Saturday, March 31, 2012

Good location

When it comes to location, Amundsen in the city centre of Oslo has everything. Placed merely a stone throw from the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget), it is easy to find in Roald Amundsens Gate street. The beer menu is just fabulous. Amundsen offers both beers brewed on the premises and a great selection of draught beers. In addition to these, there are many rare beers in the restaurant's beer cellar.

I wanted to try one of Amundsen's own beers and decided to try out the pale ale. This was a golden beer with a cloudy look. There was barely any carbonation, and the beer had a small head. In the nose I felt pine, yeast and some grapefruit. The beer tasted grapefruit and pine before a nice finish with some bitterness. This was a lovely beer. I tasted an earlier batch of the same beer last year, but this was a better beer experience.

Amundsen is a must for a beer visitor to Oslo. My regret was that I did not have the time to stay for more than another beer.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Railway Belgian

One of Oslo's most interesting pubs can be found at the main railway station, Oslo S. The Kristiania pub is situated in what was once a waiting room. These days it is a nice pub where you can also order food. Among the draught beers you can find beers like Hansa, Heineken and Carling pale lagers, Hansa Bayer, Murphy's Stout and both the Hefeweizen and the Dunkel from Erdinger.

During my visit I chose the monthly special. This was Chouffe Triple IPA from Belgium. This was a partly cloudy pale beer with nearly no carbonation and a medium sized head. In the nose I felt a fruit cocktail. The beer tasted of peaches and various other fruits with some Belgian yeast. The finish was partly sugary. I liked the first sips of this beer, but then it became rather boring and a bit too sweet.

Kristiania is a nice, scenic pub with a fine atmosphere. If you are going to Oslo airport, it is a good place to have a beer before the trip.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Return to Schouskjelleren

Oslo's Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri was my favourite Norwegian pub in 2011. It is easy to find at the southern end of the Grünerløkka neighbourhood close to the Nybrua tram stop. At my recent visit I still feel that the pub is among the top of the crop. The service is great and attentive, the atmosphere is very good and there is an excellent selection of draught beers. The big bonus is that some of the beers are brewed on the premises, making Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri one of the better brewpubs in Scandinavia. And I also like the policy of selling branded beer glasses. Other pubs can learn from that. A beer glass is an excellent souvenir!

I chose to try out O.S.B. Bitter. This was a cloudy beer with some carbonation and a medium sized head. There were nearly no aromas from the beer. I felt some yeast and touches of pine. The beer was a bit sweet with some honey and pines. The finish was boring and nearly tasteless. I liked the beer, but the anonymous finish was a let down.

There was not time for more beers this time around, but I will be back the next time I am in Oslo.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Grünerløkka Blues

Something has happened in Norway during the last few years. There is an interest in beers that go beyond the ordinary pale lagers, and many pubs and bars now have a decent selection of bottled beers. There has to be an interest for these beers among the guests, and I am happy to see beer menus expanding with more available beers than before. There is no mumbo jumbo doing this for any proprietor. They just have to buy the beers, and any bar owner can do it!

Myself, I rarely bother drinking bottled beer at a bar. Usually I can buy it myself and drink it at home. I prefer drinking draught beer. Therefore I like it when a bar expands and gets hold of more beer taps. It is also a treat when a pub gets a house beer brewed especially for itself.

I had an hour to myself before attending a meeting in Oslo. I chose to take the tram to the Grünerløkka district, as there are several interesting pubs there. Among them you can find two brewpubs and also some with house beers. I chose to visit Grünerløkka Brygghus. The pub's name tells that it is a brewpub. It is not. Grünerløkka Brygghus started up in 2010 aiming to be a brewpub, but so far only beers from outside the building have been available there. But they have house beers brewed for them by Nøgne Ø, and I really liked the Kjell Pop Single Hop I drank there last year. This time around there were no possibilities to check out the beers at Grünerløkka Brygghus. The pub was closed, and it would open a few hours later. OK, I thought. Then I will try Aku Aku Tiki Bar further down the road.

