Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Norwegian Beer: Black Christmas

It looks like it is going to be a black Christmas. I am not referring to global warming, even though that is evident too.

Most of the Norwegian micro brews seems to have gone dark this Christmas. Understandably for the Julefnugg- literally Christmas (snow) flake- brewed by the Berentsens brewhouse in Egersund, the dark mainland of Norway ( a term used to describe the Bible Belt in Norway, probably stemming from the many missionaries leaving the area, bound for Livingstone's dark continent). Long journeys were incidentally the background also for the beer styles emerging this Christmas from the Norwegian microbreweries, the Imperial Stout or the Baltic Porter.

The new Christmas beers have got a somewhat mixed review with some critics claiming that the traditional Norwegian Christmas beers, more in the bock tradition, provide a better match to traditional, fat Norwegian Christmas food dishes like pork and lamb ribs.

The critics can be attacked on two grounds. First of all, the bock beers are not the most natural matches to the fatty dinner dishes in the first place. Second, to most people Christmas represents a two week long, non-stop eating orgie of everything digestable from ribs to sausages to nuts and chocolate and seven sorts of cakes. You need a great variety of beer styles to match that bill!

So all in all, a Black Christmas may not be such a bad dream. It may in fact be much better than a Weiss or even a Wit one.

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