Monday, November 8, 2010

At the pharmacy

In some countries the best bars and pubs are often found outside the city centres. A special pub with a spectacular atomosphere and great beers can be placed in the suburban neighbourhoods where many people live. In Norway it is not like that. Because of the strict Norwegian alcohol laws, bars and pubs are found in the city centres, and very seldom you can find a place where alcohol is sold in the suburbs.

If you take the Bergen Light Rail southwards to the the Danmarks plass tram stop, you are in the outskirts of the city centre of Bergen. There are two bars in the area. One of them, Krohns, used to be called Danmarkskroen and was then a real boozer. Today it is just another bar with no atmosphere, bland local Hansa lager, TV screens and the occational football game. My advice would be to walk around the block to Bien.

Once upon a time Bien was a pharmacy. These days the pharmacy interior is kept, and the owners have made the place into a bar. It is interesting to sit there looking at the old shelves and the odd medicine bottles. Bien is a bar with soul, and I like sitting there enjoying myself.

There is also a kitchen, so lunch and dinner can be bought at moderate prices for a Norwegian eatery. And if you like quizzes in Norwegian, there is a quiz evening once a week.

Unfortunately, the available beers at Bien leave something to desire. From tap there are only beers from Hansa brewery. You can have Hansa's pale lager or the bayer (Bavarian style). There are also various Erdinger wheat beers from bottles, but these beers are not among the better weissbier beers nor best from bottle. If the proprietors at Bien would listen to me, I would tell them to get a bigger and more interesting draught beer selection. The room and the atmosphere is very good, but the beers are not top notch.

I have reviewed Hansa's bayer before, and it is still one of the Bergen brewery's better beers. At Bien it is served in 0.4 litre glasses at 58 NOK, which is about 6 GBP. In the glass the bayer has a tiny head but an average amount of carbonation. There are some caramel aromas from the beer, and in the mouth there is a combination of caramel, toffee and a touch of malt before a bitter and watery finish. This is a nice beer compared to most Norwegian macro beers.

No comments:

Post a Comment