Hunting out Oslo’s best craft beer bars

After visiting Bergen and travelling via train across the mountains, we ended up in Oslo. Like Bergen, the beer is expensive but there are considerably more places selling craft beer in Norway’s capital city to check out. We spent four nights in the city in total and managed to work  our way through quite a few of Oslo’s beer bars visiting everywhere from cosy local bars to microbreweries to a well-known Scottish chain, so here’s a guide to some of them.

Tilt

Craft beer in Tilt, Oslo

Beer and pinball – what’s not to love? Tilt is a fun and lively bar located in the Grünerløkka area of Oslo with 19 beers available on tap including options from Norway, Europe and the USA. It wasn’t the best beer selection out of all the bars we visited, but it was a great place to spend some time. Shuffleboard is free although you have to put your name on a waiting list at the bar and to use the pinball and video game machines, you need to swap your cash for some tokens (also at the bar).

Tilt Oslo

Excuse the terrible lowlight image

Torggata 16 – tiltoslo.no

BD57 aka Brewdog Grünerløkka

BD57 Oslo/Brewdog Grunerlokka

Generally, I’d avoid visiting Brewdog bars abroad as I prefer to try local places but it was a busy Saturday night and we couldn’t get into somewhere else we wanted to try as I didn’t have any ID on me (never thought I’d get ID’d at the age of 29) so we decided to give it a go.

From the outside, it’s not as overtly ‘brand Brewdog’ as their other bars as there are no signs apart from some advertising the menu and events in the window – in fact, I only spotted it because I could see the ‘Craft beer for the people’ sign they seem to have in all their bars through the window.

I was impressed with the range – lots of Norwegian breweries on offer (as well as Cantillon!) across 20 taps and if you like the novelty factor, the Dead Pony Club was dispensed through the moose’s head. There were also plenty of bottles of tap water and glasses provided on the bar for you to help yourself to which is always a plus to me.

Markveien 57 – bd57.no

Cafe Fiasco

Cafe Fiasco, Oslo

Located close to Oslo’s main train station, we stumbled across this place after checking out on Google Maps what was nearby. It’s not a huge venue and when you walk in, you’re pretty much stood at the bar. The beer choices are all on a monitor screen and pulled in from Untappd and it also had the novelty factor that if you checked in while in there your face would come up on the bottom of the screen. Not the most exciting range but still some decent Norwegian beer available.

Schweigaards gate 4 – fiasco.no

Oslo Mikrobryggeri

Oslo Mikrobryggeri

One of Oslo’s numerous brewpubs, Oslo Mikrobryggeri was founded in 1989 and has quite a traditional look. The bar had one quirk I spotted – it has adapted handpumps which actually dispense beer on keg (don’t tell CAMRA…).

Oslo Mikrobryggeri

It had quite a distinctive layout with the green-tiled bar filling the centre of the room with booths to one side and tables along the other two so even if it looks busy from outside, there’s probably more space available.

Oslo Mikrobryggeri

Nice atmosphere although a fair bit away from most of the other craft beer pubs in Oslo – we visited on our way back from Vigeland Sculpture Park but didn’t have chance to return.

Bogstadveien 6 – omb.no

Amundsen Bryggeri

Amundsen Bryggeri, Oslo

This was one of our favourites in Oslo and we visited a couple of times. It’s a gastropub with its own brewery so it does attract a diverse crowd of a various ages and it’s got a fun, lively atmosphere although it can get very busy on weekend evenings (it also shows football but the sound was off).

Amundsen Bryggeri, Oslo

My highlight was the Brussels Beer Project collab Hoptropic and there are plenty of other beers from their range of tap as well as a couple of guest beers. There’s also an extensive bottle menu with beer from across the globe available.

Stortingsgata 20 – amundsenbryggeri.no

Dr Jekyll’s Pub

Dr Jekyll's Pub, Oslo Dr Jekyll's Pub, Oslo

Part sports bar but not in the horrendous tacky way, Dr Jekyll’s Pub seems to be more of a whisky bar but it did have a decent bottle list and the fella working on the bar was very keen to help us find something we wanted. Quite compact where we were sat on the ground floor but it does have a second floor below ground and a terrace out back.

Klingenberggata 4 – jekylls.no

Crowbar & Bryggeri

Crowbar, Oslo

This wouldn’t have been out of place in Manchester’s Northern Quarter with its industrial look and relaxed atmosphere. It’s huge – there’s plenty of seating downstairs and even more on the first floor (which is where the kitchen is too).

Crowbar beer list, Oslo

It features a fairly extensive range of beer on offer including plenty of their own and some interesting guest beers, but it was quite quiet when we popped in.

Torggata 32 – crowbryggeri.com

Café Sara

Cafe Sara, Oslo

This seems to be a popular place for food, so we visited for dinner one evening as well as another visit for drinks.  It’s bigger than it looks initially as there is a second room through the back (as well as a small terrace) and felt very much like a neighbourhood bar.

Cafe Sara, Oslo

A good range of beer was on offer – during our visit it was mainly high ABV stuff such as imp stouts and DIPAs available. The food was also good value for money – we had a pizza each and it wasn’t too pricey for Norway.

As well as having good beer, the staff at Cafe Sara were welcoming and the food was hearty so it’s one not to miss.

Hausmanns gate 29 – cafesara.no

Gaasa

Gaasa, Oslo

Gaasa (which I assume means goose in Norwegian based on the sign and goose lamp on the bar) has more of a locals’ pub vibe and although it didn’t have the widest beer selection, it was an enjoyable place to visit – which was no doubt helped by a friendly dog that came and sat with us!

Beer and wine at Gaasa, Oslo

There’s two rooms – one with the bar in and another with a pool table – as well as a fairly large outdoor seating area out the front.

Gaasa, Oslo

A couple of beers were available on draft and there were a few bottles on offer too, and there was a wide range of wine too if that’s your thing.

Storgata 36 B – gaasa.no

Growleriet

Growleriet Oslo

Due to Norway’s alcohol laws, most alcohol can only be sold in the government-owned Vinmonopolet stores and as a result of this, I’d assumed that you wouldn’t find bottle shops in the country. However, Oslo does have one – Growleriet. It’s located in the Grünerløkka area of the city and can only sell beer which is less than 4.7%, just like the country’s supermarkets. As the name suggests, they also do growler fills but you’re unable to drink on the premises.

Growleriet bottle shop, Oslo  Growleriet, Oslo

I feel it’s more aimed at locals as although there is some Norwegian beer available, the majority of the range comes from elsewhere (including plenty from the UK), but the chap in the store was friendly and helpful and went away with some local beer we’d not seen elsewhere as well as a glass.

Seilduksgata 26 – facebook.com/growleriet

Grünerløkka Brygghus

Grunerlokka Brygghus

A traditional looking bar, Grünerløkka Brygghus is decorated with dark furniture and English bar memorabilia.

Grunerlokka Brygghus

We visited in the afternoon so it was fairly quiet with only us, another couple and an older chap in there at that time so we didn’t really get a feel for the atmosphere but it’s a nice looking bar if you’re in the area.

Grunerlokka Brygghus

Thorvald Meyers gate 30B – facebook.com/grunerlokkabrygghus

Handverkerstuene

Handverkerstuene, Oslo

A large beer hall, Handverkerstuene is a very welcoming spot with whitewashed walls, beams on the ceiling and atmospheric lighting.

Handverkerstuene, Oslo

We’d accidentally wandered into an event – it seemed to be a paired dinner with two breweries competing to see which beer went best with the food but as it was all in Norwegian we had no idea what was going on so we just had the one in there, but I would’ve liked to visited again to experience it on a normal day.

Handverkerstuene, Oslo

A guide to the event we accidentally went to at Handverkerstuene, Oslo

Rosenkrantz’ gate 7 – www.hvks.no

Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri

Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri

Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri was my favourite bar in Oslo and worth the effort it took to find it! It’s not the most obvious entrance as it’s only a small door in a courtyard leading the way down to the subterranean bar and brewery.

Outside view of Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri

Tucked away inside bricked vaults with a large open fire, it’s such a cosy spot that I would’ve loved it anyway but the excellent beer is what really made it stand out.

Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri

The highlight was the Imperial Roasty Roast and I also really liked the collab with 7fjells named Carolina’s Creeper.  The bottle list was also excellent – and I was very tempted to go for Omnipollo’s Noa but, being Norway, it was even more expensive than it usually is so we went for Brussels Beer Project’s Orange is the New Black instead. Well worth seeking this place out.

Trondheimsveien 2 – schouskjelleren.no

 

Looking for more info on Oslo? See my guide to the best things to do in Oslo on my travel blog. 

Craft beer in Bergen, Norway

Norway may not seem like the most obvious place for a holiday filled with beer due to its well-documented high alcohol prices, but we didn’t let that stop us. Yes, it’s expensive but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit and if you stick to smaller drinks and are prepared to only go out for a couple, it’s not going to totally break the bank. Here’s a little look at where to buy and drink craft beer in Bergen.

