Monday, 7 May 2012

Øl & Akevittmesse på Røde sjøhus i Stavanger 21.4.2012

Or... Beer & Aquavit Exhibition at Red Sea House in Stavanger 21.4.2012, since this blog is in English and not Norwegian...

Finally a BEER festival in my own town! Even the small town of Nærbø has one; of course Stavanger needs one too!

So the great breweries of Berentsens Brygghus, Lervig Aktiebryggeri & Nøgne Ø showed up, along with newcomers Sundbytunet. Also and maybe the best part was all the great home brewers present, Ølklekkeriet with Ivar Andre Ødegaard fronting and Gyldenlöwe Brygghus with Kim Odland, Boulder Brewery with Hege P. Ingebretsen & Aleksander Baustad, Villgjær with Atle Eikenes Hansen & Nils-Henrik Stokke and the excellent homebrew from the Bryggselv guys Erik Schønsee & Patrick Witte. Yes, I'm name dropping! Cardinal Pub & Bar moved parts of their staff and beers down to the exhibition and also served for Ægir Bryggeri who couldn't make it. A bunch of other suppliers and importers of booze and beer also showed up. There were also lectures held by Petter Nome (TV celebrity), Torkjell Berulfsen (TV celebrity) and Sigmund Melberg of Cardinal. The beer was good the aquavit was nice and we had an amazing time, this is exactly what Stavanger need! But lets categorize a bit and go through this part-by-part.

The night before! Foto: Erik Furulund

Where to begin, where to begin? What about the night before? Because this were kind of a heavy weekend for me. The night before my band Upskirts played a gig at a local festival and the whisky and the beer and backstage party and all that took its toll, so believe me it was no easy achievement to wake up early to go for beer and aquavit tasting. But still there I was 12:30 in the evening carrying a 125-kilo malt order from down the stairs at the sea house. Working up a sweat in the hot location already steaming with mashing and boiling from the home brewers. At 13:00 I had my first beer, a great way to kill a perfectly good hang over...

Always nice with some whisky after a show! Foto: Erik Furulund

The Breweries:

Us charming guys hanging out with Elsa!

Nøgne Ø: Elsa Haraldsdottir the sales manager of Nøgne Ø was representing Nøgne Ø this time. For me Nøgne Ø is the ultimate brewery in Norway and we were lucky enough to try some brand new beers: Among them the new Citrus Hystrix IPA that was developed with Norwegian Championship chef Trond Moi of the Bølgen & Moi restaurant. This is a Rye/Oats IPA brewed with tangerine juice and lime but still the first thing you taste is the massive Nelson Sauvin hops. Nelson is an awesome hop, and this was an awesome beer! The next one we tried was the new Imperial Rye Porter brewed as a collaboration beer with the American microbrewery Terrapin. This beer was so awesome that I've already ordered a case of it! Also important to remember is that Nøgne Ø have two new barrel aged beers: Imperial Stout Cognac Edition & Sunturnbrew Borbour Edition out now, great stuff! Nøgne Ø = Amazing!

Haffy and Kjetil with Bo from Lervig.

Lervig Aktiebryggeri: Charlie Magne Melhus & Bo Schiner introduced us a new beer, the Saison Du Soleil, a gastronomical beer breed with red peppercorn and American hops. What’s really cool about this in my eyes is that Lervig gives their other brewers a possibility to make recipes and be a part of a creative team. Mike Murphy has made some really good beers for Lervig and I really like that these other guys also get the opportunity! I was lucky enough to try this beer earlier the same week also and it’s a very special beer, and already on the second try it grew on me. I bet this beer would be great with some fatty fish! Lervig is really in the wind as we say in Norway, so watch out for these guys, I know that they're bound for greatness!

The Die By The Beer crew with Charlie from Lervig.

Berentsens Brygghus: Mr. Harald Berentsen showed up himself and he also brought a new beer, a brown ale called Skumringsøl, this is a 4,7% beer and that means you can find it in the shops! Whoo-Hoo! Berentsen is a great brewery, they make the best Christmas Ales in Norway, yeah them and Nøgne Ø! They also make a pilsner that don't taste awful and most don't do that! (But I don't really drink pilsners!) We're planning a visit there soon, (hopefully) so stay tuned! Yeah and they also make the best <4,7% stout in Norway! (Sorte Får)

My good friend Kim drinking Skumringsøl at the Berentsens stand.

Sundbytunet: Is a welcomed new addition to the Norwegian brewing scene, represented by owner Kjersti Sundby & the Swedish head brewer Frank Werme. I really liked their Emigrant IPA and even their pilsner was OK. But the most interesting thing was the aquavit brewed on 50/50 Kjellerpils & Juleale before added spices and stored on oak. As a snack they also served flatbread made with corn from the mash. Sundbytunet opened on the 11.11.11 so they're pretty fresh and I really want to pay them a visit, cause I'm impressed with their concept! A hotel, a restaurant, a brewery, a shop, man what don't these guys/gals do? I was planning to do an interview with them, but I think I want to save that until I have the time to visit them. Thumbs up and approval from me to you!


