A crafty beer day in Aalborg

A crafty beer day in Aalborg

As a part time Dane, I go home to Denmark as often as I can. Arriving from Oslo to the northern harbor town of Frederikshavn, my natural impulse is to go straight for the train and up to my hometown of Skagen. But, sometimes, the lure of the rest of Denmark becomes to strong… That and the lure of craft beer and Aalborg!

Aalborg 1
One of my favorite buildings in Aalborg.

Aalborg is not a strange exotic place to most Norwegians, but rather the nearest, big enough, big town in our beloved Denmark. Here we go to soak in all that wonderful Danish feeling of freedom and hygge (coziness). Sure, prices aren’t what they used to be on most products, the Danish krone now making most of us look twice at the receipts, but we can still drink a few beers and think “see, this is how civilized people live” when we pay perhaps a bit more than we realize for a pint or a håndbajer (hand held bottle of beer). For me, Aalborg is perhaps my favorite big Danish city. Having lived in Copenhagen, I do love the place, but it can get a bit “much” sometimes. Aarhus, I think is well worth a visit, but not really a place I ever felt attached to. Aalborg however is the place we went to get a bit of a “Big City” break from tiny Skagen, and when Frederikshavn just doesn’t hack it (and when does it?). So I feel somehow, at home when I go there.

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Aalborg station.

Arriving at the wonderful train station in Aalborg, I usually go straight up towards Rantzhausgade. This is because I arrive quite early most times, and it is where I would shop craft beer. Used to, as the wonderful Ølkonsortiet now no longer exists. So I go to a nice place called Caféministeriet, where I tend to buy a sandwich, a big latte to go and sit down outside on the little square in front.

After this I will usually look up some sort of cultural site, like the city museum or go and sit in front of the wonderful cathedral and feel Danish life and civilization wash over me. It’s like I shake out those Norwegian cobwebs, my Danish tongue grows into place, and my accent starts singing and before I know it, I’ll talk to people in Aalborg with the comfort of a sometime Skawbo (as in, even more rural than the people of Aalborg). I love you Denmark!

Aalborg 7
Vinspecialisten A/S.

Well, I’m probably thirsty now, but in order to keep my cool a bit, I now go to Vingårdsgade and the excellent Vinspecialisten. Here they usually let me buy whatever I want and then allow me to leave my shopping there, thus minimizing the effort of having to schlep all that stuff around Aalborg, and not arriving in the shop tipsy ending up buying or rather, spending too much money.

They have a lot of the usual faire here, from Scandinavia, Europe and the states, which is great, but what I really like is how up to date they are with some of great, but not so “showy” Danish craft breweries like Amager, Det Lille Bryggeri and Ebeltoft, to name just a few. They know me when I arrive now, and often have a tip or two, which I love. Hey, I’m on holiday, let others do the thinking for me, right?

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Aalborg Cathedral.

Aalborg is the 4th largest city in Denmark. But it feels bigger in some ways, and more important. It was for a long time the 2nd biggest, far more important than Aarhus. But when Denmark lost Norway in 1814 it lost its status as main hub for trade up north. It has of course grown with industrialization but has also been passed in size by Aarhus and Odense. Like the two former, there are a lot of students here, so it feels and looks like a young city. Arriving by ferry from either Oslo or Gothenburg, Aalborg is only 1 hour and 10 minutes away by trains, leaving hourly from Frederikshavn. Arriving by ferry at Hirtshals the travel time is about the same. It takes just over a hour by train from Aarhus, there’s Aalborg airport as well. Train from Copenhagen takes about 4 hours and 20 minutes.
From Vingårdsgade, I now usually head due north towards the Limfjord Bridge.

Just two blocks before the bridge lies Borgergade and the one place I HAVE to visit when I am in Aalborg, The Wharf.

Aalborg 2
The Wharf in Borgergade.