On the flight

One of the major airlines travelling to Bergen is SAS and flying SAS has one major benefit – they have Mikkeller available on board. Mikkeller do a few beers for SAS but it seems that each flight only offers one variant. It’s a full size can and they don’t open it for you, so if you wanted to you can take it away. The price varies depending on which currency you’re paying in but it’s not actually that expensive considering you’re on a plane. It was also the first time I’ve ever had a beer in the air – what a novelty!

SAS Beer menu with Mikkeller Mikkeller beer on SAS flight to Bergen

Bergen Airport

Norway has some fairly high taxes on alcohol but heading to the duty free section is a great way to get decent priced booze. Unlike airports in the UK which tend to just have crappy lager on offer, Bergen Airport has a good range of craft beer.

Alongside a selection from Nogne Ø, beers from Kinn, 7fjell and Austmann were also available. The beer is significantly cheaper than anywhere else, so it’s definitely worth stocking up while you can.

bergen_airport_beer-2 bergen_airport_beer-1

Vinmonopolet

One aspect of Norway’s laws on booze is that alcohol over 4.7% can only be bought from the government-owned chain of alcohol shops. These have fairly limited opening times as they’re only open until 6pm weeknights, mid-afternoon on Saturdays and not at all on Sundays.

dsc_0055

Plenty of Norwegian breweries are represented alongside a decent selection from the UK, Denmark, Belgium, the US and more. There does seem to be a bit of an odd pricing structure thought as Old Speckled Hen was more expensive than Buxton. A funny little quirk.

Norway: where Old Speckled Hen costs more than @buxtonbrewery.

A photo posted by The Ale In Kaleigh (@thealeinkaleigh) on

At the supermarkets

Lower alcohol beer can be bought from the supermarkets at a much more purse-friendly price. Aegir and Nogne Ø cans were a couple of the beers we found in the supermarket – but it’s worth remembering that although the shop may be open until 11pm you can’t buy beer after 8pm. There’s no sign or cordoning off of the beer section to say this, so we unfortunately didn’t find out this rule until we got to the till.

Apollon

Apollon Bergen Taps at Apollon, Bergen

Apollon is a fun little venue which is half record shop and half bar. There are 35 beers available on draught (although this does include the likes of Fullers and Tuborg) and about half of them are from Norwegian breweries.

Beer list at Apollon, Bergen

The atmosphere is very chilled out and it attracts a varied range of visitors. Seating options include stools at the bar and in the window and larger tables at the back.

Apollon bar and record shop

It stays open until midnight and the staff are very knowledgeable about their beer and more than happy to talk you through what’s on draught. There’s also free wifi.

Nygårdsgaten 2a – apollon.no

Henrik Øl og Vinstove

Henrik Ol og Vinstove Bergen

For sheer choice, Henrik Øl og Vinstove is the place for craft beer in Bergen as they have more than 50 beers on offer at any one time. Norwegian breweries like Haandbryggeriet, Lervig, 7fjell, Qvart and Kinn were available during our visit as well as Amager, Mikkeller and, for some reason, Fuller’s London Pride.

Beer board at Henrik Ol og Vinstove Bergen

It’s not a large venue but it’s impressive how they’ve managed to cram all the 50+ taps behind the bar and squeezed in a decent among of seating. It does get busy too – even on a Tuesday evening, every table was filled by the time we left.

Henrik Ol og Vinstove Bergen

There’s no wifi available which was a bit disappointing as if I’m spending £7/8 on a half I want to be able to check on Untappd that I’ve not had it before!

Engen 10 – ve.no/Index_henrik.html

Bryggeriet

bryggeriet_bergen-2

I wasn’t too sure about Bryggeriet at first but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s located in a complex right on Bergen’s harbour which also features a country and western bar and a pizza place which didn’t fill me with confidence. Bryggeriet is located on on one of the upper floors of the building (head inside and up the stairs) and it’s a world away from some of the less inviting bars and eateries you see at the front.

bryggeriet_bergen-3bryggeriet_bergen-4

Most of the beer available in from the in-house brewery (Bergenhus Bryggeri) which is led by an Irish chap who gave us a little tour of the brewery which is located just behind the bar. They also have guest beers including Stone and Nogne Ø among others.

bryggeriet_bergen-1

Part of the venue is designated as a restaurant and the food wasn’t too expensive (considering Norway prices anyway!)
Tip: There’s a little terrace to the side if you want to enjoy your beer in the great outdoors.

 

As a smallish city, Bergen doesn’t offer a huge range of beer bars but the ones the city does have are well-stocked and worth seeking out. Just don’t think too much about the price.

The Grove and Magic Rock Tap, Huddersfield

Living in Manchester means that I’m not only spoiled in terms of places to drink good beer in the city itself, but also the excellent transport links providing easy access to many other cities and towns.