Ægir Bryggeri: Cardinal represented Ægir, and they also had an Aquavit. Ægir is a high quality brewery, and I'm looking forward to be able to visit them soon in Flom, I'm also looking forward to their Whisky and the beers stored on those casks again and so on. Since they weren’t there personally I don't really have much news to bring you!

Ægir Aquavit

Home brewers:

Erik from Bryggselv

Alright, that was the Breweries! But a bunch of home brewers were also there, and I tried a whole bunch of their beers, but it's harder for me to write about that because, well there where some beers and I've never heard of them before, the beers that is. Some of these guys also go to the same beer club as I do, but most of the time we try new commercial beers not homebrew! But judging by how tasty these home brews are we need to do something about that soon...


So anyways, I really liked all of them, that is Ølklekkeriet, Gyldenlöwe, Boulder Brewery & Bryggselv. The best beer was the Dogfish Head 120 Minutes IPA clone made by Bryggselv, a 20% ABV lunatic! Totally awesome, I recommended it to anyone who was somebody. Image wise the Villgjær guys really stood out, Indie rock glasses and semi dorky suits, but I don't really know what the deal was with giving out free popcorn, popcorn and beer that's like uhhhh, I don't know, wrong! Maybe I'm being prejudiced here? Their beers weren’t the best of the bunch either, but whatever! If your having fun, don't stop! I know I won't... 

Boulder Brewery

Cardinal Bar:

Sigtuna Beers at Cardinal stand.

Brought a lot less this time, than what they did on the Nærbø Festival last year, but that’s ok, I was happy to see three new beers I hadn't tried from Swedish Sigtuna and the Begian lambic/gueuze Gueuze Tilquin, awesomeness in bottle form! If you’re ever in Stavanger make sure you make a visit to Cardinal, 500+ beers and a great atmosphere, great service! Just smile and say your a beer geek!


The Lectures:

Sigmund Melberg

To be honest I planned to attend a lot more of these, but I had too much of a great time mingling, yes I said mingling, but I did catch Sigmund Melberg's lecture on how to taste beer. Sigmund is the author of the famous beer "bible" at Cardinal. He brought his own beer, the Sigmund’s Herbarium brewed at Lervig, a herbal/spiced beer, good stuff, and you should try it! Where you said? Cardinal! He also brought three other great beers and did a basic walkthrough on how to taste/drink beer, the lecture was filled with fun facts a witty remarks and I recommend it for any newbie if he does it again next year. As Petter Nome talked in the main hall, all the taps were turned off, buuuuu, Petter is great don't get me wrong, and I probably needed the break. Anyways he did his normal thing on beer tradition, drinking culture and history. I believe a lot of people learned a lot from it! The other lectures I didn't catch. But I really believe these things are great for anyone wanting to learn more about beer and alcoholic beverages, in this case Aquavit.

Petter Nome

At the end of the day, we used up the rest of our bongs trying different aquavits and talking to different suppliers, great stuff, I like! But I don't really think I have much more to add, Aquavit means water of life, it's spiced with dill and caraway, I like the ones stored in sherry casks with a "hint" of anis, but make up your own mind, just try a lot of different stuff, don't be afraid, you're not gonna waste your money. The end of the night was spent drinking beer with home brewers and the guys from the home brew shops at Cardinal, good times! Petit and Bryggselv was arguing on whom we should order from and everything went by fine, and the rest is as they say history!

Aquavit man!

Interview with the event manager: Svein Egil Meling

Before we finish this little tale and tell you all you have to show up next year, if there is one next year, we had some words with the event manager Svein Egil Meling:

Where did you get the idea for the Beer & Aquavit Event from and how long have you been working on this, tell us about the process?

The idea came after we arranged a Cognac event, and we asked the visitors if there were any interest for a Beer Event/Festival. I threw in Aquavit also after finding myself at the liquor store not knowing what to buy. I started working on this back in November 2011, because I really like both, especially to some traditional Norwegian food like Pinnekjøtt & Komle. I started by contacting Petter Nome from the Brewery Union & Drikkeglede, he helped me out with advice and contacts. I also spoke with Harald Berentsen from Berentsens Brygghus and Tom from Cardinal. Then we went ahead and contacted sponsors and so on.

Any troubles on the road...?

Yes, the beer business is a slow moving thing, we got lots better response from the Aquavit suppliers. The biggest challenge was that Vectura's new computer system didn't work, so we had delivery problems before the event. One supplier had to cancel due to this and some other had to get out on town and borrow products or buy them at Vinmonopolet.

Will this be a yearly thing...?

We hope so, it depends on the financial side of it, my job is working in the Event agency Høydepunkt. As it is now the financial side isn't more than it has to be, and if we only ran this kind of events we wouldn't survive too long. The advantage is that next time it will be a lot easier to market for visitors and suppliers. We might do a Beer and Whisky thing next time as many people like that combination.

We thank Svein for his response and sum up...

How did we think the event was? Could anything be better? Hmmm, I had an awesome time, and thought the event was great, something better? More breweries I guess, foreign, national, craft breweries, I would love that! And Whisky would be really interesting if it's not just a beer event. But am I complaining? No not at all, I had a great time and I will return next year if they arrange it again, and I will make sure all of you will know about it!

Here's a smiling Aquavit man for you!

- Haffy

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