Monday, 29 July 2013


The train from Oslo takes a leisurely 8 hours to meander down the coast of Norway, giving you plenty of opportunity to check out countless waterfalls and lakes along the way. Once there, the star attraction is of course not the fjords, but instead the Cardinal.
Henry VIII's fat friend Cardinal Wolsey, we can be fairly sure, owed his impressive girth to drinking wine rather than beer, so it's slightly odd that Norway's most well stocked beer bar should be named after him, but so it is.

The numerous banks of taps that confront you is challenging enough, but the bottled beer menu is on a par with War & Peace.

Neatly divided up by beer styles, I spotted a firm favourite; Danish brewer Midtfyns' Barley Wine.

As soon as the top came off this joker, you could whiff it from a mile off; woooooooof.
There seem to be two ways a beer can be sweet; the disgusting revolting way, like the vile 'Leffe', or the delicate subtle way like a strong Barley Wine. No doubt which camp this one was in.
I noticed that the 'best before' date was distinctly in the past...

Actually, what does a 'best before' date mean on a 10% Barley Wine? It's going to get better, or at least different, the longer you leave it - it might make more sense to call it a 'best after' date. Why put one on, other than regulations? It's not like bottles of wine have a 'best before' date (do they?).
Such depth did this reprobate have that a Hoptilicus seemed ever so one dimensional compared to it.
Pretty decent trade for a pub where you can pay the best part of 20 quid for one beer.

Once you can drag yourself out of this place to check out the fjords, a splendid beer to drink whilst doing so is the locally brewed 'Johnny Low' 2.5% IPA. These come from Stavanger's 'Lervig Aktiebryggeri', who also do a range which includes a red and a brown ale. These others cunningly come in at 4.7% to allow them to be sold in supermarkets.
Quaffing these 2.5% comedians whilst on the boat will give you a much better chance of swimming to the shore should it capsize, compared to if you'd downed 5 or so Barley Wines. Except there isn't a shore, just a vertical rock face, but you can cross that bridge when you come to it.


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