BREW!

BREW!

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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

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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!

 

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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.

 

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Cheers to amazing beer, people and times ahead!
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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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!

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The awesome list of beers!

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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As happy as a kid on a keg!

(Drawing by me M. Aastad)

 

 

 

 

HAAND ØLFESTIVAL 2017

HAAND ØLFESTIVAL 2017

A quick review of Drammen’s beer pride.

 

   Well, it came and it went again, Haandbryggeriet in Drammen’s yearly beer festival. This, the 6th edition, was bigger than ever. Over 30 breweries attending, importers as well, and with a lot more room than before.

I wasn’t going to attend this year, not for any particular reason, but a friend of mine wanted to go, and that “somehow” sold me on the idea.

I attended the festival 2 years ago, the first at their new location, and wasn’t that happy with the experience. They erected a big event tent, quite spacious, but with the terrible weather and bad drainage, I got damp, the food got damp and my feet looked like they had been in the trenches for days after.

This year the Sun was out, but even better, they moved most of the drinking into a big factory building with high ceilings, hard flat floors and lots of room, which mean it never really got cramped in front of the stalls.

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Lots of room this year. And the floor was dry!
The breweries this year were a good mix of well-known Norwegian breweries, a couple of newbies, one or two of the usual from further afield, and some from countries we haven’t seen at a festival here before (far as I know).

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Irish Craftbeer.
I was so pleased to see the Irish in attendance, that I made that my first stop. The Púca Dry Hopped Leon Sour by the White Hag Brewing Company was a light, not too sour or tart thirst quencher, with a dry finish which left you wanting more.

From there on, I had Italian (Canediguerra), Belgian (Brasserie de la Senne), Norwegian (Hanndbryggeriet), English (Northern Monk), Polish (Browar Pinta) and Estonian (Sori Brewing). There was even a brewery from Russia, although only one beer was offered.

I also went across the yard where they had a section in a different building commited to sour beers. Some wonderful treats to be had there as well. Alvine and Norwegian Eik & Tid among those offering some lovely tart treats.

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A sour Pole.
Another fun first was seeing Hanndbryggeriets own pub. A good sized room in the brewery building. I wouldn’t mind having that as a refuge after a day of brewing!

All in all a really well organized, fun event, with a broad range of beers and breweries. There was even Mead (Norwegian Mjøderiet) something I think is overdue. Very pleased to see Norwegians get into our old traditions, Mjød (Mead) that is. You can check out the guys talking about their craft at the Real Ale Craft Beer channel on YouTube.

 

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Italians at the festival.
If I have one wish, request, for next year’s festival, it is more variety in food. The food was nice, don’t get me wrong, but a bit fidely and very pricey. 100 NOK for a hot dog, no matter how fancy it is, should be augmented by something cheaper and perhaps less artisanal. Yes, I said it, I wanted something slightly more “junk food” inspired at a craft beer festival! A quick burger or something Mexican would have been aces. Hey, you start dreaming of food when you write about beer!

I really hope the festival continues in this great shape in the years to come.

Skål!

Beers enjoyed by me at the festival:

