Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Elephant's secret

I was not recommending the pub Elefanten in Bergen after my first visit in 2009. This week I was back, and I had a much more positive experience. That also means beerwise. On the other side of the street you can find Henrik, and very near excellent beer destinations like Naboen and Baran can be found. Why should Elefanten be an alternative?

The answer is draught beer from Kinn brewery in Florø. These days Elefanten has two Kinn taps in addition to draught beers like Hansa Pils, Hansa Bayer and Erdinger weizen. There are also some interesting bottled beers available. This means that a beer interested person should also take a look at Elefanten during a pub crawl in Bergen. If for instance the Kinn beers at Naboen are not to your liking, it is worth to check out the available draught beers at Elefanten.

On my visit I had a 0.33 litre glass of Vestkyst, which is Kinn's IPA. The price was 82 NOK, which is about 9 GBP. Vestkyst was a cloudy, nearly golden beer with nearly no head no carbonation. I felt apples and yeast in the nose. In the mouth there was grapefruit and pepper before a hoppy and bitter finish. I liked it a lot, but I felt it was way too bitter compared to a bottled version I enjoyed at home a few days earlier.

I wish Elefanten good luck with the venture into craft beers from draught. Suddenly the elephant pub has become a dark horse!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Time for Inedit

Inedit is a beer with a different look on the beer shelves. The designers at the Spanish Estrella Damm brewery have made a beautiful bottle that makes me think about champagne bottles. The bottles therefore easily stand out next to beer cans and 0.5 litre and 0.33 litre beer bottles in Norwegian supermarkets.

The beer is sold in 0.75 litre bottles. It is especially made as a beer to go with food. Inedit is supposed to be enjoyed from white wine glasses, and the bottle should be kept cold in an ice tin. All this promises an exclusive beer. But what about the content in the bottle? According to the brewery Inedit is a combination of lager beer and wheat beer. I therefore chose to try out Inedit in a wheat beer glass.

Inedit is a pale coloured beer with a lot of carbonation, but it builds a medium sized head. In the nose there is banana and a touch of malts. The beer is sweet with some bananas and herbs. In all, Inedit is not a stellar beer. I find it pretty average, but perhaps it would be be much better than a boring San Miguel or Estrella Damm pale lager with a plate of tapas?

Friday, August 26, 2011

A taste of Waldemar's

Waldemar's is Hansa brewery's microbrewery label. The microbrewery is based in Hansa's old brewery buildings near the city centre of Bergen. There is also a restaurant at the premises that specializes in pairing food and beer, but it has never been open when I have been in the area.

Some of Waldemar's beers can be found in selected pubs in Bergen and other Norwegian cities. I am fond of the wheat beer, that unfortunately is not sold in bottles nor cans. But here and there you can find it as a draught beer.

For Waldemar's Brown Ale it is a different story. This beer is widely available in Norwegian supermarkets. It is a copper coloured beer with some carbonation and a medium sized head. I feel aromas of caramel and a touch of yeast. In the mouth there is some toffee and hoppy bitterness before a watery finish. This is a beer that can be described as inoffensive. It is nice, but not among the better beers of its style.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A fine sour beer

I usually end up at Henrik at some point during pub crawls in Bergen. Henrik is one of the better pubs in town, and it also has a fine selection of bottled beers and some draught beers. From tap there are always three beers with a connection to Nøgne Ø. Usually these are brewed by Nøgne Ø or imported to Norway by the Grimstad based craft brewery. What draught beers that are available on these taps, changes all the time. Therefore it is always a bit exciting visiting Henrik. I was not in the mood for a lager beer nor a Guinness, so I found out that I wanted to try one of the beers from the rotating taps. I saw that one of them offered a sour beer from the Belgian Cantillion brewery and ended up choosing it.

Cantillion Rose de Gambrinus was a nearly red beer with a small head and some carbonation. There was raspberry and a touch of cherries in the nose. In the mouth I felt not yet ripe berries, some gooseberry and cherries before a sour finish. This was a nice and refreshing beer, and it is the best sour beer I have tasted so far.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bergen's new microbrewery

Hanne på Høyden is a restaurant in Bergen with a good reputation. The courses are made with local ingredients, and the restaurant specializes in slow food. This year Hanne på Høyden started a micro brewery inside the restaurant. As far as I know, four beers have been made at Hanne på Høyden so far.

Earlier this week I visited Hanne på Høyden for the first time. Inside I found a charming room with a bar as the central point. A tap promising Hansa draught beer was not what I expected. I would have thought that there would be a tap advertising Hanne på Høyden's own beers. The friendly and charming waitress told me that they did not sell their own beers from tap. Instead these beers were available in bottles, and that day a wit beer and a brown ale were for sale.

