Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hansa Bayer

Breweries are spread all over Norway, but most of them are controlled by two large companies: Ringnes and Hansa-Borg. Hansa-Borg is the second largest brewer in Norway, and is a result of a merger between Hansa brewery of Bergen and Borg brewery of Sarpsborg. Hansa and the soccer team Brann are the prides of Norway's second largest town, Bergen. Bergen is famous for its patriotism, and people living there are known to say that they are not Norwegians, but Bergeners.

Bergen harbour. On the left is Bergenhus fortress. In medieval times this was the home of the king of Norway.

The Hansa brewery was established in 1891. For many years it was based at Kalfaret - just outside Bergen's old town gate. These days Hansa has a modern brewery based in a southern suburb close to the airport. On the old site there is a micro brewery and a little restaurant. While attending college I used to live near the old brewery, and the smell of malts in the area is a fond memory. It is just like the weeks I spent in the German village of Böklund some years ago. The smell from the sausage factory there used to water my mouth.

Bergen seen from Mount Fløyen - one of the city's seven surrounding mountains.

When Hansa started up their first beer was Bayer - a darker beer in the Bavarian style. Bayer is still brewed today, and Hansa sells it in cans. Bayers used to be popular in Norway, but today it is a marginal product. In the 1950s 20 percent of Norwegian beers were Bayers. In 2004 Bayers had a Norwegian market share of 0.2 percent.

I feel that it fits that the first beer tested out in this blog is a Norwegian Bayer beer. Hansa Bayer pours nicely into the glass, and there is a good head that disappears rather fast. There is some carbonation, and the colour is amber. I can taste notes of fruitiness, but still there is some bitterness in it. A nice beer - but it leaves a watery aftertaste. Hansa Bayer is enjoyable, and in my opinion one of the better offers from the Hansa label.

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