Sunday 24 April 2011

I like beer, I like it a lot!

And since you're here I presume you also like beer a lot, so I guess we have a common interest now, interesting, let's be friends. My name is Haffy and I have to tell you I feel so lucky to be living in Stavanger, Norway. Every week when I wanna go out and have a beer, I can go to one of the top pubs in the world, that's right, one of the top pubs in the whole wide world. (Top 50 pubs in the world list) And what's the name of this holy place you ask? Cardinal. And Cardinal have more than 500 different types of beer at any time, and around 24 of them on tap. There's no dress code, the music is not too loud, and there's no kids allowed, (Age limit is 24) and in all the years I've been going there I have never witnessed a single fight. The bartenders are real nice, and they know beer. So when me and my band, yeah I'm a singer in a band called Upskirts, anyway, when we had a long night jamming out tunes in the rehearsal room, I can go to Cardinal after and chill out. Me so lucky....

So anyway, enough with the introduction. I was there yesterday with my good friend "Bongo", the ginger drummer of my band. And we had to have some beers you know. So let me introduce you to a brewery called "Southern Tier"...

This is Bongo, with a Southern Tier Gemini in his glass.
Southern Tier: In the west part of New York state (USA), just outside of Jamestown there a little village called Lakewood. And in 2002 two bad-asses started a brewery and named it Southern Tier, they bought all the equipment from a defunct brewery in Pittsfield. These guys liked their beer tasty and decided to do it their way, and gave the middle finger to the commercial mainstream (macro) beer industry. Now in 2011 they have 35 employees and distribute around 15.000.000 bottles of beer yearly. Every batch is carefully checked and tasted and I truly believe these guys have a huge pride in their business. So far they have made around 30 something different types of beers, ranging from IPA to Stouts. They have a bar there, with all their different types of beer on cask, and it's also possible to get a tour of the brewery. So if you're ever in that area, you know what to do...

Alright, back to my world, Cardinal, yesterday, me and Bongo and two bottles of Southern Tier. Flown all the way across the Atlantic Sea just to pleasure our throats. My first introduction with Southern Tier was their "IPA", as a IPA-lover this one did not impress me, so I wasn't too curious about the brewery cause I thought the IPA was pretty standard. That was until I noticed a new stout in Cardinal's beer menu, the "Crème brûlée Imperial Milk Stout". I bought it, and then... I wasn't not curious anymore, I wasn't curious, I wasn't interested, I was in LOVE, I was sold! These gems cost a pretty penny, and you have to be willing to pay around 250 NOK (50 bucks) for a bottle. (0,65l.) But when you are in love, who cares about the money? The "Crème brûlée Imperial Milk Stout" tasted like a piece of heaven, like dessert, like the best dessert you ever had in your whole life. If you like Rouge's Chocolate stout or Nøgne Ø's Dark Horizon 3rd edition I recommend this one for you. I'm not saying it taste anything like those two, but it's up there on my top 10 beer list. So anyway, Bongo went to the bar and came back with one bottle of Southern Tier Gemini & one bottle of  Un*Eartly Imperial IPA.

Let's start with "Southern Tier Gemeni":

65cl. with 10,5% of alcohol, it's a heavy motherf**ker to kick off the night with. This one will take you where you wanna go with rocket speed, and before you know it you'll be circling the earth like you're John Young, Buzz Aldrin, Yuri Gagarin, Laika or whatever. This is a perfect IPA (Indian Pale Ale), it's bitter, it's dry, it's hoppy, it's hardcore. Six different types of hops and four different types of malt ensures that there will be an explosion of taste in your mouth, and a big f**king smile on your face. It will also make it impossible for you to drink pilsner for the rest of the night. It's sweet, it's fruity, it's just marvellous and it's definitively worth the dough. You might get nervous over the price, but f**k that, this is three beers in one, drink it like you would drink a bottle of wine. Enjoy the smells, the taste and gorge. Best served at around 8 degrees Celsius, IPA should not be too cold like Pils. (Just saying)

Up next we got "Southern Tier Un*Eartly Imperial IPA":

Another 65 cl. this time at 11% of ko-ko power. At Southern Tier's homepage they say that "to underestimate Unearthly is to trifle with the mysteries of the universe". This bastard of a ale smelled like sweet caramel pudding and tasted like something out of this world. Hoppy as hell, but sweet and tasty like if the hops where grown inside of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. The brewery claims that this is their most aggressive beer and I have to say that I believe them. After one bottle of this crazy f**ker, I could have walked home and been happy with just the one. Off course I didn't, but you must not underestimate the power of this one. So far I have never tasted a bad ale with the words "Imperial" printed on the bottle and I believe I'll have to wait a long time before that happens. This one was darker than the Gemini, and it was with ease that I surrendered to the dark side of the IPA force. I have read that some people might think this one is "too much" but I only have one comment on that: "Too much is never enough"!