I chose the wit and was given a bottle of Den wite dame. This is a word play on a traditional Norwegian cream cake called Hvit dame (White lady in English). The beer was a little bit cloudy, but still paleish in colour. There was some carbonation and nearly no head. In the nose I felt yeast, apple and some sourness. In the mouth there was grains, bread, honey melon and some sweetness before a watery finish with a touch of strawberry. I would have preferred this beer with a fuller body and less watery, but it was still a fine wit beer. The alcohol content was 4.9%.

I will be back at Hanne på Høyden, and it will be interesting to see how new batches and other beer styles will turn out. But the beer is very expensive. I paid 119 NOK for a bottle of Den wite dame. That is nearly 13 GBP. Other bars in Bergen sell half litres of craft beer from breweries like Nøgne Ø, Kinn, Ægir and Haandbryggeriet at around 100 NOK or less.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Back at Naboen

As I was walking the streets of Bergen again, it was beer o'clock. I decided once again to enter one of Bergen's best places for beer, Naboen.

On the street level Naboen is a nice restaurant with Swedish food, while the cellar is a charming pub. Food from the restaurant menu can also be ordered in the cellar pub, but mainly this is a beer joint.

Aass delivers the pale lager, while draught beers from Kinn, Ægir, Nøgne Ø and Haandbryggeriet are always available together with loads of bottled beers. There are also two house beers. The Bavarian styled Naboen's Bayer is brewed by an undisclosed brewery. It is a bit silly by the bartenders talking about the secret brewery all the time and not telling who is brewing the beer. Some of the rumours say Aass brewery, but there are also people gossiping that Naboen's Bayer is brewed at Hansa in Bergen. Taste the beer and find out for yourself!

The other house beer is Naboen's Bitter, which is brewed by Kinn brewery in Florø. Naboen's Bitter was a new beer for me. It was a brownish beer with a small head and some carbonation. In the nose I felt yeast and toffee, while the beer tasted of toffee and a touch of grass before a partly bitter finish. I liked this bitter, which is a fine example of this British beer style.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Return to Amundsen

The newest brewpub in Oslo is Amundsen Bryggeri & Spiseri. Amundsen Bryggeri & Spiseri was established in 2011 and it is a spacious restaurant with a long bar close to the Norwegian National Theatre.

LinkBeer tourists to Oslo have a lot of Norwegian draught beers to choose from. Breweries like Nøgne Ø, Haandbryggeriet, Ægir and Waldemars are among the ones represented. In addition to these there is an excellent and varied selection of bottled beers.

I went to Amundsen to try one of the beers brewed at the premises. I had already tasted the pale ale on an earlier visit, and a pilsner did not tempt me. Instead I chose the red ale.

Amundsen Red Ale was a dark, reddish beer. It had a medium sized head but hardly any carbonation. The nose surprised me. I felt cowberries! The cowberries were still there in the mouth with a touch of malts before a finish with some fruit salad. This beer was different and good, but I felt a half litre was enought at this time.

I will be back at Amundsen Bryggeri & Spiseri. This is one of Oslo's best beer destinations.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A more than average brewpub in Oslo

The traditional brewpub in Oslo is Oslo Mikrobryggeri. Oslo Mikrobryggeri was founded in 1989 and was for several years the only brewery in Oslo. The large Ringnes brewery moved its production of beers and sodas to Gjelleråsen outside Oslo in 2001.

Oslo Mikrobryggeri is based in Bogstadveien street north of the Royal castle. The brewery brews several beers, and on my recent visit I tried three of the available six. The three beers I did not taste were Oslo Mikrobryggeri's stout, porter and weizen.

The first beer was Oslo Mikrobryggeri's Steamer. This was a brownish beer with nearly no carbonation and a medium sized head. There was not much aroma from the beer, but I felt some toffee and grapes. In the mouth toffee took the lead before a watery finish. This was a nice beer, but I felt it lacked some punch in it.

Oslo Pils was a pale lager with some carbonation and a small head. In the nose there was grass and some caramel. I felt malts, toffee and grains before a grainy finish. This was another nice beer, but there are better pale lagers around in Norway.

I also tried Oslo Mikrobryggeri's IPA and was a bit disappointed. This brownish beer was not as hoppy as I had hoped for. Instead I was served a beer with aromas of toffee and grapefruit. In the mouth there was toffee and some bitter citrus before a partly bitter finish. Again Oslo Mikrobryggeri offered another nice beer, but I like my IPAs with a more assertive hop bite.

I have described the beers I have tasted from Oslo Mikrobryggeri as nice beers. But they are not extremely good. They are adequate, inoffensive session beers that are better than the average pale lagers. Oslo Mikrobryggeri is a fine pub. There is no food served there, but the beers make the brewpub a must for a beer ticker. For the average beer visitor to Oslo there are more interesting places to go.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pale ale tasting at Schouskjelleren

I have been to Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri once again. Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri is one of Oslo's newest brewpubs, and it is interesting to see what new beers that are available from visit to visit.