With a free day, we decided to hop on the train and take a trip to Huddersfield for a visit to the Magic Rock Tap. It’s not my first trip to Magic Rock Tap as I visited last year for the Rainbow Project launch but it was my first experience visiting on a ‘normal’ day as opposed to a special event.

After pottering around the shops – in particular, the record shop across the road from Huddersfield station – and grabbing some veggie sausage rolls from Poundbakery (seriously, why isn’t there one in Manchester city centre?) we wandered across to The Grove.

We’ve visited a few times but this was easily the quietest we’ve ever seen it, although it was Friday afternoon!

The Grove (1)

There’s plenty to like about The Grove. The pub is quirky with taxidermy, nude artworks and olde worlde artefacts scattered throughout but it’s the beer that’s the star.

The Grove (4)

The Grove (5)

A large board highlights the sheer choice of cask and keg options, and there are also bottle menus on the tables which are hard to miss as they’re in heavy wooden binding and chained up. If you’re a bit overwhelmed, the staff are approachable and friendly if you need advice and it’s simply a great spot for a few drinks.

The Grove (2)

After a couple of halves at The Grove, we wandered over to Magic Rock Tap which is on the other side of the town and has the benefit of being slightly closer to the train station.

Magic Rock Tap (6)

When we visited for the Rainbow Project event, the front of the brewery featured benches and pop-up bars in tents but this time it was full of vans ready to deliver beer around as well as forklift trucks driving around. Round the back we found plenty of outdoor seating but we decided to sit inside – mainly to be closer to the beer!

Magic Rock Tap (5)

 

The beer board features a selection of Magic Rock beers from favourites like High Wire and Cannonball to some of their rarer brews. Cans are also available both to drink in and take away – and they offer discounts if you fancy buying a whole case.

Again, it was fairly quiet but did get busy as it nearer the end of the traditional working week and it had a welcoming atmosphere with the crowd including couples like ourselves, groups of friends and families with well-behaved kids.

It also has plenty of features I liked. There’s lots of hooks along the walls for coats which is a favourite thing on my mine and there’s also a water tap set up next to the bar so you can help yourself to as much as you like – something I think that more bars and pubs should offer as it just makes sense!

Magic Rock Tap (3)

In my view, the only thing that really let it down was that some of the staff (not all!) didn’t seem to be as friendly as they could be.

Although Magic Rock Tap doesn’t provide food, it does regularly host street food traders and on our visit it was Dim Sum SU. Although there weren’t too many veggie options, the one they did have (Hong Kong noodles with tofu) was excellent and a nice accompaniment to the beer.

Magic Rock Tap (1)

We left shortly after as it was just after rush hour and probably time to get back to Manchester. All in all, not a bad afternoon.

Ten events not to miss at Manchester Beer Week

I’ve been thinking about it for so long that it’s hard to believe Manchester Beer Week is now mere days away! It was the launch of the official beer last week – a collaboration between Cloudwater and JW Lees named MCR Fold – and the full guide to what’s taking place during the festivities was also on hand during the event. There’s a wide programme of events with something for all, and here’s my take on the ten beer events not to miss.

Official Manchester Beer Week launch party

Manchester’s best pub The Marble Arch will be kicking off the MBW action with an event showcasing beer from some of the city’s finest breweries. The official MBW beer, MCR Fold, will also be available.

Fri June 10, 5-10pm, The Marble Arch.

Brewers’ Market

Manchester Beer Week have teamed up with street food event organisers Grub for a market in the heart of the city. The event at Exchange Square will allow you to buy bottles from local breweries, meet the brewers and have a few drinks from the on-site tasting bar.

Sat June 11, 12-6pm, Exchange Square.

Beers Manchester on Manchester beers

Five local beers will be showcased by beer blogger and Independent Salford Beer Festival organiser Jim aka Beers Manchester during this tasting event at The Brink.

Sun June 12, 4pm, The Brink.

A taste of Manchester’s brewing past

Beer Nouveau, Blackjack, Squawk and Ticketybrew have selected historic brews to reproduce for Manchester Beer Week and will be launching them at The Smithfield. Beer historian Rob Pattinson will also be speaking.

Mon June 13, 6pm-late, The Smithfield.

Hawkshead takeover at The Marble Arch

Eight of The Marble Arch’s cask pumps will be taken over by Lake District brewery Hawkshead for this event. Brewery staff will also be about to chat about the beers.

Tues June 14, 12pm onwards (brewery staff around from 7pm), The Marble Arch.