But no such luck. Aku Aku Tiki Bar was also closed. That was a shame, as I wanted to taste the house beer. It is a pale ale brewed by Nøgne Ø called Aku Aku Lemongrass Ale. It is only available a a draught beer, and it is a rather rare beer as this bar is one of the very few places to sell it. Two letdowns so far. Would there be more? Was I just way too early in the day to drink other draught beers than pale lagers from Ringnes and Frydenlund in this area of Oslo?

At the square further down the street I saw Parkteatret. Once this was a big cinema, but these days there are concerts there. The former lobby is now a bar. It has a great retro look with leather chairs and sofas. I enjoyed being there. And as a bonus there were interesting beers on tap!

I chose Dobbel Dose from Haandbryggeriet. This cloudy beer had barely any carbonation nor head. The nose was very fruity with lots of grapefruit. In the mouth sweetness and bitterness met in a great balance. I felt fruit cocktail and grapefruit before a partly bitter finish. This was lovely! A great beer.

Time was up. I rushed down the road to catch the next tram heading downtown. There was work to be done.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Belgian Dane

I found a bottle of Nørrebro Bryghus' Stuykman Wit at a local Vinmonopolet outlet and had to try it out.

In the glass it was cloudy with some carbonation. The nose was rather boring. I felt no aromas except for a touch of bananas. In the mouth bread and bananas had a dance with spices and Belgian yeast. The finish was fruity. I liked Stuykman Wit, but I prefer other wheat beers. For instance a Paulaner would have been great right then, and a bottle of Hoegaarden is usually a nice treat.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Time for Lundetangen

A supermarket I visited had a pale lager I have seen in Norwegian shops several times but never bothered tasting. That was not a good move, as Lundetangen Pilsnerøl was worth checking out. It is brewed by the Norwegian Aass brewery, by the way.

In the glass Lundetangen Pilsnerøl has the typical pale colour. There was nearly no carbonation nor head. In the nose I feel malts, grass and some sweetness. The beer tastes of honey and malts before a somewhat watery finish. I enjoyed this beer, although I would consider it an average pale lager beer.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Black Magic

The tiny 0.25 litre bottle smiled at me at the shelf at a Vinmonopolet outlet. It was tiny and had the most intriging label. I just had to buy a bottle of Kinn's Svartekunst.

The description on the label made me laugh. Svartekunst is supposed to be a foreign export double imperial russian export stout bitter. It also stated that the beer should be lagered until 2013. Then it would taste the best. OK. I get the idea. This is not another black IPA or dark pilsner. Or black kölsch, for that matter.

In the glass Svartekunst was a black beer with nearly no carbonaton and a medium sized head. In the nose I felt sweetness and some dark chocolate. The taste was of dark chocolate, coffee and some sweetness before a finish with bitter coffee and touches of the darkest chocolate ever. This was joined by an alcohol feeling with a spark of vodka. I liked this beer, but perhaps I drank it way too early?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Two different beers

Sol is a beer I have encountered several times, but it must have been at least ten years since I tasted it last time around. Recently, Sol was given an excellent distribution in Norwegian supermarkets, and the Mexican pale lager is to be found more or less everywhere.

In the glass, this was a very pale beer. Sol had some carbonation and a large head. The beer had aromas of sweetness, malts and cardboard. There was not much flavour from this beer. I felt some cardboard and grass before a watery finish. This was a boring beer.

The Danish Skand brewery has several interesting beers in its line-up. I found Esrum Kloster at a Vinmonopolet outlet. This is a beer with 7.5% alcohol, and it is supposed to be from a classic monastery beer recipe. In the glass, Esrum Kloster had a dark copper colour. It was nearly black. The beer had some carbonation and a small head. In the nose I felt cold coffee and some sweetness. The beer tasted of caramel and lots of spices and herbs. The spices and herbs were difficult to pinpoint. Some were sweet, and some felt a bit bitter. I liked the beer in the beginning, as I felt it was different. In the end I got bored of it, and I guess this is not a beer I will buy very often.