KRISTIANSAND BEER FESTIVAL

VOTE FOR CANADA'S NEXT GREAT BEER FLAVOUR

KRISTIANSAND BEER FESTIVAL

By Rachell Sutherland

A few weeks back, I was invited by our friends at Cask Norway to join them in Kristiansand for a beer festival and to bring along a few beers.  Kristiansand is a small town in southern Norway and the festival was being held on OdderØya, a beautiful island connected to the mainland by bridges.  For all you ‘fact fans’, it was once the largest quarantine station in Northern Europe.  It is now home to concerts, live music, artists’ studios and on that day hosted about six hundred thirsty beer fans.


The setting was perfect. It was a beautiful late summer’s day, there was great live music and there were some mahoosive Norwegian sausages sizzling on the BBQ. We were really lucky as we were one of the few non-local brewers invited, and the only brewer to have come from outside of Scandinavia. It’s a rare opportunity for me to meet our fans face to face and to hear and see what they think of the beers I’ve helped to brew. We’d managed to take Core Range, but also a few Seasonal beers and a couple of Limited Editions.  For many it was the first opportunity to taste anything other than Original and Rum Finish.  The day was flying by and then four o’clock rolled on, I was the only brewer asked to present a masterclass.  I had no idea what to expect; would people be interested?  Who would want to venture inside from the glorious festival to hear me rant on about beer? 


The tension was quickly broken when I realised that I’d be presenting in the middle of an Olympic sized basketball court with a vaulting horse to lean on.  Very probably, the strangest place I’ve ever conducted a masterclass!  I’d been told about fifteen people would be coming, grand, a nice sized group; as time moved on this quickly increased to about thirty.   Panic set in that I wouldn’t have enough beer!  Luckily everyone was very good-natured and happy to share.  Many had tried our beers before, but knew little about Innis & Gunn so we had a chat about the company and how we were founded, a little about how we make our beers and the extra step that Innis & Gunn takes. We then did a tutored tasting through Original, Rum Finish and Scottish Pale Ale.


By six o’clock we were completely out of all the beer and I realised I’d been chatting to enthusiastic beer lovers for five hours.  It was time to enjoy some of that BBQ, have a cold glass of Original and enjoy the late afternoon sun.  Norway, I’ll be back…

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