The Púca Dry Hopped Lemon Sour by The White Hag Irish Brewing Company
Vienna Lager by CANEDIGUERRA
Jambe-de-Bois by Brasserie de la Senne
Raspberry Punch by Sori Brewing
Double Heathen by Northern Monk
La Prima by Matthias Muller Il Mastro Birraio
Murar by Kinn Bryggeri
Bryggerhuset – Tropical Red Ale by Aass
Nødingen by Nøgne Ø
Kongsberg Pale Ale by Kongsberg Bryggeri
Stone Go To IPA by Stone Brewing
Dama Bianca by Birrificio Hibu
Chain Reaction by Brouwerij Alvinne
Kriek Van Mortagne by Brouwerij Alvinne
Tindbic Vintage 2016 by HaandBryggeriet
Sitron IPA by HaandBryggeriet
Båtripa by HaandBryggeriet
Barrel Aged Brett Pale Ale by The White Hag Irish Brewing Company
Salty Dog by Bakunin Brewing Co
Mimer Alus by Närke Kulturbryggeri
Embuscade by La Nébuleuse
“Oink Oink” Thats the Sound of the Stig by Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri
Anniversary #01 by Brouwerij Kees
Ratatosk by Ægir Bryggeri
Lærdøl Sour Cherry Rye by Ægir Bryggeri
American IPA by CANEDIGUERRA
Foxie by Birrificio Hibu
Viva la wita! by Browar Pinta
Awanagana by Piccolo Birrificio
Oto Mata IPA by Browar Pinta
Kwas Jota by Browar Pinta
Black Boar by The White Hag Irish Brewing Company
HaandWit by HaandBryggeriet
Humlesus by HaandBryggeriet
Zinnebir by Brasserie de la Senne
Passionfruit Gose by Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri
Lacuna by Sori Brewing
Stirling by La Nébuleuse
Summer In Siam by Grünerløkka Brygghus
Beann Gulban Irish Heather Sour Ale by The White Hag Irish Brewing Company
Silver Branch by The White Hag Irish Brewing Company
Leaping Lena by Sori Brewing
Natt Imperial Porter by Ægir Bryggeri
Hylleblomst by Eiker Ølfabrikk

 

 

Aarhus Beer Safari

Aarhus Beer Safari

The time has come to catch up with the Danish Beer Revolution, in Denmark’s second city.

This March I decided to take a mini break, not to my home in Skagen, but instead head on south to Aarhus. Armed with an updated Aarhus Beer Safari on Foursquare, and the knowledge that quite a lot has happened since my last proper visit in 4 years ago, I stepped off the ferry from Oslo and headed for the train station in Frederikshavn.

It must be said, I have “tried” this a couple of times since 2013, and each time the lure of some great beer at the Wharf and good bottle shops have made me step off the train halfway, in Aalborg, but this time I was determined to go see Aarhus again!

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A familiar sight, Aarhus station.

As I have written before, I am a Norwegian Dane of sorts, and I have spent many years in Denmark, not least in my “hometown” Skagen, but also quite a bit elsewhere. 20 years ago I was a student at the European Film College in Ebeltoft, west of Aarhus, so we used to go into town quite often back then, but since then I have only briefly visited, Aarhus falling a bit between the two chairs of my home in Vendsyssel and the lure of Copenhagen.

My first destination in Aarhus would be the Aarhus Central Food Market at Skt Knuds Torv. One of many new features in this town since I was here last, it sports great food in a compact venue, and as a beer geek its major draw is the tiny, but well stocked Mikkeller Bottle Shop Aarhus. Size isn’t all as we know, and stepping back you get a great view of the entire stock, which consists of an impressive list of “Danish” Mikkeller beers as well as several beers from the new Mikkeller San Diego brewery. This was only my second exposure to these beers (After CBC in May 2016) so I spent most of my money on those. A friendly beer geek then informed me of other places I should go, and since my time in town was brief, I headed on to my next destination.

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A photo from the Central Food Market, I forgot to take one from the Mikkeller Bottle Shop.

 

Well, maybe not right away. It was still early, so I walked around parts of town I haven’t seen in years, and I must say, Aarhus, you are looking good! Could it be because you are European Capital of Culture this year? No, I know, you are a very young and vibrant city in any case, not least with your massive amount of students.

After checking out one of my favorite record shops (Badstue Rock) I went straight to the bar where I would have my first beers of the day.

Aarhus6Mig & Ølsnedkeren is located in Mejlgade, a short walk down from the Aarhus Cathedral. I didn’t know much about the place, I had done a general internet and Untappd sweep to see what was being drunk and where before my trip. Turns out the owner is also brewer and partner in a sort of a joint venture, where he runs the brewery Gamma Brewing which he sells alongside beer from Ølsnedkereren, a pub which also has a brewery in Copenhagen. He is the “Mig” or the “me” in the title.

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Mig og Ølsnedkeren. Cool and cozy at the same time!

Had some really nice beers from both breweries, both of which are new to me, and a great talk with the owner as well as other patrons who happened to come by while I was there. I learned new things about the beer scene here, and maybe they learned some things about Craft Beer in Norway as well.

