)

North American tour

Ever since I started writing seriously about farmhouse ale I knew that some day I would be going to the US to tell people about these beers and brewers. This farmhouse brewing culture was so exciting that it just had to happen at some point. And now it is happening. ...

Read | 2019-08-07 18:44 | 5 comment(s)

Finding farmhouse ale in Norway

Quite a few people write to me, saying they're planning to visit Norway, and want to know where they can experience Norwegian farmhouse ale culture. Probably there are more people who are interested, but who don't write email, so it seemed like a good idea to just publish everything here. ...

Read | 2019-07-14 10:39 | 11 comment(s)

Farmhouse ale festival, now what?

Four years ago, back in 2015, William Holden told me that I was on the board for a beer festival in Hornindal to be dedicated to farmhouse ale. This was the first I heard about the festival, and the announcement that I was on the board was not preceded by asking "would you like to help arrange a festival?" or anything like that. I was just added to the group "ADMIN Kornølfestival" without further ado, and from then on treated as a member of the board. ...

Read | 2019-06-14 16:43 | 3 comment(s)

Brewing in Chuvashia

Suddenly, the bus drove out of the forest, onto a bridge spanning an enormous river, deep blue in the sunshine, and so wide it looked more like a lake. This was the Volga. We had left the northern forest zone for the fertile Russian south. Except this part of it wasn't only Russian. We were about to make the third stop on our Russian farmhouse ale expedition, "only" 800 kilometers east of Moscow. From the previous stop in Kirov we'd travelled south to Chuvashia. ...

Read | 2019-02-03 11:26 | 8 comment(s)

Oven beer in central Russia

Dmitriy stopped the car outside his dacha (summer house) in the tiny village of Shitovo, and jumped out. He turned to us, beaming with arms outstretched, and said "Welcome to Shitovo." Then he ran off to open the doors to the dacha, and disappeared inside. We'd come to Shitovo, outside Kirov in central Russia to learn how Dmitriy Zhezlov brews his farmhouse ale. This was the second stop on our Russian farmhouse ale expedition. We'd travelled west from our previous base in Perm, and were now "only" 800 kilometers east of Moscow. ...

Read | 2018-11-07 19:31 | 25 comment(s)

Kudymkar: brewing at the edge of Europe

We drove straight through Kudymkar. Coming out on the north side I asked Ivan where we were going. We were on our way to brew a local farmhouse ale with Marina Ivanovna, a Komi woman, but I didn't really know exactly where. Just that it was somewhere in the Kudymkar area. "The village is Mezhuyevo," Ivan said, "but she said we can't find it with the GPS." In the end Ivan managed to guide us to the village and the right house by calling Marina and getting directions. (This is the first stop on the Russian farmhouse ale expedition.) ...

Read | 2018-09-17 14:52 | 4 comment(s)

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