Beyond a few well-known names producing recognizable “craft beer” styles, the beers of Scandanavia are virtually unknown outside of their fjords and tree covered mountains. Fortunately, a few interesting examples of more traditional styles are starting to leave the constraining waters of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. One of those special beers is Klostergården Alstadberger Stjørdalsøl.
Tucked into a deep fjord that slices into the west coast of Norway, a tiny island called Tautra has drawn people to its fertile shores. Kjersti Brustad and Peter Dahlbom left these shores to explore other paths before returning home to continue farming like the 5 generations of their family before them. One of the new crops they’ve planted is an heirloom barley known as Domen, a variety commonly known as Cathedral in English.
With Heirloom barley in hand, they approached a small craft malt house which had formed in 2014. This Craft Malt Cooperative known “Norsk Håndverksmalt” started with the goal of producing high quality craft malts from regional grains grown by artisanal producers. They also want to work with other small regional maltsters to work with regional farmers to produce truly local materials for local breweries.
Once the grain was malted, it made its way back home to the island of Tautra to be used in the brewhouse of Jørn Gunnarson Andersen and his Klostergården Brewery. The site of the brewery sits near the ruins of a 13th Century abbey. Since the 1800’s, the land has been the Andersen family farm until 1994 when they decided to take advantage of the natural beauty and historic scenery of their land by opening a restaurant.
The Alstadberger Stjørdalsøl is made using alder dried malt as part of its bill which 52% of comes from the Craft Malt Cooperative. Using an old Norwegian recipe, smoked malt, and British Ale yeast, Klostergården Alstadberger Stjørdalsøl is a unique creation.
Appearance: Hazy amber/brown, tan head, solid retention.
Aroma: Caramel, smoke, fruity, banana, cherries, fruit leather.
Taste: Caramel, toffee, smoke, camp fire, smoked candied salmon, smoked chocolate.
Overall Impression: This is a fun and unique beer. The smoke is well-integrated. It’s present without overwhelming and allows the fruity British yeast character and the rich local Norwegian malt to shine through.
Availability: Nationally where beers from B. United International are sold.