Indy Man Beer Con ticket launch

Get tickets for IMBC 2016 in person instead of online – a limited number of tickets will be on sale at PSBH and The Beagle between 6-9pm before they go on general sale as part of this mini-festival.

Wed June 15, 6pm – late, Port Street Beer House and The Beagle.

Cloudwater Barrel Store tasting

An exclusive look inside Cloudwater’s barrel store, the event will offer an opportunity to try some of the beers currently hidden away inside.

Thurs June 16, 5.30pm, Cloudwater Barrel Store.

Manchester Beer Week collab fest

Four Manchester breweries have teamed up with other local contemporaries to produce four exclusive beers for Manchester Beer Week. Try brews from Blackjack and Thornbridge; Cloudwater and Magic Rock; Quantum and Buxton; and Runaway and Hawkshead.

Thurs June 16, 7pm, Port Street Beer House.

Buxton Brewery tap takeover at The Magnet

The team from Buxton will be bringing at least five kegs and five casks over to Stockport for this tap takeover. They’ll be announcing the beer list in the days before the event – I have my fingers crossed for Yellow Belly!!

Fri June 17, 6pm-late, The Magnet, Stockport.

MBW’s big, buzzin’ party

The final Saturday of Manchester Beer Week is set to go off with a bang as Old Granada Studios will host an afternoon of beer, street food, music and games

Sat June 18, 11am-7pm, Old Granada Studios.

A return visit to Copenhagen

Almost two years since my last visit, I recently made a return trip to Copenhagen. We’d got tickets for Copenhagen Beer Celebration and also decided to stay a few extra days before it to return to some old favourites and check out the new places that had sprung up since our last visit to the Danish capital. Here’s a little guide to the craft beer bars we went to during our five days in Copenhagen.

Mikkeller and Friends Bottle Shop

Mikkeller and Friends Bottle Shop Mikkeller and Friends Bottle Shop

It’s moved from its previous location next to Mikkeller and Friends to the Torvehallerne market close to Norreport Station. Although the space is smaller (or maybe it just seems it), it makes sense to have it in this market as it’s full of great food places and I can imagine people stopping in while picking up other bits and bobs – plus, it was even better from us as we were staying round the corner. As well as beers on the shelves, there’s a fully stocked fridge so we started off our visit with a can each and some quesadillas at the market – perfect!

Frederiksborggade 21 http://mikkeller.dk/location/mikkeller-friends-bottle-shop/

Banksia

Banksia Banksia

An Australian-themed bar would usually be somewhere I’d probably not even give a second glance to, but we had very good reason to visit – an Omnipollo tap takeover. Located in a little courtyard, it’s quite a cosy little bar but had plenty of outdoor seating and is a world away from the tacky UK chain of Aussie-themed venues.  Definite highlight was the Anagram Blueberry Cheesecake imp stout, what a beer. Although we were only there for the Omnipollo beers, looking at the website it does have a pretty decent selection of draught beers from Scandinavia and beyond.

Gothersgade 8D http://banksia.dk/en

 

Lord Nelson

Beer board at Lord Nelson pub Lord Nelson Copenhagen

Lord Nelson was somewhere we visited in our last visit to the city and two years on, nothing’s changed. Still cosy, still lots of Danish microbreweries and still helpful bar staff more than willing to give you tasters and recommendations. Great pub.

Hyskenstræde 9 http://www.lordnelson.dk/

 

Warpigs

Warpigs Brewpub, Copenhagen Warpigs Brewpub, Copenhagen Warpigs Brewpub, Copenhagen Warpigs Brewpub, Copenhagen Warpigs Brewpub, Copenhagen

Warpigs didn’t exist when we last visited so this was somewhere I was very excited to visit. And it did not disappoint! A huge venue in the Meatpacking district of the city, it serves BBQ grub alongside a huge range of excellent beers – some of which are brewed in house. The first thing that hits you is the aromas of food – it all smells bloody delicious (and I’m a non-meat eater).

There’s two queues – one for food (and beer) and one just for beer. As we visited in CBC week, it was fairly busy at all times but well worth the queuing time. A range of cuts of meat are available along with a collection of sides and one veggie main option which is quite possibly the world’s best macaroni and cheese. And the beer? There’s 20 taps featuring predominately beers brewed in house so there’s plenty on offer to try.  A small shop is also located on site selling merch, beer and even bottles of their sauces to take away.

In fact, we loved Warpigs so much that we visited four times in the space of five days. I’m also still thinking about the pecan pie pretty much constantly.