The Wharf, at first glance may look like a Værthus, or an English pub, you can just about make out some football type… stuff, when on the outside you see a number of old style metal beer signs. One of them proudly proclaiming the words Limfjords Porter, the beer of beers from Aalborg. But this is not why you go here, you go here because this is Scandinavias only cask pub!

Look at the wall behind the bartender and you will see a long row of metal casks, some of them waiting, some of them open. Here you get a wonderful set of proper, CAMRA certified ales from mostly England, but sometimes Wales and Ireland, you get ciders like you had never left Blighty and sometimes they even have Perry. And even though it is a bit dry and sometimes burnt, you can even get a Cornish Pasty or a pie. I seriously get a tear in my eye just thinking of this place.

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Excellent beers at wonderful The Wharf.


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Smagsplanke at Søgaards.

I may have spent 3 hours here when I float through town towards my next destination. This usually means a 5-10-minute walk back towards the Cathedral and Obels plads. This is where Søgaards Bryghus is located. A restaurant, pub and brewery, is recently changed its looks to a more, old days, English/Irish pub place, even renaming the pub part. The Søgaards beers are nice, they go well with the burgers, and there’s even the bonus of drinking beers from a brewery called Two Face. These beers are a side project of the guys who brew Søgaards own beers. At one time there used to be a lot of beer from Beer Here as well, but now those das seem to be over. The square outside is wonderful and if the guys working there get a hint that you’re really keen on craft beer and seem to enjoy the beers they brew, well, you might get a taste of something a little extra?

UrbanA side note to this beer safari is the story behind what many consider the best beer in Denmark. Back in the day, when any town in Denmark of a proper size had a big brewery, they had Urban in Aalborg. It is long gone. Back in the days when all the mid-sized and bigger regional breweries consolidated and ended up being ‘Royal UniBrew’ the Urban name was lost to history. So, while Aarhus, Odense and Randers still “have” their Ceres, Albani and Thors pilsners, Aarhus has nothing. Or, rather, the kind of do have one beer. The regional brewery called Thisted snapped up the recipe for one wonderful beer, and this beer can be enjoyed right here in Aalborg where it once came from. That beer is the sublime Limfjords Porter.

Well, if you can keep up, it is time to cross the shopping streets and head east. Past the big shopping centre in the middle of the city, there lies a real Craft Beer bar. So real, it seems, when you walk down the steps and up to the bar, it feels not so much like Aalborg anymore as a small slice of Copenhagen.

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Plenty to choose from at Basement Beer Bar.

This is Basement Beer Bar in Løkkegade. Just check out Untappd, it is a verified site, beer list continuously updated and you can even fill up crowlers here. The beers are top notch Danish, Scandinavian and from much further away. A lovely place with a great atmosphere, this is where I usually end my Aalborg journey with a few small glasses of fine faire.

Now I have to walk all the way back to the bottle shop and pick up my beers before I get the train home to Skagen… Oh well, usually works out ok.

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Aalborg Beer Walk

In Aalborg they have their very own Beer Walk. You can pick up a taster glass and vouchers for 6 samples at several of the places I mentioned here, the visitor centre, and some of the hotels in town. Its 125 DKK. I did it once, mostly because I wanted the glass, I was going to the same places anyhow, but if you want to check out some of the other places in Aalborg, that’s fine. The only other places I really like going to are Wildebeest Gastropub around the corner from Basement Beer Bar and John Bull Pub Aalborg, who has some good stuff on tap and a well-stocked fridge.

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My imression of a beer-walk.

So, that was my Aalborg Beer Safari. Hope it inspires you to visit Aalborg.





Quick word on living in a nanny-state.

Might be a gift to you, but how dare you! Pay up you deviant!

Norway is a country populated by so-called Vikings. We pillage, we are rude, and we drink lots and lots of beer… Well, no.

