Sunday, April 21, 2013

A TRIP TO OLYMPEN - OSLO, NORWAY

Hey, before we settle down to business, let's give some thanks to Henrik for having left an enthusiastic word of praise for Oslo's OLYMPEN bar and restaurant on this post. It's because of Henrik's ministrations that I looked the place up online and targeted it as the first place I'd try out on my first weary, just-flew-all-day night in Oslo. That's where I'm reporting to you presently, being up & at 'em early in the morning, the way one is when he's adjusting to the time zone of a land far, far away from home. Plus I don't need to go to work for another hour.

You see the table in their website photo in the lower right, where the many plates and all the frantic eating activity is going on? That's precisely where I sat, and where I bravely made my inaugural beer in Norway a WESTBROOK BREWING "WHITE THAI", just so I could settle down to business with the menu. Why bravely, you ask? Because it's from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, USA. Olympen had about six different beers on draft, and at least 3 were from the USA; the other 3 didn't sound like where I wanted to head in my first few minutes, so there you go. Beer from South Carolina, right in the heart of old-world Europe. Good thing it was a refreshing witbier, with subtle spicing and a great foamy head. It's got lemongrass and ginger in it, and if you squint your eyes and loll your tongue around, you might even be able to taste them a little. I say yeah. 7.5/10.

I went for a fish main course with a fish appetizer. "When in Norway", is what I always say, right? I admired the stately high ceilings and old jumbo painting on the wall here - Olympen dates from 1892, and was renovated and reopened some time in the past few years as a old school craft beer & good food wonderland. Yeah, the food was terrific as well - and the bottle menu had (expensive) Cantillon; all the Belgian Abbey beers; every Nogne O known to man; American micros like Founders, Lost Abbey, Bruery, Hoppin' Frog and Stone; a bunch of Danish beers and so on. 

I chose a LERVIG AKTIBRYGGERI "RYE IPA", which you see pictured here. It's a Norwegian beer, and is not from South Carolina. Perhaps you deduced that already. Yes, you can absolutely taste the rye in this one, which is not always the case in quote-unquote rye IPAs. The beer is exceptionally hopped-up with Citra, Chinook and Centennial hops, and clocks in at 8.5% alcohol. Perhaps it's a bit more of a strong come-on that I typically enjoy, yet it's neither a strong tongue-bruiser nor too much of a dissapointment, either. 7/10. I decided not to tamper with what I hoped would be a good night's and much-deserved sleep by having more beer, and it all worked out for the best. 9 hours, baby! Thanks again to Henrik, to Olympen, and to the good people of Oslo for helping to keep Olympen open.

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