Flæsketorvet 25 – 37 http://warpigs.dk/

 

Øl & Brød

Ol and Brod (1) Ol and Brod (2) Ol and Brod (3)

I’d never describe myself as a foodie as I’ve got relatively simple tastes but I was very intrigued to visit Mikkeller’s Øl & Brød so we booked in for lunch before our arrival in Copenhagen. During the day, there’s a menu of smørrebrød while at dinner time there’s more substantial meals on offer. I say that, but the smørrebrød themselves were a lot heartier than they first appeared to be – and you could really sense the skill and care that had gone into making each and every one.

In terms of the beer, there were ten options available on draught and the majority of these were from Mikkeller with a nice mix of styles including session IPAs, pilsners, porters and more. A great little lunch spot and it also had the benefit of being just a few feet from the Mikkeller Bar!

Viktoriagade 6 http://ologbrod.com/

 

Mikkeller Bar

Mikkeller Bar Copenhagen

Another venue that’s not changed since our last trip. The Mikkeller Bar in Vesterbro is fairly cosy and decorated with a cool and contemporary typically Scandi design which keeps it feeling bright and airy even at night time, and they also lay on some outdoor benches for the warmer months. A total of 20 draught beers are available at any one time featuring Mikkeller, Warpigs and beers from around the world.

During our second visit they were hosting a 3 Floyds event so we jointly purchased the most expensive beer I have ever bought: Dark Lord – Quit Hitting Yourself. Luckily, it was fantastic. Phew.

Viktoriagade 8 8 B-C http://mikkeller.dk/location/mikkeller-bar-viktoriagade-copenhagen/

 

Ramen to Bíiru

Ramen to Biiru Ramen to Biiru

Prior to our visit, we weren’t sure if we’d be visiting Ramen to Bíiru as 3 of the 4 of us were awkward non-meat eaters and everything on the menu featured chicken stock. But luckily, they have a monthly special and for May it was a veggie dish so we were able to experience it in full.

A quirky design and an even quirkier set up made it a very fun place to visit. You order your food on a machine, take your ticket to the counter to pay then grab and seat and wait for your number to be called. Even more impressive was the beer vending machine. It was stocked with a range of Mikkeller cans as well as some green tea and included a notice reminding patrons that only over 18s could purchase beer. A nice little novelty to try!

Griffenfeldsgade 28 – http://mikkeller.dk/location/ramen-to-biiru-2/

 

BRUS

BRUS Copenhagen BRUS Copenhagen BRUS Copenhagen

It’s got to be said that I’m a big fan of free beer, so when we heard that BRUS were having an opening party complete with freebies we had to go and check it out. Owned by To Ol, it’s a huge venue located in an old factory in Nørrebro with includes a microbrewery, a restaurant and a specialist food and beer shop along with the bar.

The opening party itself was a big event featuring DJs and, as you might expect when somewhere is giving away free beer in a city as expensive as Copenhagen, a lot of people. A very impressive building but a slightly hectic atmosphere.

However, we did make a return visit to BRUS a few days later for their special brunch event. This allowed me to get more of a feel for what the venue is actually like – a relaxed, family-friendly space with some excellent beer and (by the looks of it) good grub. During our visit, there were about 20 beers on draught – although the board did go up to 30-odd so maybe they have more on when it’s not the launch!

Guldbergsgade 29F  https://www.facebook.com/tapperietbrus/

 

Mikkeller and Friends and Koelschip

MIkkeller and Friends (1) MIkkeller and Friends (2)

Koelschip (1) Koelschip (2)

With its so-damn-cool Scandi design, it’s hard not to love Mikkeller and Friends. Clean lines, wooden furniture and brightly-painted walls make it feel large and airy and I particularly love the little seating nooks providing a bit more privacy. Beer-wise, there’s 40 beers available on draught at any one time and although a good amount of Mikkeller beers on available, other breweries from Scandinavia, the UK and the US are also on offer. Always worth a visit.

If you head through the side of the venue, you’ll come across Koelschip. Formerly the site of the Mikkeller Bottle Shop, the space has been transformed into a cosy Belgian-style venue. A world away from the modern look of Mikkeller and Friends, Koelschip features dark wooden furniture, hops dangling from the ceiling and walls plastered with beer memorabilia. It’s focused on Lambic beers and has four options on draught along with a large bottle menu. As I’m not into Lambic beers, we didn’t have a drink in here but the bar does look very appealing and has a Brussels vibe about it.

Stefansgade 35 http://mikkeller.dk/location/mikkeller-friends-norrebro/ http://mikkeller.dk/location/koelschip/

 

Ølbaren

Olbaren (1) Olbaren (2)

We nipped in here on the way back from Mikkeller and Friends. It felt much more like a neighbourhood bar and seemed to be one of the few places during the time we were in Copenhagen to be more locals than visitors. Good range of beers but fairly slow service as there was only one member of staff on the bar.

