As you may remember, Joe is a bit of a beer connoisseur and over the years, we've visited several breweries. For Christmas, he received a home brewing kit so we've taken this to a whole other level.
INN (The International Network of Norway - the same group that organised the glassblowing field trip I did) held a tour at a local brewery last week and we just couldn't pass it up. The tour itself cost 250 nok (about $50) and it took place in the evening which made it possible for both Joe and I to attend.
Lervig has been our favourite beer since arriving in Stavanger. I'm pretty certain that we had tasted all of their variations available in the grocery store before the end of our first week in Norway. I tend to like the Betty Brown best and Joe, fittingly enough, leans towards the Hoppy Joe although he is quite fond of the Lucky Jack and the Rye IPA as well.
As I've said, we've visited a few breweries in our time and know our way around the ingredients and the brewing process but the Lervig tour was really quite interesting. Our host, Leif, has been around since the brewery's beginning and he had quite a bit of insight into the history of Lervig as well as it's current initiatives. There's something about a small company working it's way up to create a product they're passionate about as opposed to giant companies churning out mass quantities of something to make a large profit.
Many times when visiting a brewery, you're guided around at quite a distance from where the actual work happens. Sometimes you're up above looking down into the brewery and sometimes you're behind a glass partition looking in. The great thing about the Lervig tour was we had no holds access to everything. We walked right up along side the equipment, touched the products and tasted the raw ingredients.
At the end of the tour is when the fun stuff starts. We're introduced (or re-introduced) to their different brews and we taste and discuss the beers. While Joe and I were fairly certain we'd tasted every Lervig beer out there, we were surprised with a few new brews that have yet to hit the shelves. In the end, we sampled 8 or 9 different beers, enjoyed conversation with fellow beer drinkers and Joe got some inspiration for his own home-brewing initiatives. All in all, it was a pretty successful evening out and totally worth the 250 nok.
[Note: Today is my brother's birthday - I'm fairly certain he doesn't read this blog but in case he has surprised me, Happy Birthday Corbin!]