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A cough and a beer at Risras.

My next stop is nearby, almost next door. Cafe Risras. I have been here before, quite a few times, when I went to school in Ebeltoft. It is a lovely place, they nearly always have beer from Ebeltoft these days, and it has lost none of its charm. However, a rare feature is the fact that you are allowed to smoke in here, and this is something I have lost my patience for. The Smoking Ban has changed a lot of our common mentalities, and I must say it is a bit of a shock really, when you open a door and walk into a wall of smoke! Don’t let this put you off though, as I said, great place, and they have Belgian beer on tap here, something I think is worth a bit of coughing. Briefly.

Aarhus15So, I kept on walking, and my next stop was yet another new destination since my last visit, the bottle shop FLASK. A tiny but well stocked shop, near to everything on the north side of Aarhus City, it keeps a good eye on Danish, Norwegian and Swedish beers, as well as a good selection of American and British. Well worth a visit and again, I had a good talk with a real beer enthusiast.

Aarhus8Just a few steps further down the same street lies the place I HAD to go to. Aarhus now has its very own FERMENTOREN bar. Yes, the near legendary bar in Vesterbro, Copenhagen, now has spawned a “twin” in Jutland. But this is quite a different twin. Not a basement bar like its namesake, it is a step up from street level, and a long and narrow bar. At the far end is a sizeable bar with 20 taps.

Rustic and cool, a real student place, it is beer heaven! When I was here they had quite a few beers from Ebeltoft, something I appreciate. Spent quite a bit of my precious time here, and I can tell you, this place tops all the other reasons you should go to Aarhus on a beer safari. Once again, great staff, friendly locals, easy to get talking about beer from here and there and just a good atmosphere all around.

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Lovely beers and a splendid time at Fermentoren Aarhus.

Not a lot of time left before I had to catch my train up north to Skagen, I walked briskly across town and through the train station and a somewhat confusing mall, until I found Jægergårdsgade and my final destination, Mikkeller Bar Aarhus.

I have now been to a few of these, Viktoriagade, Nørrebro, the closed Stockholm bar, as well as their “cousin” bars, Brus in Nørrebro and Oslo, and I know what to expect. Great Danish interior design, amazing Mikkeller, To Øl and other beers as well, and always, a great staff. The place is quite small, but less of a maze than the one in Viktoriagade, so it actually feels quite roomy. I was a bit unlucky, had I come the day after, i would have been there for a Warpigs tap-takeover with one of the brewers, but you know, you can’t have it all. Anyhow, it can be good to see places like this during their “normal” day-to-day operations as well, not least in order to reach the bar!

Once again, had some splendid beers, and I could have stayed a long time, but the train was leaving and I wanted to get back home at a relatively sobering time.

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As always, great beer, quality and staff at a Mikkeller bar!

One or two places I had to give a miss this time, but I think it is safe to say that Aarhus has taken a HUGE leap up the ladder, as a city to visit for any beer geek out there. The city is of course much smaller than Copenhagen, so you don’t really have to give parts of it a miss. In Copenhagen you might spend one day in Vesterbro and end up visiting more beer haunts than in all of Aarhus, but the day after you have as many if not more places you HAVE to check out in Nørrebro, and further afield as well. In Aarhus you get a good sized city, with all that you need, and you will not feel cheated.

Hope to see you again soon Aarhus!

Beers I enjoyed on my trip:

Gose: Brøggeren
Karl Smart IPA: Ølsnedkeren
Hop Sweat IPA: Gamma Brewing
Corsendonk Bruin: Brouwerij Corsendonk
Lust For Life: Ebeltoft Gårdbryggeri
01|27 – Saison – Beetroot & Fennel: Brew By Numbers
Deez Nuts: Fermentoren
Amanita: Gamma Brewing
Apassionada: Edge Brewing
Jægerbrown: Mikkeller
Overlord’s Revenge: 18th street brewery
Lizard of Koz: Founders Brewing
Dork Squad: Bagby Beer Company

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Enjoying a Hop Sweat IPA from Gamma at my home in Skagen on a growler from Norwegian bottle-shop Growleriet.