We live in a state where the government wants to tell us what is good for us, and since it is bad for us to drink alcohol, they tax it beyond belief. We can brew beer, we are really god at it, but when we want to sell or buy it the state robs us blind. Because the know what is good for us. Buying a beer stronger than 4.7% ABV? You have to go to a state run shop for that. Want a beer with your dinner after eight in the evening on a weekday? Nope. A stronger beer after six? Nope. Buy some beers to bring home on a Sunday, perhaps after a working weekend? Nope.

What prompted this?

FocalMy friend Kasper in Denmark was a real mensch and sent me 3 beers from Denmark (the normal world). As you may know Heady Topper and Focal Banger from the Alchemist in Vermont are very sought after around the World, so he did me a solid and sent one of each, as well as a beer he brewed himself.

I know I had to pay some tax and some customs fee, but I had no idea it was this bad. For these 3 beers, one of them brewed by my friend and not sold commercially, I had to pay 456.- Norwegian Kroner! That is 58,- $ or 42,- £ I have to pay, because someone sent me a gift!

In addition, I could not pick up my beers from the post office at 4 in the afternoon on a Saturday because that is after the opening hours of the state run alcohol shops.

Someone made a beer and sent it to you from a different country? We must punish you!

So, this is what it is like to live in a nanny-state. I could go on about the politics, why we put up with it and all that, but there is no use. Either you are rich enough to cope with it or you move.

Oh, and Kasper? I am beholden to you!




Craft beer scene in Oslo spawns a monster!


Sorry about the dramatics. This is a blog about yet another brand new craft beer bar, not a command. The bar in question is called Brygg in Norwegian, which means Brew.

Artwork by Lars Fiske.
Why a monster you may say. Well, the reason I used the Morrissey tinged paragraph is the size of the place, and not that it demands toll as you cross its bridge or anything like that.

Lets start at the sorry beginning. In Oslo (Norway in case you were wondering) we have had and still have, right in the center of town, some streets and neighborhoods that have for years and years just, well, been there. No one really goes there, or they do, just to get to other places. An odd such street is the quite long Storgata.  One part, near the cathedral and central station had nothing, and the other end had lots, but its lots of what you don’t want.

Now there is a movement to ‘Make Storgata Great Again!’ and Brygg is the first part of this, at least in this end of the street.

Occupying a lovely building from 1901, Brygg has set its sights not just on the beer geeks and burgeoning brewer but the more casual beer drinker, the Friday night crowds and even the coffee drinker.


Outside seating facing Storgata.

Walking up towards the building, I cross the street and right away, you can tell that this is serious business. They have taken advantage of the quite broad sidewalk in front to establish a nice outside seating erea. Currently there are not a lot of traffic, the tramlines are rarely used these days, and mostly function as a short-cut when there is need to divert trams elsewhere, so the traffic in this end of Storgata isn’t too bad.


A handy guide on an handsome wall.
Entering through the doors, you see a big open space, which on the left is occupied by the coffee bar. This part of Brygg is the reason why it opens as early as 8 in the morning on weekdays. The design makes me think of several modern beer bars in Bruxelles. I love the exposed brick walls, and above both the coffee bar and the nearby downstairs beer bar are two halves of on massive brewery copper kettle donated by Ringnes Brewery. If this isn’t enough to convince you about the nature of this place, just walk up a couple of steps, or use the wheelchair friendly ramp, and on the right is the craft beer dominated bar, with the other half of the copper kettle and 30 odd tap lines.

Insert some joke about pot, kettle…
The rest of the downstairs have seating groups, open spaces where you can stand next to small tables to keep our  beer steady and a big set of stairs going up to the next level of this beer palace.

Before heading up this first time I was lucky to meet the general manager who I know from the Brewdog Bar and who told me about some of the features of this impressive place. Among these features are the artwork. It is consistent and all done by one artist, Lars Fiske, a Norwegian cartoonist and illustrator, who among many other things, draw for Aftenpostens weekend magazine.

Walking upstairs, you will see a lot more of what the place is about. There are two food counters right in front of you as you walk the last steps. These are not to be held by any one particular, it is going to be pop-ups. different types of food “stalls” getting to hold the place for some weeks or months, and then move on to someone else. Currently its Korean Hamburgers.

These doors lead to where the magic of brewing will be happening.
Moving further in you will see some glass doors. These lead to the Brewery rooms. Yes, Brygg is not just the name, it is what it is. You can rent rooms with brewing equipment, go to brewery classes, make your beer, they will store it until it is finished, and then they will even can it for you. So if you ever wanted to have a go at brewing but worried about throwing money away on brewing equipment that ends up in the basement along that bike you bought to “turn things around”, then this is the place for you!


The bottle bar.
Pass the doors, and the fridge with bottles of great beers, and you’ll reach the bottle bar. Here the idea is that you can buy things that are a bit more special perhaps, and it looks great, it really does. Mind you, I still can’t get passed the downstairs bar, so this is something for another day.

Rest of the upstairs area are set aside for people to sit and drink their beers, and to play. Here you have table tennis and petanque! Yes, pits where you can drink beer and throw heavy balls into sand. Ooo, as they say, la la!


Why I might not go upstairs very often.
I am at awe at this place. It is obviously a heaven on earth for beer geeks, and there are more and more of us, but it is all the other stuff. I can already tell it attracts the after work crowd, you really see all kinds of people here. Young, middle-aged, older, tourist already, and women. Not just your cool tattooed hipster or rockabilly chicks but regular girls out on a regular night out, and with enough wine and drinks here so the girls, and guys, who are scared of beer in general or anything other than lager in particular, can get their fill.

Several of the great people I have had beers with and or have talked about beers with over the past 6 or 7 years are working here, and it is really close to my job. So, chances are I’ll end up here more often than I should. And perhaps I will finally try my hand at brewing?

Brygg offers many an opportunity for a person who wants, somehow, to quench a thirst.


Cheers to amazing beer, people and times ahead!

Toot Toot!

Toot Toot!

Time to toot my own horn.

A while back a local craft beer brewery with some very talented people, asked yours truly if I would like to have a go at drawing a beer label for them.

The beer in question, a Imperial India Pale Ale, was going to be ready for sale in September and they wanted me to submit some ideas.

I was told the beer was made with Cryo Hops, which gave me the idea of a hop character being experimented on by another, demented Doctor Frankenstein type hop character, sucking every drop of essence and flavour from the poor hop.


Buying a beer with something I drew… A special experience!

So said, so done. Couple of weeks ago the  beer hit the shelves at Vinmonopolet here in Norway, and I am so happy and proud. It is the first time a design of mine is out there for everyone to see in a shop, and it is the first time I am involved in Craft Beer as something other than a drinker or onlooker.

Brewed by Little Brother Brewery, it is a wonderful beer. I could drink it again and again. It is just the style of beer I really love.

Hope it isn’t the last time I do something like this, but in any case, this has been a great moment in my life!

Thank you to Little Brother Brewery and everyone who have given me kind feedback.

Cheers everyone!

Crafty Openings

Crafty Openings

Say hello to our little friend. Oculus, yet another Craft Beer opening* in Oslo.


Getting to know you… Or use Untappd.
At the east end of down-town Oslo, lies the street formerly known as “shabby”, “pusher street” or “the kebab strip”. Now Torggata has lifted its head and become a street people seek out, and don’t just run through. Aside from the obvious reasons, lovely cobblestones, widened sidewalks, benches and a lot of clean new facades,  the new restaurants, shops, chain stores (sic) and not least Craft Beer have lifted this neighborhood to new heights.

They have really gone above and beyond in the signs and logo’s.
In a side street next to the old Torggata Bad, lies the entrance to the brightest new star in the Oslo craft beer scene, Oculus. Not a big bar, in size, but  witha lot of heart, go getting and knowledge of craft beer poured into the place, it punches way above its “weight”.

When the guys behind excellent Norwegian craft brewery Cervisiam saw that their plans for a big bar and/or brewery was being somewhat curtailed (by various local red tape spinners), they jumped at the opportunity when this smaller place became available. In what seemed like no time at all, Oculus opened and we were all very impressed.

The real “black stuff”!
The style of the place should come as no real surprise to a anyone who have tasted and not least seen Cervisiam beers. Cheeky, fun, stylish and a little bit rebellious, the bar has managed to squeeze in quite a lot of seats, but in a way that offers everyone a chance to get to know each other. The bar is impressive, concrete, and the 20 taps offer up an impressive list of beers from their own brewery, other Norwegian, Scandinavian and from much further afield as well. There is a fridge, filled with lots of good stuff, not least a very generous amount of sour beers. In fact, they promise to keep at least two taps set aside for sour and, and this is something I am excited about, have a keg pump as well, which I hope will see action very soon!

And then there’s lots and lots of Whiskey (which is wasted on me).

These guys don’t mess around, so of course the bar is a verified Untappd venue, with a flat screen menu, updated and really handy.

So, from the locality, right in “Craft Beer Strip, to the exposed brick wall and amazing neon sign, this place offers up a great local Craft Beer experience!

Looks like they want you to come on in
*Oculus is latin for opening or eye. See Parthenon.


No Messy Pipes!

No Messy Pipes!

Say hi to Oslo’s brand new craft beer temple!


Paul McCartney once released an album called ‘Press to play’. The name annoyed me a lot… How could I press play? It’s a vinyl album!

So what is in a name? In the middle of down-town Oslo there are a lot to entice a thirsty local or a vary traveler. Now there’s even more… Lots more.

Welcome to RØØR.

The place I want to tell you about is called ‘RØØR’. And yes, those are those “pesky” ‘Scandivigian’ letters everyone, apart from the Germans and perhaps French, get wrong. The letter that sounds like the U in ‘butter’ and yet, don’t. But wait, there are two Ø’s after each other, what is that?!? I dont know, but it looks cool.

What does this word mean then? Well, getting back to mr. McCartney, it sort of means the same as a song released by Wings once, namely, The Mess. Mess? An odd name for a brand new establishment you might say? Well, in Norwegian ears, it sounds charming. But wait, it means one more thing. In Norwegian rør also means ‘pipe’.

And now we get to the heart, or maybe arteries, of this brand new bar, all the pipes that lead wonderful craft beer from all over the world, from one end of the place to the long and beautiful, bar sporting… (Pause for effect) 60 taps!

Yes, you read correct, Røør offer you a whopping 60 taps to choose your drink from. Actually, that is not even quite true, there is an upstairs bar, and it holds another 10 taps,
so… do the math!

60 taplines of beery goodness. Look how pretty!

Røør is located near to most places in down-town Oslo. Just one short walk up from Karl Johans gate, near the parliament, national theater and the royal palace. You get 3 tramlines almost on the doorstep, and even a slightly legless person will make it up to the nearby metro station with energy to spare.

This is the brainchild of Andrè Sveløkken Lloyd. A man with a passion for not just serving and drinking great beer, wine and drinks, but finding it as well. It bodes well for this new bar considering how a new breed of drinking people have emerged over the past decade or so. The beer geek.

My very first beer at RØØR. Bootsy IIPA from Stigberget.

I am a beer geek. I’m not a hipster (I’m too fat and I can’t grow a beard), not a lager head, and therefore not a lager lout. I am not even a casual foodie. No, I am a beer geek, and for me, and a growing number of my kind, the big draw in going to a beer place like this, is the bars ability to get in new beers on a regular basis. Just like the best craft brewers spend a considerable time coming up with new beers to brew, the good beer bar owner will spend an equal amount of time hunting these down.

This is what I am sure we will get from André. He is dedicated to his craft. Running a bar where people get what they want, up to a point, and he gets to have a place that he wants.

