Food & Drink
Beer tasting in Trondheim
And it is not just in Trondheim, the whole of central Norway is foaming over with breweries. Some of these breweries play around with licorice and passionfruit. Others continue longstanding beer traditions, including Roar Sandodden from Stjørdal. His Stjørdalsøl beer is brewed in keeping with the local tradition in the area.
“It is a heady beer with a strong alcohol content that tastes of smoked alderwood. It is relatively sweet, distinct in the mouth, full-bodied, with very little carbonation.”
The brewery is called Alstadberger. The malt is smoked in a common malt house or såinnhus. This custom is said to have been brought to Norway by the Celts, and beer was brewed in this way as far back as the Viking Age. Sandodden only produces enough beer for his own consumption and to prepare tasting samples when he gives lectures on beer brewing. However, he has worked with other breweries that have the infrastructure to brew in larger quantities, including at Klostergården on the island of Tautra, just north of Trondheim. In 2015, they launched Alstadberger that is now sold by Vinmonopolet, the state-run nationwide alcohol retailer, and at several pubs and restaurants in Trondheim. It has been given a Specialty-Label, awarded to products based on Norwegian raw materials and recipes.
Brewing culture in Trondheim
Sandodden grew up with the scent of smoked malt.
“I remember the neighborhood brewing sessions when us kids were given brown sugar. When I was around 17-18 years old, I started brewing myself. But you can tell I have never had any kind of business plan or marketing plan.”
While brewing is an old tradition, tastes are communicated in the modern fashion via descriptions in an app called Untappd. “Fantastic,” someone writes. Others say it is a beer for special fans. And the people of Trondheim are definitely special fans of beer.
In the regional capital, beer is brewed everywhere, in homes, farmhouses, breweries and in local brewpubs. Even though Trondheim only has a population of around 205,000, there were an incredible 48 breweries in the county of Trøndelag in 2018, according to Oi!, a company that promotes Trøndelag Foods and Drinks. Brewing is quite simply second nature in Trondheim.
“Trondheim is in the center of a big brewing region. A lot of locally brewed beers are served at outdoor venues. There are sales outlets and brewpubs,” says Communications Manager Kristine Rise of Oi!.
Oi! is helping to develop and market Trøndelag as a food region.
Co-labs for beer
The fact that Trondheim is quite small is a key factor in this beer renaissance.
“Many people here brew beer. They test and research into brewing with local ingredients, herbs, and fruits. The breweries also work with each other and create co-labs,” says Rise.
At E.C. Dahls bryggeri that has been brewing beer in Trondheim since 1856, they say that it is this openness that contributes to the vast choice.
“When I go out, I meet people from other breweries. When you have common interests, you are interested in sharing your knowledge,” says Brewery Ambassador Kristian Berger of E.C. Dahls Bryggeri.
And they also use raw materials from the region, such as from Bonsak gårdsmalteri, a farmhouse maltery, that provides malt for many local beers.
Beer + Food = True
An annual brewing festival is held in Trondheim where you can try many types of brewed beverages. Cider, mead, coffee and naturally beer.
“In 2019, 30,000 people visited the festival. Which makes it large by a European yardstick. But it is less about numbers, more about tastes. You can also get advice here on food recipes that use beer,” says Rise.
One of the newer breweries in the city, Hammerhead Brewing Company, produces various fascinating beers. They produce a range of exciting beers, very hoppy types, some with tropical tones and even a sour beer. Tommy Hammer who founded the Hammerhead Brewing Company, claims good restaurants can be thanked for this development.
“Trøndelag and Trondheim have one of the best selections of microbrewery beers in Norway. This goes hand in hand with the food environment here. Restaurants Credo and Fagn have helped make Trondheim a food and drink destination,” says Hammer.
Both Credo and Fagn were Michelin star restaurants in 2019. These and several other restaurants offer beer packages to go with the food, so you can try food and beer combinations you might otherwise never have thought about. You can also learn a bit more about the local culture at the same time, and the best way to do this is quite simply to enjoy a beer.
Published: December 2, 2021