Sunday, January 17, 2010

More airport beers

If you travel to Norway on a plane, most visitors enter the country through Oslo's airport Gardermoen. Gardermoen is the largest airport in Norway, and the second largest in Scandinavia.

Gardermoen's terminal building is built nearly as a long in-door street with gates on both sides along the way. There are several shops in the building as well. The airport is divided into an international and a domestic section.

All passengers have access to the domestic section, but you need to go through the duty free shop to get to the international section. This shop is by the way the largest tax free shop in Europe.

There are twenty restaurants or eateries on the airport. Among others you can find sausage stands, a seafood restaurant, an Italian restaurant and a Pizza Hut.

In the domestic section you can find O'Learys. O'Learys calls itself a "real American sportsbar", and is part of a Swedish chain with franchises in Scandinavia and Singapore. It is a typical bar with various beverages available with various American snacks and courses. I can recommend their large hamburgers and fries.

O'Learys have five different beers on tap. Like in most Norwegian airports Ringnes and Carlsberg are available. Here these pale lager beers are supplemented by draughted Kilkenny and Guinness. There is also Stella Artois on tap, and they also sell various bottled beers.

Guinness is still one of my favourite stouts. It was the first stout I ever tasted, and it is widely available in cans all over Norway. I am very fond of its creamy textures and coffee notes, and I really enjoy drinking it as a draught beer. Sure, there are better stouts out there, but Guinness is still a very good stout in my opinion. I do not remember the price at O'Learys, but I believe a pint costs around 80 NOK. That is nearly 9 GBP or 10 EUR.

I have also had my share of Kilkenny the last ten years. Suddenly in the nineties Kilkenny was easy to find in Norwegian shops and bars, and I have taken the odd pint now and then. Kilkenny is a good ale, but I feel it is a bit watery. The texture is nearly as creamy as in Guinness, but I feel Kilkenny is not as tempting as Guinness if both beers are available in the same bar. The price for Kilkenny is about the same as for Guinness at O'Learys.

When I visited Gardermoen lately I was in the mood for a lager beer. Ringnes and Carlsberg was not tempting, so I had my first draughted Stella Artois since my visit to Avignon. The Belgian pale lager was served in a 0.6 glass and was priced at 89 NOK, which is around 10 GBP or nearly 11 EUR. The glass looked worn with stripes on it. It was not branded, but looked like a often used (but clean!) Carlsberg glass.

There was a lot of carbonation, but nearly no head. The nose had some malts, but otherwise nothing. In the mouth there is more malts, some sweetness, a hint of hops and a watery aftertaste. Stella Artois is completely drinkable. It is far from my favourite lager, but I feel it is OK to have a glass of this beer from tap when the competition is Carlsberg or Ringnes.


  1. I think Kilkenny is a disgrace of a beer. It's dreadfully bland. The texture is almost entirely derived from the gas mix that's pumped through it, which is why it's so similar to Guinness's. Nitrogen will cripple the flavour in all but the boldest-tasting beers, and neither Guinness nor Kilkenny have enough backbone to stand up to it, in my opinion.

    As ambassadors for the Irish beer scene, I regard both of these with intense embarrassment.

  2. I believe what you say about Guinness and Kilkenny, but I still feel that Guinness is a good tasting beer. I guess I need to take a trip to Ireland soon to try some other stouts and ales and compare them to Guinness and Kilkenny.

    There is one local pub selling Murphy's, but otherwise Kilkenny and Guinness are kings of their styles here in Norway.

    I have also tried other stouts, and my favourite so far is the Czech Primator Stout. Here you can find what I wrote about it and other beers I found at a pub in Prague:

    I have also done a comparison of several stouts available in Norwegian shops: