The annual Norwegian championship in homebrewing took place in Kanonhallen at the eastside of Oslo on the 1st of February. There were approximately 100 contestants participating in the championship, serving their brews in hope of winning the prices (consisting of brewing barrels & giftcards for brewing equipment) and- perhaps more importantly, the audience’s attention and appreciation.
A large number of beer geeks of all kinds turned up to have their taste buds teased, with a wide range of different beers- being dominated by IPA’s (which in no way is a negative thing itself), but also beer categories such as several stouts, porters, bocks, pilsners, Belgian and even a couple of fruit beers… The latter ones particularly being much appreciated after the palate has gone numb from three majestic imperial stouts in a row. Luckily, some stands accompany their presentations with goodies like brownies, canapées, biscuits) to maximise the tastespectre.
The voting process has varied a bit from year to year, but the basic principle is still the same: The tasters gets 3 voting coins which they can give to the beers that they appreciate the most- if desired, all coins to one, or one coin to three individual beers. Inside the venue, there are buckets in which excess beer can be poured and glasses washed and rinsed (in addition to clear water, should need be).
The game is on by 18:30 to 22:00, and the hall’s curfew is 01:00. Amongst the contestants, were- in no (chronological) order: Neko Pico, Ring 3, Strand-øl, Puffin, Søylegården, Brættrei, Vlander, Kristiania haandbryggerlaug, Nedre Romerikes bryggerlag, Bryggolfs, Beer Brew crew, Spotted brewery, håndbryg.dk (Nicoline Leonhard), Amish (Wolfgang Eick) and many more. It is a high level of fun/comical touches to some of the contesters’ props at the stands, and some innovative beer names going on here (and believe it or not: The “Sheep Shagging Bastard IPA” does taste fantastic).
Some of the ones that stuck out the most, was Puffin’s “Imperial stout” (aged on portwine barrels), the 15% heavyweight (clone of Nøgne Ø’s Dark Horizon) “Deepwater Horizon” (served with a suiting delicious ice cream made with the aforementioned beer) and Brættrei’s “Raspberry with Brett”. However- it somehow feels almost unreasonable to pick out so few separately, as the level of the competition has reached such a high now- there are a lot of high quality brewing going on, which with little problems could have competed with what’s out on the market in Norway today. Having said that; There are still also some questionable beers going on- take for instance “Hot & godt” (which is recommended with a squeeze of lime)… Which – without saying it doesn’t work, tastes more like a cider to me.
The list of what I did try (there are some- that for some reason, is not included here):
Julebokk vellagret, Deepwater Horizon (Dark Horizon clone), Humlesnurr, Imperial stout (Ring 3), Hot og godt, Cookie Monster brown, Imperial stout (Puffin), Skumbag/Skumberry, Amish Rug IPA, India Brett Ale, Dansk kokos porter, Biere de Garde, Dansk NYPA, Dubbel (Vlander), Sheep Shagging Bastard and London Ale.
Can’t wait for the next year’s edition to come!
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