Norwegian Craft Breweries
Norway’s brewing traditions date all the way back to the Vikings who used to brew barley-based beers during the cold winter months. King Haakon the Good who ruled from 934 to 961 even made it a law that to celebrate Christmas with a beer. Those who didn’t include beer in their Christmas festivities would be fined.
A few centuries later the Norwegian legislative assembly, known as the Gulating, took the law one step further and required all households to brew Christmas beer for the festive season. Today, seasonal Christmas ales continue to be a (non-mandatory) part of the holiday season in Norway. And, in recent years, a great interest in craft beers, artisanal beverages, and microbreweries has emerged in Norwegian culture. Here are the best places to enjoy a craft beer while on vacation in Norway!
Ægir Brewery, Flåm
Ægir Brewery is located at the end of the world’s largest and deepest fjord. So, appropriately, the brewery is named after Ægir, the god of the sea in Old Norse mythology. The pub is meant to feel like a Viking style longhouse. You can enjoy your beer beside a warm fire pit located inside the brewpub. You’ll have a range of drinks to choose from. The Ægir Brewery makes everything from lagers to sour beers to non-alcoholic brews and even gin and aquavit, a distilled spirit primarily produced in Scandinavia.
If you are in Flåm, try a Fjord safari with Viking dinner and beer tasting in Ægir Brewery, a fun and cultural activity!
Nøgne ø, Grimstad
Nøgne ø is Norway’s largest supplier of craft beer, so you will find their products at many local pubs and bars around the country. Nøgne ø means ‘naked island’. The name was pulled from a poem by Henrik Ibsen and symbolic of the journey the original founders took to begin brewing and selling craft beer in the early 2000s when much of Norway was still primarily interested in the old-faithful classic lagers they had become accustomed to. Tours of the brewery, located in Grimstad, are available for pre-bookings and will give you an opportunity to taste Nøgne ø beer and learn more about the brewing process.
Svalbard Brewery, Longyearbyen
For those of you looking to explore the Arctic during your Norway travels, don’t worry, you’ll be able to find craft beer up there too! Svalbard Brewery proudly holds the title of the world’s northernmost craft brewery and is only accessible by boat during the summer months. Book a visit to tour this craft beer brewery to learn all about how the production team deals with the challenges of their northern location. You’ll also have a chance to sample beers and learn more about the brewing process. From IPAs to pilsners to pale ales, you’ll have plenty of varieties to sample in Norway’s beautiful Arctic setting.
Grünerløkka Brygghus, Oslo
If you’re looking for a microbrewery in Oslo, look no further than Grünerløkka Brygghus. This gastropub offers great English-inspired pub food, an easy atmosphere, and 22 beers on tap, most of which are brewed by their very own microbrewery. You’ll also find a few other local and imported microbrews on tap. If you’re interested in more than just a pint or a meal, consider signing up for one of their tours or one of their beer courses!
Contrary to popular belief, Norway offers much more than the classic favorite lager. In fact, Norway’s history of brewing of specialty beers dates all the way back to the Vikings and seasonal Christmas blends developed as early as the 900s. Today, those traditions continue with an abundance of microbreweries popping up all over the country. You’ll be sure to find a craft beer to sample no matter where you visit, even if your travels take you all the way to Norway’s remote Arctic region!