Saturday, July 15, 2006


Wheat Beer Days

It is a sunny evening in the Norwegian capital, and with temperatures in the high 20s, it is time to look for some thirst-quenching beers. Honeymoon translates into Norwegian "wheat bread days", but for these worriless summer evenings (at least in our latitudes) I would rather have some wheat beers.

Days like these are not that common here up north, so it is only appropriate to celebrate with some rare wheat beers. The candidates are from left to right: Gueuze de Nivelles, Blanche des Honnelles, HaandBryggeriet Weizenbock and Atna hveteøl (Weissbier)- two representatives from Belgium and two locals- though the latter are German in style.

A real oude geuze must consist of at least 30 per cent wheat- that follows from the legal definition of a lambik. Gueuze de Nivelles is an experimental brew from the small brewery La Brasserie Du Brabant, situated in the Wallonian part of Brabant (unlike the major geuze makers, which are in the Flemish part, more specifically Pajottenland). It is a spontaneously refermented top fermented beer- cheers to Belgian originality!

The l'Abbaye des Rocs is one of my favourite Wallonian brewers, and their twist is a Dubbel Wit. Not that the 6% ABV of their Blanche des Honnelles is anything spectacular in Belgian context anyway. Ratebeerians seem to rate it among the top Belgian wits, though.

We had to wait a while before the Weizenbock from the Norwegian Haandbryggeriet (as opposed to the Danish micro with the same name) appeared in the state liquor store shelves. Traditionally an early spring beer to keep people nourished during Lent, this Weizenbock did not become widely available until very recently. In secular Scandinavia there should be no reason to wait until next Lent to enjoy it.

And finally a brew from another Norwegian microbrewery that kept us waiting, the Atna brewery. Despite Norwegian nationalist rhetoric on the label, it is the inside of the bottle that counts, and that is definitely a Bavarian Weisse with its strong banana aroma and flavour.

The wheat beer days are here to enjoy! Not to mention the exceptional wit (or weiss) nights!

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