So maybe you won’t get to order a shot of “something disgusting to get the evening started” or ask for a sample of the beer. Instead you can order some really wonderful beer and talk to the people who work behind the bar. People who are really passionate about what they do. And in no time at all, if you have a beer geek


like me around, you will find someone new to talk to as well.

Røør will not leave you hungry. On the wall underneath the stairs, you will see one of those old wall vending machines. From here you can choose between french style country food or chili con-carne in little bowls. The food will be delivered by the kitchen at Grand Café and Hot Hot Harmonica at Vippetangen.

A fine collection of beer in bottles and cans, as well as what to me looks like an impressive selection of wines. I love the way it is displayed in the room.

The upstairs I did not see during my first visit, it will open a bit later. In addition to the 10 taps and small bar there, you will be able to play games (shuffleboard).

I love beer and I love vinyl records. My kind of place.

I think you can tell that I am a fan of this place. The owner was kind enough to sit down with me for a chat during my first visit. We have talked before, he ran another place I sometimes go to drink beer, and I am really excited about his love for this new bar, beer, food and not least vinyl. It says a lot about the commitment of a man who brings his record collection to his bar.

After talking a bit longer than planned, he excuses himself, and leaves with his kids. I get into my beer and in no time at all, I am talking to people I know and strangers, and I feel right at home!

The awesome list of beers!


Lots of seating. I love the lighting and the posters of old adds. And of course, exposed brick walls.

Churchy Beer

Churchy Beer

Welcome to Håndverksølfestivalen, Oslo’s brand new Beer festival.


Oslo, June the 9th and 10th, on the left bank of Akerselva, a defunct church called Jakob Kirke, is being cordoned off to allow a lot of thirsty men, and quite a few equally thirsty women, spend some time and money on a lot of different craft beer.

Jakob Kirke.

A former parish church built in 1875, it lost its flock and was “demoted” in 1984. The Bishop of Oslo wanted it torn down, but it became a listed building instead, now living its life as a venue for music and other cultural activities, like drinking beer. I have actually been to beer tastings here before (A Christmas beer event), but still people reacted a little “old fashioned” when I told them where the festival was held.

When the event opens at 3 in the afternoon, I wander across the street, from a local bar, and I am greeted almost right away by people I know. Local beer nerds like myself, or bar owners, brewers and others who love beer have made their way to down town Oslo. I feel at home rght away, not least because I live in the same street.A brainchild of a couple local craft beer enthusiasts and Cafe Sara (a great place just across the street from this venue, where we local beer geeks go to constantly fill up on Norwegian and international craft beer), it is the first year  it is held, and hopefully it will gather enough momentum to go on for years to come. Not that I don’t enjoy going to Drammen or the backyard of Grunerløkka Brygghus, but it is nice to have a big beer festival in Oslo as well.

Thanks to good contacts, these guys were able to invite a large group of breweries, as well as importers, making the total of breweries, one way or another, reach some 50 in total, give or take.

A familiar sight to anyone at an outdoor festival in Scandinavia, the tent keeping you dry!

The festival itself got on to a great start, in part because of a lot of rain. So, not so great start perhaps to the promotors, but to me, as it gave me a chance to wander around and talk to various brewers and importers I know, without feeling stressed for time.

There were two big outdoor tents, as well as the stands inside the church itself. A healthy mix of local and breweries from further afield in Norway gave a very broad taste (pun intended) of what Norwegian craft brewers are up to these days.

Ølfestival2Foreign breweries were represented by some foreign guests, from the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and Italy, but more often by representatives of their Scandinavian importers. A real nice treat was having Dennis Vansant from Mikkeller’s sour beer bar in Copenhagen behind the Warpigs/Mikkeller stall. Always a great guy to meet over a glass of beer.

I think they managed to get the most out of the venue and the number of breweries and beers on hand. 25 Norwegian kroner for a chip, pretty much equals what you would pay for one taster, and is really the normality we have come to expect at a Norwegian beer festival, the prices being what they are in this country. Some of the stronger beers wrestled more chips out of you, or so I’m told.

