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Craft Beer Tour of Norway - Day One

Beautiful Bergen
Bergen, Norway
A view from the docks of Bergen

The land of Norway appears to have been carved by the gods in bold strokes. Edges are sharp and well-defined; colors deep and rich. So too are its animate elements. Its water is among the purest in the world and its air the cleanest, leaving the senses slate-clean and open to the bounty of flavor offered from its land. Fresh juniper, cloud berry and heather offer endless flavor fjords for the country's makers to explore. Combined with its equally clean and rich culinary tradition born of land and sea, Norway offers a lifetime of sensory exploration.

The Beer Connoisseur spent a week traveling the country's Fjords Brewery Route, finding a vast breadth and depth of drinking experience among some of the country's most renowned brewers, cider makers and distillers. The journey broadened horizons of taste, cultural perspective and appreciation of life itself. It is recounted below, beginning with day one in Bergen, the country's second-most populous city.



The Beer Connoisseur spent a week traveling the country's Fjords Brewery Route, finding a vast breadth and depth of drinking experience among some of the country's most renowned brewers, cider makers and distillers.


What better way to shake the grog of transatlantic flight than gin? With sleep decidedly on the backburner, Bareksten Spirits is a quick 10-minute drive from the airport, and a perfect introduction to what Norway has to offer. Helmed by a veritable polymath, Stig Bareksten, this initially unassuming distillery produces some of the world’s finest gin, as its seemingly endless list of international gold medals attest. Bareksten’s success is a unique blend of knowledge and intuition, honed by a bold curiosity. Decisions that may seem reckless at first glance are inevitably revealed to be perfectly planned and executed, as if he knew it would work all along.

His gin is much the same. Unconcerned with the conventions of a relatively unchanged craft, Bareksten immerses himself in raw ingredients in order to find new takes on the old. His gins boasts a vinous mouthfeel unlike any previously tasted, making for a drinking experience that allows you to focus on the bouquet of aromas and flavors that awaits. A bouquet of 26 botanicals, mostly locally harvested, reveal themselves one after another, each individual, yet culminating in a coordinated presentation. Individual, yet traditional. Bold, yet likable. Bareksten’s gin is a perfect reflection of the man himself – a confluence of knowledge, intuition and passion.

7 Fjell Bryggeri- Led by some of the country’s most renowned homebrewers, 7 Fjell has a youthful zeal and rebellious nature to it that has helped it become one of the country’s most popular breweries. Many beers are marketed with colorful labels and dialogue, often garnering viral attention, such as a Trump-related beer with some choice words (shown below).



Named for the seven mountains that surround Bergen, 7 Fjell Bryggeri prioritizes eco-friendly brewing practices, in keeping with the national commitment to preserving Norway's heavenly land.

You’ll only find key kegs in use at 7 Fjell, a more eco-friendly version of America's favorite steel keg, which reduces the amount of chemicals required to clean a keg. This is a perfect example of the forward-thinking nature that is commonplace at the brewery and throughout Norway.



Norway's water is among the purest in the world and its air the cleanest, leaving the senses slate-clean and open to the bounty of flavor offered from its land (and its beers).


As a bustling college town that also attracts its fair share of tourists, Bergen also has a lively bar and restaurant scene which are roundly attuned to providing quality craft beer.

Vinyl Bar is a craft beer-focused bar built inside a recording studio, with hi-fi sound and attention to acoustics designed to make your listening and drinking experiences equally mellifluous. James Brown and brown ale are guaranteed to kick off an evening in the right way.

From there, check out Røverdatter, a pub bearing the unique distinction of being totally crowdfunded. About 120 people pitched in to bring this craft bar to life, and almost all the work done here is done by those who helped kickstart it, save for a few taproom workers. I met Otto, a stakeholder who volunteers his time to serve on the board and to help design the tap list, and we shared a specially curated Norwegian plank, featuring an all-local selection of kveik beer, mead, cider aquavit and gin.