Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Report from a near beer desert

I have visited some Norwegian airports during the last few weeks. I am not satisfied of the draught beer selection I have seen. The restaurants and bars are tied to the Ringnes brewery group in beverages. This means that Ringnes pale lager is found on tap more or less everywhere. In addition to Ringnes, you will often find Carlsberg pale lager, Kilkenny and Guinness and here and there a local pale lager from the Ringnes sortiment or a seasonal special.

There are also bottles available. Ringnes distributes Brooklyn brewery in Norway, and where available these are usually the most interesting offers. Otherwise there are bottled pale lagers like Ringnes, Carlsberg and Stella Artois on offer together with even more Guinness. Unfortunately no Norwegian craft beers are to be found on any of the airports I have been to, and that is really a shame. A tourist ought to find a Norwegian speciality also in an airport bar.

I recently had a 0.6 litre of Ringnes Pilsner at Bergen's airport Flesland. The pale lager had nearly no head and a lot of carbonation. In the nose there was sweetness and malts. I felt sweet malts and a touch of yeast in the mouth before a bitter finish with some wort and a touch of grains. This is a boring, average pale lager. The price was 94 NOK, which is nearly 11 GBP.

At Oslo's airport Gardermoen I tried Ringnes' Christmas beer. Ringnes Juleøl was a coppery beer with nearly no carbonation nor head. In the nose there was some caramel and cold coffee, and the beer tasted the same. I have tasted several better Christmas beers from Norway this year, and Ringnes Juleøl must be considered another boring beer.

I want to appeal to the bar and restaurant owners at Norwegian airports: If you have to sell beers from the Ringnes group, use your imagination and find some more interesting beers. A selection from Brooklyn brewery on tap would be a great beginning.

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