Monday, April 30, 2012

Henrik's house beer

With 44 beer taps, Henrik in Bergen is the leading beer bar in Norway at the moment. In addition to all these draught beers, Henrik also offers bottled beers. But there is a new treat at Henrik. The pub now offers a house beer. Henrik Imperial Amber is brewed by Lervig in Stavanger, and it is only sold at Henrik.

In the glass Henrik Imperial Amber is a copper coloured beer with a medium sized head and barely any carbonation. In the nose I feel burnt malts and some caramel. The beer tastes of toffee, some fruits I can not specify and a touch of coffee. The finish is partly bitter with a touch of raisins. This is a very good and balanced beer, and it hides its 8% alcohol very nicely. If you are in Bergen, I advice you to visit Henrik just to try this house beer.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Unspecified beer

Trondhjem Mikrobryggeri is a place I return to whenever I visit Trondheim. The brewpub in the city centre has an atmosphere that I like in the afternoons. In the evenings it gets crowded and noisy, and I do not find it very enjoyable.

I come to Trondhjem Mikrobryggeri for the beers. All of them are brewed on the premises, but not all of them are that interesting. During my recent visit I tasted myself through some of the beers on the regular beer menu, and among them the IPA and the pale ale were my favourites.

There is always a sesasonal offer on the beer menu. This time it was a beer called Global Warming. I asked the waiter which beer style Global Warming was. He did not answer my question, prefering to explain me how the beer tasted.

In the glass Global Warming was a clouded beer with some carbonation and a small head. I felt hops and citrus in the nose. In the mouth there was hops, honey, some caramel and sweetness before a finish that was more or less only toffee. This was a lovely beer that I really enjoyed. Keep up the good work, brewmaster!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Neighbourhood treat

The most interesting beer place in Trondheim is Den gode nabo, which means "the good neighbour" in English. The combined restaurant and pub has an excellent selection of draught beers, combining both the local macro lager, interesting Norwegian micro breweries and exciting import beers. In addition to these there are several offers of bottled beers.

During my short visit, I saw that Den gode nabo had a draught beer from Kinn brewery that I had not tasted before. According to the waiter, Kinn Prestesonen was a porter.

I was served the Kinn beer in a branded glass. Prestesonen (translated into English as "son of the preacher man") was a black beer without carbonation and a small head. I felt coffee in the nose, and the coffee took the lead in the mouth with some toffee. The finish was a combination of coffee, malts and a touch of vodka. This was an excellent beer, and I really enjoyed it.

I went into the Trondheim evening promising myself to be back. This is one of the better beer temples in Norway, and a short visit does not give any respect to Den gode nabo. This is a place for multiple beers!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Trondheim's lager

Sure, pale lager is Norway's favourite beer, and it is what you will get if you order "øl" at any Norwegian bar or restaurant.

While visiting Trondheim recently, I had the possibility of trying out the local pale lager fra E. C. Dahls from can. I did, and Dahls Pils was a pale beer with some carbonation and a large head. The beer had aromas of sweetness and malts. I felt it tasted of malts and yeast. This was a boring, average pale lager that is not among my favourites of it's style.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Another IPA

Drinking beer in Bergen is enjoyable these days. There are several good beer bars, and most of them can offer interesting draught beers. Henrik is now the leader of the crowd with 44 beer taps. Baran used to be the local tap race leader, but the current 18 taps are not that bad. Among them you can find beers from Norwegian craft breweries and exciting import beers.

I recently visited Baran and found that they had Crooked Tree IPA from the American Dark Horse brewery. As I am fond of IPAs and Crooked Tree was a new acquaintance, I chose that beer. In the nose I felt some grapefruit and pineapple. The beer tasted of fruit coctail with assertive pineapple and a touch of pine. The finish was partly bitter, and in all I felt this was just an average IPA. I would prefer Norwegian IPAs like Kinn Vestkyst, Ægir IPA or one of Nøgne Ø's IPAs compared to Dark Horse Crooked Tree.

Nevertheless, Baran is always worth a visit while in Bergen for a beer enthusiast. And there is more to come! It is rumoured that Baran will start brewing their own beers soon. That will be interesting, as the management show great knowledge in beers and beer styles.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Two Drammeners (and a Drammen beer festival)

The city of Drammen is home to two Norwegian breweries. Aass is the traditional, local macro brewery, while Haandbryggeriet is the newer craft brewery. The first weekend of May 2012, Drammen will be the arena for Norway's first craft beer festival. Haandbryggeriet is the arranger, and Aass will be one of the guest breweries attending. Among the other guest breweries you can find Alvinne and Rulles of Belgium, Magic Rock of the UK, De Molen and Emelisse from the Netherlands, Närke of Sweden, Loverbeer of Italy in addition to Kinn and Nøgne Ø from Norway.

But back to Aass and Haandbryggeriet. Both breweries have extensive beer line-ups. Aass is going the traditional route in Norway with various pale lagers as the main focus of their product line. In addition to these, they have a gourmet line including a stout, a pale ale and a weizen. Most bigger breweries in Norway also make a beer in the Bavarian style, and Aass is no exception.

In the glass Aass Bayer is a copper coloured beer with some carbonation and a large head. In the nose there is a combination of burnt malts and some caramel. In the mouth I feel some toffee, sweetness and some burnt tones. The finish is watery and nearly anonymous. This was an inoffensive Bavarian beer that I felt was just average. In Norway I prefer Frydenlund Bayer if I will drink a beer in the Bavarian style.

Haandbryggeriet is one of Norway's experimental breweries. I am especially fond of the brewery's beers Pale Ale and Dobbel Dose, but there are also other gems in the product line. One of them is the Fyr & Flamme IPA. I have tried this beer earlier this year as a draught beer, and I felt that the beer was enjoyable.

From bottle Fyr & Flamme has a cloudy brownish colour. The beer has barely any carbonation, but there is a medium large head. I feel aromas of fruit cocktail, wood and yeast. In the mouth there is fruit and a lot of hops. The finish is partly bitter with a touch of tutti frutti chewing gum. This was a nice beer, but I feel it was better as a draught beer.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A taste of Easter

While there are a lot of Norwegian breweries making Christmas beers, there are not that many making beers for Easter. Sure, when I read other beer blogs and read Facebook posts, I see that there are some beers available. But most of them are either sold out or they have a lousy distribution.

I had a search for Easter beers in Bergen last Saturday. After visiting the better stocked Vinmonopolet outlets, the better supermarkets and some of the city's beer bars I had to make a conclusion. This year's Easter beers might be available for a selected few beer tickers, but not for the average Norwegian beer drinker.

By mistake I found one Easter beer while not looking for one. Ægir's Påskesol was available at a Meny supermarket. The beer had a best before date in 2014, so I believe this is a batch made for this Easter. In the glass Ægir Påskesol was a cloudy beer with some carbonation and a large head. In the nose I felt sweetness and some yeast. The beer had an assertive touch of Belgian yeast, some wheat and fruit cocktail before a rather anonymous finish with some tutti frutti chewing gum.

Sure, Påskesol is just another of those average beers that you would like to try again now and then but rarely bother. With a price tag of nearly 60 NOK for 0.5 litres I would rather buy something else. I could get two bottles of Lervig's Lucky Jack pale ale at the same price, or perhaps I should fork out less than an additional tenner to buy Ægir's IPA? Both are more interesting Norwegian beers, the way I see it.