Beer Culture

Stories about great beer from the countries that invented it.

Tag: Norway

Berentsens Sorte Får Stout

Listen, we’re beer lovers: we’ll accept just about any excuse for a special brew. Feel like putting out a beer for a public holiday (like our Czech Christmas beers)? Sounds like a great idea. Maybe it’s the anniversary of the founding of your brewery? We could always use more Fuller’s 1845. Or perhaps your country is hosting the 2008 World Championships in Sheep Shearing?

Wait. What?

At least that seems to be the reason why the Norwegian microbrewery Berentsens released its Sorte Får Stout last year. When sheep-shearing teams from around the world descended on the Norwegian town of Bjerkreim last autumn, they were met with far more than mere wool: a special dark beer, named after the local wild sheep, was brewed to celebrate the occasion.

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Two from Norway


One of beer’s most intriguing features is its sense of place, the idea that you can taste something from a certain region, even a highly specific location, and that each particular combination of sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami — as well as untold millions of individual flavors — only exists for a particular brew from a particular place. At least in Czech terms, this is considered to be true for Pilsner, though elsewhere “Pilsner,” “Pilsener” and “Pils” mean vastly different things. In Norway, it could be something like Rogalands Pils, from Egersund, in the south of the country, or Mack Arctic Beer, a lager from Tromsø, way up inside the Arctic Circle.

These two showed up here via Kjetil Haugland and Geir Taule, two Norwegian beer fans who brought some of the local goods with them on their recent trip to Prague. When someone asks “Have you ever seen this beer before?” while offering up a can from the world’s northernmost brewery, you pretty much jump at the chance to make a trade.

So if the true Pilsner is a reflection of a specific place in the Czech Republic, what do Pils beers from Norway taste like?

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