Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dark Norwegians

Visiting restaurants and supermarkets, it is easy to believe that Norwegian beers are more or less pale lagers. Lager beers in the pilsner category is what most Norwegians consider as beer, and if you order "øl" in a Norwegian bar you will get pale lager.

Norway has a long tradition brewing other beer styles than pale lagers, and at one point in time the Bavarian style was the best selling. These beers, which are called bayer in Norway, are still found in supermarkets and shops, and most of the industrial breweries in Norway sell decent bayers.

Frydenlund used to be one of largest breweries in Norway. These days the Frydenlund name is used by Ringnes as a label, and you can find various Frydenlund beers in shops and supermarkets. One of them is Frydenlund bayer, which in the glass is a coppercoloured beer with some carbonation and a medium sized head. In the nose I find cold coffee, toffee and earth, while the beer taste of burnt malts, toffee and a touch of coffee before a partly bitter finish. Lovely!

Ægir brewery has grown from being a tiny craft brewery to a brewery with a presence in both Norwegian shops and Vinmonopolet. The demand for Ægir's products these days is so big that the brewery now brews their bottled beers in Belgium. The draught beers are still being produced in Flåm.

Tors Hammer is a barleywine, and the name is striking. Being a barleywine, as this is a really strong beer, being named after the thundergod's hammer is suitable. Tors Hammer is coppercoloured with a small head and nearly no carbonation. The nose is fruity with a sweet punch. The beer is fullbodied with a sweet taste where apricots and prunes dominate with a touch of tobacco before a semibitter finish. The barleywine is nice, but a half litre is too much. This is a beer that is made for sharing. The price is 112 NOK at Vinmonopolet, which is nearly 12 GBP.

Grans brewery uses Lade Gaard as an extra brand name. The Lade Gaard beers have one of the finest labels in Norway, and the beer bottles look very attractive. I did not like Lade Gaards pale lager or the Christmas beer, but I am willing to give the dark lager, Lade Gaards Mørk Lager, a chance.

In the glass this is a copper coloured beer with little carbonation and a medium sized head. There are aromas of malts and some caramel in the nose. In the mouth I feel some caramel, malts and a watery feeling. The finish is very alike a malzbier. Lade Gaard Mørk Lager is an average beer, but it is the best I have tried from Lade Gaard.

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