Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Two Drammeners (and a Drammen beer festival)

The city of Drammen is home to two Norwegian breweries. Aass is the traditional, local macro brewery, while Haandbryggeriet is the newer craft brewery. The first weekend of May 2012, Drammen will be the arena for Norway's first craft beer festival. Haandbryggeriet is the arranger, and Aass will be one of the guest breweries attending. Among the other guest breweries you can find Alvinne and Rulles of Belgium, Magic Rock of the UK, De Molen and Emelisse from the Netherlands, Närke of Sweden, Loverbeer of Italy in addition to Kinn and Nøgne Ø from Norway.

But back to Aass and Haandbryggeriet. Both breweries have extensive beer line-ups. Aass is going the traditional route in Norway with various pale lagers as the main focus of their product line. In addition to these, they have a gourmet line including a stout, a pale ale and a weizen. Most bigger breweries in Norway also make a beer in the Bavarian style, and Aass is no exception.

In the glass Aass Bayer is a copper coloured beer with some carbonation and a large head. In the nose there is a combination of burnt malts and some caramel. In the mouth I feel some toffee, sweetness and some burnt tones. The finish is watery and nearly anonymous. This was an inoffensive Bavarian beer that I felt was just average. In Norway I prefer Frydenlund Bayer if I will drink a beer in the Bavarian style.

Haandbryggeriet is one of Norway's experimental breweries. I am especially fond of the brewery's beers Pale Ale and Dobbel Dose, but there are also other gems in the product line. One of them is the Fyr & Flamme IPA. I have tried this beer earlier this year as a draught beer, and I felt that the beer was enjoyable.

From bottle Fyr & Flamme has a cloudy brownish colour. The beer has barely any carbonation, but there is a medium large head. I feel aromas of fruit cocktail, wood and yeast. In the mouth there is fruit and a lot of hops. The finish is partly bitter with a touch of tutti frutti chewing gum. This was a nice beer, but I feel it was better as a draught beer.

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