Elmegade 2 – http://oelbaren.dk/ (Danish)

 

Mikropolis

Mikropolis, Copenhagen Mikropolis, Copenhagen Mikropolis, Copenhagen

Only a couple of streets away from where we were staying, Mikropolis is a cosy basement bar with ten beers on draught and a selection of cocktails on offer. Small and intimate, it’s the type of venue I’d love to see more of – somewhere that appeals to both beer drinkers and non-beer drinkers alike. A relaxed, friendly atmosphere although on both of our visits our peace was interrupted by some loud fellow patrons – as it’s such as small space, the noise levels are very noticeable.

Vendersgade 22 http://mikkeller.dk/location/mikropolis/

 

Ørsted Ølbar

Ørsted Ølbar Beer board at Ørsted Ølbar Ørsted Ølbar, Copenhagen

This was a favourite from our last time in Copenhagen – especially as it was located very close to our hotel – so I was looking forward to a return. On our way, we got caught in a sudden downpour so it was very appealing to grab a beer and a seat in this cosy little basement bar. There’s a number of options on draught – mainly from Scandinavia – and it also has table football. We popped in a second time a few hours later and it was showing three Spanish and Italian football games on three different TVs through the bar but unlike most footie-showing pubs in the UK, it was friendly and civilised with the clientele mainly small groups of friends quietly watching the game.

Nørre Farimagsgade 13  http://oerstedoelbar.dk/

 

Himmeriget

Himmeriget bar, Copenhagen Himmeriget bar, Copenhagen

Located on the other side of the river, Himmeriget has a small but well-thought out draught beer selection along with a good bottle list. The venue itself is somewhere you’d walk past if you weren’t looking for it – it doesn’t give much away from the outside. Inside, it feels like it wouldn’t be out of place in Manchester’s NQ with its DIY look. However, maybe because it was CBC week, it was a bit too busy to enjoy it properly due to its compact size and minimal seating.

Åboulevard 27, 1960 Frederiksberg http://himmeriget.dk/

 

Fermentoren

Fermentoren

One of the closest bars to CBC, Fermentoren was very busy during our visit (Saturday evening, just after the final session of CBC ended) but luckily it had plenty of outdoor space so it didn’t feel too chaotic. A good selection of beers on offer and a nicely-laid out beer garden made it an appealing place for a few drinks. Not sure I’d like to live in the flat directly above it though!

Halmtorvet 29C http://fermentoren.com/

 

Looking for more info on CPH? See my guide to a city break in Copenhagen over on my other blog.

History, brewpubs and collaboration: a trio of pubs in North Wales

Despite growing up in Merseyside, living in Manchester and spending as much time as possible travelling and exploring, there’s one area very close to home where I’ve not spent too much time: Wales.  Apart from a few trips as a child (and a hen do in Chester that involved visiting a spa in Deeside), Wales is very much undiscovered territory to me so when we were looking for a place for a weekend away, it seemed like the natural choice.

We stayed in rural Snowdonia – probably the most rural place I’ve ever stayed – but on the way there and back we made a few stop offs.

Albion Ale House, Conwy

I fell in love with Conwy as soon as we arrived. It was full of things I like: A castle! A beach! A cool bridge! And even better, it had both an excellent off licence (Vinomondo, mainly a wine shop but with a good selection of beer from Wales and beyond) and a beautiful pub owned by four local breweries.

Albion Ale House, Conwy, Wales

The Albion is a 1920s pub chock-full of original features including an art deco fireplace, traditional fixed seating with push bells (no longer in use!) and even four of the pub’s original handpumps.

Albion Ale House (1)

But it’s not just the history that’s of interest; it’s also the way its run. The Albion is operated by four breweries who have all come together to create a fantastic pub; Purple Moose Brewery, Conwy Brewery, Bragdy Gant Brewery and Great Orme Brewery. Beers on offer come from the four breweries alongside a selection of guest beers – in total it has eight beers as well as two real ciders.

Albion Ale House (5)

There’s a focus on a traditional pub atmosphere – there’s no TV, no jukebox and, apart from bar snacks and nibbles, there’s no food.

Albion Ale House (3)

What it does have is a beautiful building and a welcoming beer garden – complete with this little feature for four-legged visitors which I enjoyed.

DogBrew at Albion Ale House, Conwy

Sadly, we only had time for a swift half but I can see why it’s received a number of awards and accolades since its opening in its current guise.

Albion Ale House, Uppergate Street, Conwy.