The festival has been open a couple of hours. I keep losing track of my friend, we both know quite a lot of people here. I recently started drawing for some Australian boys and their bottle shop, and I might get one of my drawings on a beer bottle this fall. I try to be a bit of a “salesman” and show some of my drawings to people, hey, you never know, there might be someone who thinks its good, right? My feet are a bit wet now, it is quite muddy around the tents, and the rain won’t let up, and I am also starting to get hungry. All beer and no food as they say. I head over to the foodtruck. It smells of lovely meats, beans and salsa. Yeah, I’m sold!

Very pleased with the food on offer. Cafe Sara had a stall where they cooked BBQ (Burgers and hot-dogs etc.) and at least one of the food trucks in the city was on hand with some splendid Mexican style food. I say I am very pleased because I often find that beer festivals overcomplicate the food being served by insisting on having artisanal, gourmet junk food that costs too much and just doesn’t gel all that well with the whole process of drinking a lot of different beers.

I mentioned a church was involed, right?

Feeling quite stuffed now, the burrito was huge, I need something sour to cut through all the fat I just had. I head into the church where I know Dennis is serving sour beers from Mikkeller. Before I get that far the guys from Little Brother see me and offer me some of their lovely saison. I am asked to quickly draw one of my characters on the board above their self-styled stall. This is one they have built themselves, (it can be rented by people for private functions). We talk, and I grab some beers from next door Bostonian brewery Harpoon, say hi to the prettiest baby I think I have ever seen, and time flies again. I still haven’t gotten any sour beer from Dennis. I notice they are having problems hooking up the kegs over the the Mikkeller stall. I take a look after all, it’s only the Warpigs kegs that are being difficult, I get some lovely sour beers from Dennis, it is aaaall good!

Oslo is well represented at this festival. Schouskjelleren is here, as well as Little Brother, St. Halvard, Cervisiam and some smaller players as well as those brought by their distributors. It is a great time to be a beerlover from Oslo Town.

Cool guys wear cool jackets.

I leave the church again, so much beer! There’s supposed to be a Polish brewery here, but where is he? Or they… I keep asking around, no one is sure. Never mind, I have some great British beer… Mmmm… Human Cannonball from Magic Rock brewing, so good! I want more, no, I need to try other beers as well. Almost regret it right away, something from someone I have forgotten doesn’t sit well, one of the few beers poured in the grass today. It is getting crowded, but I move over the “Mjøderiet”. These guys are the first the brew mead in an organized way in Norway for centuries apparently. I am enjoying this sweet nectar of the gods when I spot a poster with a cute hedgehog. Browar Artezan I read, thinking “hey, sounds Polish?” I have found the Polish brewery! I quickly finish my mead and ask for their IPA. “One double Darek please!” It is a double IPA.

I have found the best beer of the festival.

Best beer of the festival.

Towards the end of the festival I am mostly talking to people I know, my friend left, I don’t know when. I feel really good, and I am having a splendid time when one of my brewery friends slaps a crew wrist-band on my arm, and I am told I can stay for the after party. I feel honored, and even happier. Later I am having a really good conversation with a really cool girl who draws for Aja, and I have no idea what time it is. One of the bouncers comes over and says “festival is closing” and I flash my new crew wristband and he promptly says “Oh, sorry”. Wow, this is what I must be like to be Sam Calgione or Mikkel Borg Bjergsø I think, before remembering where I am and not least WHO I am. Still, it felt really good!

I hung around for a while after, had some good beers and excellent conversations. All in all, this is perhaps my best beer festival experience. Helped in no small part by the fact that I live across the street.

It was a well planned and executed festival. I think they can be proud by the fact that they got this level of success on their first try. I really hope this festival is here to stay, and in that case, I can’t wait for next year!

As happy as a kid on a keg!

(Drawing by me M. Aastad)