History lesson boys and girls:

I find myself enjoying this blogging so I will also tell you about our local brewery and about two of their special ales. But first some history. This is a dark story of a cold Norwegian town, called Stavanger. At the far west-coast of Norway, where it rains cats and dogs. One of the most godless and atheistic places in the world. A historic place where the first Norwegian king Harald Fairhair, crushed his rivals and made Norway into one kingdom, more than a thousand years ago. This Viking-king would undoubtedly be pleasured if he knew that in this town, where he defeated all the smaller kings, with steal in his hand and beer in his beard, that in this town, they would make a ale worthy of a king. Harald was the father of the infamous Erik Bloodaxe who killed five of his own brothers and still was made king by Harald. Erik conquered parts of England, and is probably still a part of the reason why Norwegians are internationally know as crazy drunks. In those days it was mandatory by law to brew beer. You could be declared as lawless and loose your land and farm if you didn't brew beer for the Yule celebration. (Third strike and you're fucked.) The Vikings believed that Odin himself had taught man to brew beer, so I can't stress enough on how important this tradition was in Norway. (And still is!) Come 2003, Stavanger found herself without a local brewery. Tou brewery had been around since 1855, until Ringnes decided to put the local brewery down. Ringnes is owned by the Carlsberg group. (The empire strikes back!) So then what? In the wake of this scandal, that led to local boycotts of all Ringnes products, a new brewery arose. Lervig Aktiebryggeri started up then and there in 2003, and to be honest it wasn't much to write home about. I heard a rumour that instead of trusting their brewmaster, the investors and main share owners decided how the beer should taste like. Is there's any truth in this, I don't know, but judging on the taste of their pilsner it's easy to believe so. But in 2010 American brewer Mike Murphy was hired, and he had plenty of experience from other breweries. Even though he is American, Mike looks like a real Viking, and he have awesome brewing skills, Odin would've been proud of him! This have led to that we now once again can be proud of our local beer and brewery. We have a world class brewer, and world class beers, made right here smack in the middle of Stavanger. The first new beer was "Lucky Jack", a fruity and tasty American Pale Ale, the first Lervig beer made by Mike, and a personal favourite of mine when I want to go for the lighter stuff. And for Cardinal Pub only, Mike made the Northwestern Premium Lager, also a delicious treat, now sold out. Then he made the "Winter wine", also made specially for Cardinal pub only. Early 2011 and another addition came to the Lervig family: The Winter ale, mmmmm. And now spring 2011 we got two new pleasurable drinks, and that brings us to...

Haffy with a Konrad's Stout from Lervig.
Lervig Aktiebryggeri Konrad's Stout:

Can't wait till this hit the shelves at the liquor store, I will be camping on the outside in a tent waiting for it's release. A dark Russian Imperial Stout, 35cl a bottle, hits your bloodstream at 10,4% of alcohol. Kaaaa-BOOM! It's brewed with pils malt, chocolate malt & caramel malt, two types of hops and you can really taste the chocolate through, yummy. Chocolate, coffee and smoke mixed deliciously into this juggernaut of an ale. Bitter, dry and pitch black, this is God and Satan in one. This is love or hate, but for those of us who wants the real deal and won't accept anything less, this is it! And this is for those who don't mind the 300 kcal per bottle. Thank you Lervig, thank you Mike! Now let's get drunk and die in the snow!!!

I am really enjoy saying this, but the next one up, is never gonna find it's way into your mouth, it's mine, my own, my precious, he he...

You can really see that all this strong shit is having an effect on me!
Lervig Aktiebryggeri Barley Wine:

When Mike made the Cardinal Winter Wine, he kept 800 liters for another experiment, and where did he hide this? In Bourbon Barrels! So what do we have here? Barley Wine aged in Bourbon Barrels for five months. What is Barley wine you said? I'll let wikipedia answer: "Barley wine is a beer style of strong ale originating in England. A barley wine typically reaches an alcohol strength of 8 to 12% by volume, it's called a barley wine because it can be as strong as wine; but since it is made from grain rather than fruit, it is, in fact, a beer." Hurray! So now that we've got that out of the way, let's get to the interesting parts, how was it? Mmmm, vanilla, caramel and bourbon, both in smell and taste. It's remarkably easy to drink, considering it's at a whopping 10%. I would recommend this for any fan of Bourbon, but sadly those who drink Bourbon usually don't find their way out of their glasses with Jack & Coke, ha ha, more for me! And best of all it's limited, this might have been my last one you know. But there's plenty of more out there to explore. I'm really excited about the new trend with micro-breweries. F**k macro-breweries and their corporate shitty beers. For more news about Mike, visit his blog here. More about Lervig go here.

Bongo with a bottle of hemp beer? Hight tide IPA from Port Brewery...
So other that that Bongo had a bottle of High Tide and I had a glass of Evil Twin Soft Dookie, both really nice, specially the Evil Twin which is a Danish Imperial Stout. A shot of Grappa was also consumed just to assure that we would have some kind of hangover.

This was episode one, forecast for the future, more beer, more blogging, if you read this, please leave a comment!



  1. Welcome to the worlds greatest hobby :D

  2. Great pic on your empty blog, add words! :)

  3. Eh, what? I links to, a few words there...?

  4. Hehe, nice, I went to a page with a pic of a guy smashing a wine bottle to his head! Now I can't find it anymore, anyways, will check out the blog...

  5. I just have to jump in here and brag about regularly going to 2 of the bars on that list - Hamilton's and Toronado in San Diego. In fact I live just 3 blocks from the latter...

  6. Thats cool man, I hope you know your lucky, cause I feel lucky about my pub! A couple of my favorite breweries are from your area, Stone & Port Brewing, I've also tried Alesmith... Good stuff!