How about Scandinavian micros?

As an interesting reflection it seems that the times are changing in the Scandinavian beer scene, at least the tendency looks like that. What I am talking about is the fact that for years you have seen the Scandinavian micro beer scene evolve and grow steady with new Danish, Norwegian and Swedish micro breweries popping up each year.

But strangely enough it has been impossible to actually get hold off the beer between the countries. You were enjoying great new micros in Denmark but due to some reason you could not get a decent beer back home. It seemed odd by it was easier to get a great US-micro or a Belgian beer compared to you closest neighbors.

This was definitely the case between Denmark and Sweden. You have a close neighbor with great new beers but you had to pass the borders to actually get them. Why this was the case was a bit difficult to understand. Some explained that it was caused by different types of regulations, but that could not be the whole truth because why it then works for US-beers or other countries.

Others have explained that the breweries are so small so that they had to concentrate within their own market. And that is probably a big explanation, but also causes you to ask yourselves why it would be so difficult to sell a beer just a few miles between 2 cities just because we have a country border, and a country that should be so easy to export to.

The larger breweries actually instead did other varieties to the extreme where they export main street lager beers to countries like Denmark so that we the Swedes could buy them back, just because of the price. But you could not buy a great beer from the same country; just a Carlsberg and brewed in Sweden!

But then something changes.

You can not explain exactly when it actually happens, but it is small steps that you slowly notice and then suddenly something is different. What I mean is that suddenly you have seen the market to change. Not largely but at least for the better. These small changes that I have seen and has caused the market to change are as I see it;

1. Nøgne Ø being available as Christmas beer at Systembolaget in 2005\2006.

2. Also a short run of the Nøgne Øs Pale Ale an Amber ale at Systembolaget in 2006.

3. The Swedish\Danish beer match at OT in June 2007 (my blog entry), which made more people in Sweden being aware of the Danish and Swedish micro market

4. A returning sample of breweries from the beer match at Stockholm Beer in Oct 07

5. Nøgne Ø being sold by Brill & Co through Systembolaget during fall 07

6. Galatea starts to import; BB, Norrebro & Broeckhouse
Through these small steps and probably a few others that I have not seen or noticed myself you can actually get a decent micro brew from you closest neighbors.

Through Systembolaget(the Swedish Alcohol Retail Monopoly) and the so called "beställningssortimentet" you can now actually get beers from Nøgne (like; Nøgne Ø # 100!! (nr 89403)) (Brill & Co), Bryghuset Braunstein (BB), Noerrebro Bryggeri & Brøckhouse, all through Galatea.

In the better pubs like Bishops Arms, Oliver Twist (both Ølfabrikken and GB has been available after the summer) and Akkurat in Stockholm you can get the same beers.

This is not much if you actually know what is available in the micro market for each country, but it is at least something and represents a good collection of quality breweries. And if this is a trend we have something to look forward after.

I am not 100% sure but I also think that you can see the same trend in Norway and Denmark regarding Swedish beers. At least I have noticed that a brewery as Nils Oscar is available in Denmark through Ølbutikken in København and Dugges Ale- & Porterbryggeri has been available as draught version now since May 2007 over at "Den Tatoverede Enke" in Copenhagen. Dugges has actually made a special beer just for the Danish market and DTE in the form of; Enkens Brown Porter.

This is good trend and something that I think should be normal. Meaning that my personal opinion is that it should be natural to get a good micro beer from a neighborhood country and it should be no difference just because the beer is from Norway or Denmark.

Doing a comparison is that it is closer between Malmö Sweden and Copenhagen Denmark compared to Malmö and Stockholm or that it is very close between Oslo and Gothenburg.

So why should it be more difficult to get a beer from Norway in Gothenburg compared to a beer from the US or Belgium.

So now I am looking forward for some new great Norwegian micros, yes I know there are not so many out there, but those available are at least great.

So how about a beer from Haandbryggeriet in a pub close to me?

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