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?