On my first visit to a Belgium beer shop I was stunned by the huge variety of local beers and the price of them. Last week I was in Norway; not a country one immmediately relates to beer and certainly not a beer drinker’s paradise for all those who’s income is in Euros, Pounds, Dollars; a normal 4,5% alc. vol thirst quencher costs about 10 Euro in a pub and 4 in the supermarket. There are good strong beers but these can only be bought from the liquor shops and compared with the belgium beers in a Brussels beer shop are at least twice as expensive. So everything in life is relative!
Norway, however, does have one unique beer thing; the most northerly brewery in the world.
Mack’s brewery, situated well inside the arctic circle in Tromso. Naturally enough their standard thirst quencher is called Arctic; a drinkable lager but I preferred the bitterer 1877 version, named to commemorate the establishment of the brewery by the German brewer’s son, Ludwig Mack. The best place to try one of Mack’s beers is in the Beer Hall alongside the old brewery. Funnily enough when I was there one customer was drinking a Blue Chimay! Which nicely brings me back to Belgium.
I didn’t have a Chimay when I got back home – must lay some more in – but I found a St. Feuillien blonde in the fridge. My joy was obviously so overwhelming that the picture came out somewhat shaky. (So I have posted an Arctic pic instead.) The St. Feuillien was perhaps a shade too cold but as it warmed its character slowly developed: nice herbal fruit with a touch of citrus, well balanced malt and distinctive bitterness. 7.5% alc. Vol. A good Belgium strong pale ale.