Snowdonia Parc Brewpub

One of the factors that sold our B&B to us was its close proximity to an award winning brewpub – Snowdonia Parc Brewpub. It was actually slightly further away than we anticipated (about 1.5 miles) and it was mainly walking on the road, but it was a pleasant stroll there and back from the B&B. Light evenings also helped – wouldn’t have fancied walking it in the dark!

Snowdonia Parc Brewpub

The pub itself is located on a campsite in the village of Waunfawr. A large white building, it doesn’t appear to have too much character from the outside but it’s got a beautiful setting surrounded by fields and with the hills of Snowdonia as its backdrop. It’s a fairly extensive building with a number of different rooms and the bar itself is accessible from the two largest areas. One area features a darts board and a pool table and seemed to be mainly frequented by locals and the other side of the bar seemed more set up for dining and also had a patio door leading out to the beer garden. As we were dining, we went for this area and our fellow drinkers and diners including a family and a solo walker so it does attract a real mixed clientele.

Snowdonia Parc Brewpub

Snowdonia Parc is the home of Snowdonia Brewery – and this appears to be the only place you can drink their beers. The beers are all of fairly traditional styles and on our visit there were four available on cask so we made our way merrily through them while we ate.  My favourite of the lot was the Theodore Stout but the range seems to focus quite a lot on bitters/best bitters which just aren’t my thing. Always nice to sample different beers – especially ones you can’t find elsewhere – so an enjoyable experience overall.

Snowdonia Parc Brewpub, Waunfawr.

The Black Boy Inn, Caernarfon

A recommendation from our B&B, we visited this pub the evening after climbing Snowdon. I’d agreed to drive so it was lemonade for me all night (although I ate a massive piece of chocolate cake to make up for this!) but Ross set out to make his way through a selection of the beers on offer.

The Black Boy Inn

I love a pub with history and character, and this place has it in bucketloads. Dating back to 1522 (hence the slightly dubious name), it’s full of little nooks and crannies, old fireplaces and beams. It’s a short distance away from Caernarfon Castle and is within the city’s medieval walls.

The Black Boy Inn (3)

But, despite its traditional look and atmosphere, it serves some very modern beers – including plenty on keg. During our visit, Ross sampled beers from the likes of Tiny Rebel and Kernel and I also noticed Beavertown and Brewdog on offer. Cask beers (which seem to have a more local focus) are also available so there’s something to keep all factions of beer lovers happy.

The Black Boy Inn

I would say that the only downside to the Black Boy Inn is its own popularity – it was very busy when we arrived and we did find ourselves sat in the beer garden for a bit until Ross managed to grab us a table in the main bar. They don’t take table bookings on the weekend which is worth bearing in mind if you want to dine there. But it’s a beautiful building with plenty of outdoor space (seating out back and out front) and somewhere I wouldn’t hesitate to return to – especially on an occasion when it’s not my turn to drive!

Black Boy Inn, Northgate Street, Caernarfon.

 

Not the booziest weekend away we’ve ever had, but a lovely one nevertheless! We were kept well-stocked by our visit to Vinomondo and my favourite place to enjoy a beer was actually back at our B&B – it had its own nature reserve complete with a river, so after my sober visit to the Black Boy Inn it was wonderful to kick off my shoes, dip my toes in the river and relax with a beer with nothing around us but the hills and a couple of sheep. Bliss.

Nature reserve beer

Historic ales to be revived for Manchester Beer Week

Four breweries in Greater Manchester are to recreate a collection of beers, some dating back more than 100 years, for Manchester Beer Week.

Three recipes have been taken from the archives of JW Lees and adapted for modern techniques and tastes, while a fourth beer will be revived from a now closed down brewery in Stalybridge.

Blackjack are to recreate Lees’ 1951 C Ale, a Manchester-specific style of dark, strong ale; Squawk Brewing are making their own version of Lees’ 1952 Stout while Beer Nouveau are heading even further back in time to make Lees’ XXX strong ale, which dates back to 1903.

Meanwhile, Stalybridge’s Ticketybrew will be bringing back an Invalid Stout from Heginbotham’s, a brewery which was formerly owned and operated by Robinsons.

Connor Murphy, the organiser of Manchester Beer Week, said: “Although there has been a lot of talk about the beer boom in Manchester, it is also important to remember the city’s brewing heritage.

“It represents an intriguing challenge for the brewers involved as they will need to adapt these historical styles to suit modern techniques, ingredients and equipment while staying as true to the original beers as possible.”

The beers will be launched at The Smithfield on Monday June 13 at an event which will include a talk from beer historian Ron Pattinson.

See more events from Manchester Beer Week on the Manchester beer events calendar.


Looking for more information on Manchester? See my guide to the best things to do in Manchester on my travel blog.