As much as I raved about my visit to OLYMPEN in Oslo last Sunday night, my follow-up evening of beer & fish at HANDVERKETSTUENE near the central part of the city was even better, and a good candidate for my Top 10 Beer Experiences list. Sure, I was all alone - but sometimes I kinda like that. It's a restaurant, yeah - but everyone whom I talked to the next day at the place I was working at for the week said, "Oh yeah....those guys have a great beer selection...". And indeed they do. I'll reiterate for the third post in a row that if you know where to go, Oslo is a phenomenal food and beer town. I personally jump at the chance to eat fresh fish as many meals as I possibly can, and this was a town in which to do that. At Handverketstuene, for instance, I had a fish stew that practically makes me want to weep because I wanna have it again so badly, but alas I'm back in San Francisco and that's OK too.
So the place is a classic, wooden Europub with a mixture of long booths and tables. I got my own booth with a bunch of pillows, and settled in to tackle a trifecta of Norwegian beer. The Norse gods of beer must have been smiling upon me, as I chose exceptionally well this particular night:
NOGNE Ø - "TINDVED": A sour wild ale to get things going! It's soured with something called "pressed sea buckhorn", which is a shrub with berries that grows around Scandinavia and Russia. Whoa. Pours a golden orange - that's a picture of it that you see above you - and tastes of malted barley, raw unkempt wheat and grain. The sourness isn't "horseblanket", mind you, but a wet and tangy sourness that I loved. Totally delicious, and the mousse that I had later that night was made with it as well. 8.5/10.
SVANEKE BRYGHUS - "IN YOUR FACE IPA": This one's actually from Denmark, and if there's such a thing as a Scando IPA, this is it. (Or the one I reviewed on Wednesday, come to think of it). Such a juicy, fruit-forward mouthfeel; clean and delicious, with a dry hoppy feel on the aftertaste. A kiss, if you will. Wow. 8.5/10.
HAANDBRYGGERIET - "HUMLESUS": A Belgian golden ale from the Masters of Norway, and it was only the third best beer of the night? Well, it was still great - loads of fruit, with apricot being the prime mover, with a heavy foamy soapy smell and a really surprising amount of hops. Definitely some bite on this thing. Really solid, which doesn't surprise me, because Haandbruggeriet kinda rule. 7.5/10.