Sunday, February 13, 2011

Oslo's new brewpub

In October Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri opened its doors, making itself the second brewpub in Oslo. Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri is on historic brewery ground in the Grünerløkka neighbourhood. The area around the brewpub used to be Schous brewery, which was founded in 1821. Schous brewery was later bought by Frydenlund brewery, which again was bought by Ringnes in 1978. In 1981 the brewery business came to a close for Schous.

Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri is based in a cellar. The brewpub is like a big cavernous beer hall with bricks on the walls and ceiling. On my visit last week, the brewpub was full of people, and it was difficult finding a table. I felt the pub was noisy, but perhaps it would feel different if I was part of a group there?

The two bartenders did a good job, and the female bartender took time talking about the pub and the beers available. Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri has a good selection in bottled beers, and on tap there were five beers. Two of the beers were brewed on the premises, but Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri also offered Nøgne Ø's Wit and Imperial Stout while Haandbryggeriet's Pale Ale also was available.

I started with one of the brewpub's own beer. This was the phonetically incorrectly named beer [aj pi ej], which of course is an IPA. In the glass this was an unclear beer with a copper colour. I felt some orange and bitterness in the nose. In the mouth there was grapefruit and lemon before a partly bitter finish with a touch of grains. This was a lovely beer, and I felt it was one of the better Norwegian IPAs I have tried.

The other draught beer from Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri on my visit was called Batch #10, with Vinterøl (Winter beer) as an extra description. In the glass this was an unclear, dark brown beer with some carbonation. In the nose I felt dry roasted nuts and dried coffee. The taste was of cocoa, cold coffee and a touch of spruce shoots. This was a nice beer, but the [aj pi ej] is the better beer of these two.

If you go to Oslo, you must not miss out on Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri. This is a great brewpub with promising beers. I would love to see [aj pi ej] as a bottled beer and taste it head to head at home with IPAs from Kinn, Ægir, Nøgne Ø and Haandbryggeriet. That could be a fabulous night of beer tasting! In the meantime I promise to be back at Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri later this year.

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