Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Travel: Edinburgh

I spent last week in Edinburgh. It is indeed a beautiful city with its medieval buildings and the illuminated castle on top of a hill right downtown. The city is nice to look at, but it also offers a great number of excellent pubs that serve delicious cask ales.

A lot of pubs seemed to have the standard line-up with Belhaven Best, Guinness, Stella Artois, Tennents Lager and Strongbow, and if you were lucky Caledonian ales. Only a small number of pubs had cask-ales beyond one or two from Caledonian, typically Caledonian 80/- and Deuchars IPA.

My favourite pubs were:
  • Thompson's Bar
  • Cloisters
  • Guildford Arms
  • Halfway House
  • Blue Blazer
  • Bow Bar
  • Abbotsford
All of the above pubs had taps to please the swill-drinkers, but they also had a nice selection of cask ales in top shape. Most of them standard taps, but also a few of them dedicated to guest ales. I love the idea of guest beers as new ones will be put on as soon as the current ones are empty. Within a day or two the guest taps rotate, and the next time you visit the pub there is going to be new beers to try out. Very nice. I wish they would do the same thing here in Oslo...

Real ales typically have a soft mouthfeel, very little carbonation (condition), a subtle maltiness and a mellow hop aroma and bitterness. Some of them venture into more hop bitterness, but it never gets out of hand. The alcohol content of most of the beers I tried was in the 3.4 - 4.3% range. The various ales were surprisingly similar, which is a bit sad as I cannot see why brewers could not apply more creativity when making them. There is afterall a surging interest in craft ales. The only American influence I could see was the fact that a some of them used citrusy American hops.

Anyway, thanks to the half-pint, I managed to get through about 60 different real ales.


Maria said...

Could you please write a list of your favourite pubs in Oslo? I'm really interesting to find good places to taste good norwegian beer...
Thank you!

grove said...


Oslo isn't a great beer city, as it's both expensive and there are no real places for beer enthusiasts. That said I would consider Oslo Mikrobryggeri (the only microbrewery), Beer Palace, Bar & Sigar, Lorry and Kampens Hete all good locations. Beer Palace is probably the one with the most varied selection.

Here's a link to Ratebeer's list of Oslo pubs. The above are all listed, so you'll find their addresses there.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Grove!!
I didn't know that a pub information can be found at ratebeer...
So I need to visit Beer Palace, Lorry and Kampens Hete (as I understand it's far from city center?). Bar&Cigar I liked very much, Mikrobryggery is ok too.
Do you know any place where I can find beer of Møllebyen Mikrobryggeri in Olso? Is it available only in Moss?
Thank you :)

grove said...

Ratebeer is very useful when it comes to planning a beer vacation. I use it all the time myself. :)

Kampens Hete is just a short metro ride from the City Centre, and just next to the Tøyen T-bane station.

Møllebyen Mikrobryggeri is a brewpub and they only sell their beers at the pub, so you'll have to go to Moss to try it I'm afraid. It is about an hour away from Oslo by train.

Anonymous said...

Thank you one more time:)
I've visited Beer palace but still prefer Bar&Cigar. Have you ever been there? This is a fantastic place just because the owner who really knowns what each customer really needs...
Tomorrow is my last day in Oslo for this year (at least for this spring=) and I'm going to visit this place one more time:)
If you want you can join us...
I'm from Russia, St.Petersburg and I'm really interesting to try some interesting norwegian beer during my business trip..
Thank you one more time and welcome to Bar&Cigar tomorrow!!