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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.