During my last trip to Oslo I ended up drinking three of the pale ales brewed on the premises. A fourth draught beer brewed at Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri was also available together with nine other draught beers and an excellent collection of bottled beer.

I started with Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri's Empress of India IPA. This cloudy IPA had a small head and nearly no carbonation. In the nose I felt grass, grapefruit and yeast, while the beer tasted grapefruit and grapes before a partly bitter finish with some sweetness. This was a lovely beer!

Then I tried Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri's Hip Hops. This beer was described by the friendly and cute waitress as a pale ale. The beer was cloudy, had a large head and some carbonation. Hip Hops had nearly no aroma, but the beer had a touch of fruit cocktail before a finish with some sour lemon. This was an average beer that I perhaps would have liked a lot more if I drank it before the Empress of India IPA.

Transport Helicopter is supposed to be a single hop pale ale. This was another cloudy beer with some carbonation. In the nose I felt some fruit cocktail and malts, while in the mouth I felt a combination of grapefruit and sweet lemons before a semi bitter finish. This was another lovely beer from Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri.

Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri is probably the most interesting brewpub in Oslo at the moment. A beer tourist should not miss out on it.

For the record: I also tried the Dresden '45 rauchbier from the Danish brewery Grassroot during this visit to Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri. I feel naming a smoked beer that way is tasteless by the brewery. I will therefore not comment on the beer.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

From single to double

Once again in Oslo, a visit to Grünerløkka Brygghus is a must for me. As always the beer bottle collection is excellent with many interesting beers available. In addition to this, there are 13 draught beer taps with several great brews. Norwegian breweries have a good presence on the draught beer list with beers from Aass, Nøgne Ø, Ægir and Kinn represented.

The house beer at Grünerløkka Brygghus is still not brewed on the premises. Instead it is Nøgne Ø who delivers Kjell Pop Single Hop. These days it is supplemented by another house beer. This is also from Nøgne Ø and is called Kjell Pop Double Hop.

Kjell Pop Double Hop is a cloudy beer with a nearly brown colour. In the glass there is hardly any carbonation, and the beer has a small head. I feel grapefruit in the nose, while the beer tastes of more grapefruit, pepper and grass before a very bitter, hoppy finish. I liked this beer at first, but it became much too bitter for me.

Grünerløkka Brygghus has become one of the pubs I always visit in Oslo. But when will you start brewing your own beer and become a real brewpub? The Norwegian word brygghus really means brewery house in English.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Disappointment at Patricks

I was recommended to visit Patricks during my stay in Kristiansand. Patricks is supposed to be the best beer place in the city, and it is easily found in the pedestrian Markens gate street in the city centre.

Patricks seemed to be a popular place. The evening I was there, the place was packed. It was difficult to find a place to sit down, and the large bar was very crowded. Beerwise Patricks was interesting. In addition to a good selection of bottled beers, Patricks had 14 draught beers on tap. Among them were beers from Norwegian breweries like Nøgne Ø and Ægir.

I wanted to try a local beer, so I ordered CB's take on a Bavarian styled lager. CB Bayer was paler than what I expected from what should be a typical brownish beer. The beer had a small head and nearly no carbonation. In the nose I felt burnt malts and some caramel. The beer felt watery, but it had a caramel taste before some roasted nuts in the finish. This was a boring Bayer that I did not enjoy.

My visit at Patricks was not that fun. The staff was playing really loud music, and because of that guests were more or less shouting to each other. It was not a must staying there, and normal conversations were more or less impossible. I had a craving for an IPA and ordered a glass of Ægir. That beer was great as usual. And then I was off. I had had enough of Patricks for that evening.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A taste of CB

Kristiansand is the largest city in Southern Norway. It has about 70,000 inhabitants and is Norway's fifth largest city. It is a beautiful town, and many Norwegians travel to the area during Summer. Some of Norway's best beaches are near Kristiansand, and the biggest Norwegian zoo, Dyreparken, is based just outside the city.

Markens gate street in the city centre of Kristiansand.

Earlier Kristiansand was called Christianssand. The local brewery is called CB (Christianssands Bryggeri), and it is one of Norway's oldest current breweries. It was originally founded in 1856. CB's beers are easily found in bars and restaurants around Kristiansand, and the locals are very fond of the brewery's pale lager, CB pilsner.

I had my taste of CB pilsner at Six Pence Pub in Kirkegata street. This is a large cellar pub with few guests on my visit.

In the glass CB pilsner is a golden beer with much carbonation and a small head. In the nose there is some malts and a touch of sweetness. The beer has a malty taste before a watery finish with some grains. This was an average pale lager, and I prefer buying other Norwegian beers than CB pilsner.