Thursday, May 31, 2012

Back at Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri

Grünerløkka is the neighbourhood in Oslo where some of my favourite Norwegian beer bars can be found. At the southern end is Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri found close to the Nybrua tramstop. I called this brewpub the best Norwegian pub last year, and I still consider it like that. Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri is a charming beer hall with a great selection of draught beers both brewed at the premises and from leading craft breweries.

At this visit I concentrated on the brewpub's own beers. I started with Sonne IPA. The cloudy beer had barely any carbonation. It had a fruit aroma, and the beer tasted of bitter blood arange. The finish was fruity with a touch of toffee. I really liked this IPA.

I then went for a pale ale. Female Of The Species had a dominant grapefruit aroma. In the mouth I felt lemon and pine, and a sour touch made the beer a little bit more interesting. The finish was somewhat watery and average. I liked the beer, but perhaps I should have tried it before I drank the IPA?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Goose time

Earlier this month, Gaasa opened its doors in Oslo. The location is fine. It is in Storgata street in the city centre close to Oslo Central Station.  Gaasa will both sell beers brewed especially for the pub and selected beers from smaller and larger breweries. The premises looked like an apartment, and on the opening night that gave the place a party feeling. What seemed to be a student crowd looked to have a great evening mostly enjoying their Carlsberg from bottles or playing snooker in a separate room.

The bar was the centre of attention in the main room. Except for draught beers, it looked as if Gaasa had a fine selection in wines. Myself I wanted to try the house beer, and that was Gaasa IPA brewed by Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri.

Gaasa IPA was a cloudy beer with a medium sized head and no carbonation. In the nose I felt grapefruit, and the beer tasted of a balanced combination of citrus and grass. The finish was partly bitter, and I felt this was a fine IPA.

Then I decided to try out a Danish beer. Beer Here Kama Citra was a dark beer with nearly no carbonation nor head. In the mouth I felt coffee and some orange. The beeer tasted like a cocktail of coffee, citrus and grapes before a partly bitter finish with apples. This was a good and different beer.

I am not sure if I will be a frequent guest at Gaasa when I am in Oslo, but for the novelty it would be interesting to see how this place will turn out after a few months. So far I prefer other pubs to it, but if I am near the railway station I might take the time for a beer or two.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Reputation is not all

Kristiansand is one of Norway's more popular tourist cities. There is also a local group of beer enthusiasts, and they have their meetings at Patricks in Markens Gate street. Patricks has a great selection of beers both from draught and bottles, and a beer interested person visitin Kristiansand could do much worse than visiting the combined pub and restaurant. This is also a popular place in Kristiansand with an excellent position on the main street.

I visited Patricks last Summer and was not impressed. A combination of loud music and noisy guests made it more or less impossible to enjoy the place. The beer was great, but there were no possibilities to have an ordinary conversation. I was back this Spring and was disappointed once again. Patricks is unfortunately not to be recommended. I hope the owners will do somthing about it. They can for instance take an example from Schouskjelleren in Oslo and Henrik in Bergen: Cut out the music!

The rest of my evening was spent at Bakgården in Tollbodgaten street. This is a smaller place than Patricks, but at least it offers two Nøgne Ø beer taps. I liked the environment much better, and the ambience was calmer and much more interesting than at Patricks.

Nøgne Ø Citra IPA was a beer with a lot of lemon in the nose. It had a medium sized head and nearly no carbonation. In the mouth I felt spicy grapefruit with a finish where lemon and grapefruit had a great balance of sweet and sour. This was a lovely beer!

If you go to Kristiansand, check out Patricks. But you might find out that Bakgården is the better place to be for a few beers.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Alternative Aass

The Norwegian Aass brewery has several beers on the market. Among them are two beers brewed especially for communities in Norway. In Skien one could once find the Union brewery. These day the brewery is nothing but a memory, but Aass makes a version of a Union pale lager from Union's own recipe.

Union Sommerøl is one of those Norwegian pale lagers made especially for the Summer season. The beer had some carbonation and a large head. I felt malts and grass in the nose. The beer had a malty taste with some grains before a partly bitter finish. This was an average pale lager that will be fine to seafood like shrimps and crabs.

Aass Halling Pilsnerøl is a beer made by Aass for the Hallingdalen valley. It is another pale lager with a lot of carbonation and a medium sized head. I feel aromas of grains and grass. The beer is malty, but has a boring finish with some hops and cardboard. I felt this beer was boring.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A taste of Munich

Hofbräuhaus is one of Munich's tourist attractions. The beer hall in the city centre has existed for more than 400 years. Hofbräuhaus is also a brewery, which name is often shortened into HB. HB is also one of the dominant breweries at Oktoberfest.

At Munich airport this local beer is possible to get hold of. I found two HB beers at Dallmayr in terminal 2. I started with the wheat beer, HB Münchner Weisse.

HB Münchner Weisse was a cloudy beer with nearly no carbonation but with a medium sized head.In the nose I felt some banana, and the banana was assertive in the mouth with some touches of herbs and spices. The beer felt average and I found it a bit boring.

There was also time for a taste of one of HB's pale lager (or helles as the cute waittress told me). The one available was HB Hofbräu Original. This beer had some carbonation and a small head. There were nearly no aromas from the beer except for hints of malts. The beer tasted grains, apples and some hops. I felt it was a very balanced and tasty lager and enjoyed it a lot.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Nearly at the brewpub

Munich airport is one of the few airports with a brewpub. The Airbräu brewpub is based landside, and of what I understood from fellow passengers you would need to go through security to get to the pub. As I did not want to be in a situation where I did not catch my ongoing flight, I decided to skip Airbräu this time around.

Perhaps it was fate, but the first bar I found inside terminal 2 sold draught beer from Airbräu. I therefore sat down at the Käfer bistro ordering a glass of the available Airbräu beer, Kumulus.

Kumulus was a typical wheat beer. In the glass it was cloudy with a medium sized head and some carbonation. I felt banana and sweetness in the nose. The beer tasted from banana, a touch of sweetness and some herbs I could not pinpoint. The finish was watery with banana to the fore. I liked this weizen, but I was disappointed by the watery finish.

There was half an hour before I needed to be at the gate. I left Käfer in a good mood as I at least had found one draught beer brewed at the airport. Perhaps there were some beer gems to be found at other bars at the airport?


Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Carlsberg disappointment

The monitor told me that there had been a slight delay on my ongoing flight from Copenhagen airport. I decided to use the time to check out the beer selection at O'Learys. O'Learys is a chain of sport themes pubs that often can be found on airports and railway stations around Scandinavia.

From tap there were several choices from Carlsberg. I was not ready for a pale lager, so I would have to choose between Jacobsen Brown Ale and Carl's Special. I had never tried Carl's Special as a draught beer, so it was easy to order a taste of it.

The friendly bartender brought me a half litre of Carl's Special. In the nose there was malts and a touch of coffee. The beer had not that much taste. I felt some malts and burtness before a watery finish. This was a boring version of a beer that I felt was richer in taste when I tried it from bottle in 2010.

Copenhagen Airport is beerwise not that interesting. There used to be a bar selling Danish craft beers, but from what I hear it has been closed for some time. That is a pity, as there is more to Danish beers than what is produced by Carlsberg.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Another Easter beer

As I was walking around Copenhagen Airport, I found The Bar in terminal 3. The round shaped watering hole had two sets of beer taps, and the yellow chicken on one of the taps' plackards made me interested. As I took a closer look, I saw that the beer offered on that tap was Tuborg Påskebryg, an Easter beer.

Tuborg Påskebryg was a pale lager with a lot of carbonation and a medium sized head. In the nose I felt malts and sweetness with a touch of mints. The beer was fullbodied with some citrus and malts. The finish was malty with a touch of butterscotch. The beer was not that bad, actually, but I guess that the butterscotch tones might be a result of diacetyl infection.

It was time to find the gate where my flight was waiting. I left The Bar having ticked off a beer, but without having had the greatest beer experience.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Copenhagen stopover

There was time for at least one beer during my stopover at Copenhagen airport. As I went from one part of the airport to another, I saw that Eyecon bar in terminal 2 had Jacobsen draught beer. Jacobsen is Carlsberg's socalled craft beer label with several interesting beers. As I sat down on a bar stool I saw that Jacobsen Brown Ale was on offer from tap. As I had never tried that beer before, I ordered half a litre of it.

In the glass this was a nearly black beer with barely any carbonation nor head. In the nose I felt burnt malts and some caramel. The beer tasted of caramel, some sweetness and roasted nuts. The finish had hints of toffee and cold coffee. This was a very nice brown ale!

There was time for another beer, so I picked up my luggage and went on to see if there was another draught beer for me in the area. None of the Tuborg lagers available at Eyecon tempted me at that moment.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Back at the office

Kontoret's name is just clever. In English it means "the office", and they have a slogan that can be translated as the office being open for overtime work. As a beer bar, Kontoret is one of the better ones in Bergen. There are six beer taps, and some of them always offer beers from Ægir and other craft breweries.

Kontoret is part of a restaurant house that has a anniversary this Spring. To commemorate the anniversary, Kontoret offers a house beer at the moment. This is a kölsch brewed by Ægir.

Kontoret Jubileumsbrygg had a cloudy, pale colour. There was no carbonation and a small head. In the nose I felt some fruit, yeast and sourness. The taste was fruity with a touch of citrus before a finish with some grass and yeast. This was a nice beer, but I prefer beers in other styles than this.

At an earlier visit to Kontoret, I also tasted Mikkeler Cream Ale. This was a cloudy beer with no carbonation and barely a head. In the nose citrus took the lead, while the beer had lemon to the fore. The finish was watery and boring. I did not enjoy this beer.

Bergen now has three pubs serving house beers. That is a nice development. Although Henrik Imperial Amber is the best of the house beers, Kontoret Jubileumsbrygg is a fine beer. At Naboen you can drink Naboen Bayer and Naboen Bitter. The tasty bitter is brewed by Kinn, while the Bavarian styled beer is rumoured to be brewed by Aass. The waiters at Naboen do not want to disclose the brewery site, and that is stupid. Therefore I give my kudos to Kontoret and Henrik for being up front offering relevant consumer information.