We, the small exclusive group of people behind the Scandinavian Brewers’ Review have for a while now been working hard to re-vitalize the magazine, which we have openly described in my editorials and in other articles on an ongoing basis. Also in this issue we have chosen to bring a separate article – “New Times Ahead for the Scandinavian Brewers’ Review” – on the status of our dialogue with our primary owners, the Danish Master Brewers’ Guild, with the aim of bringing the SBR into the highest league of international beer & brewing periodicals.
But already before the ‘rejuvenation’ of the board of the Danish Master Brewers’ Guild, and the re-opening of the constructive dialogue with us at the SBR, we ourselves decided to take some very specific steps in order to bring us closer to – make ourselves more relevant in other words – our core readers, the brewers in the Nordic and Baltic regions. The most tangible of these steps was a decision to make the coming issues of the SBR – starting with this one – theme issues digging a bit deeper into the beer and brewery scene of the individual countries.
So hereby a warm welcome to the first ever country themed issue of the SBR, and as apparent, we’ve chosen Norway as the first country to be the subject. The coming two issues, Nos. 3 and 4 in 2019 we plan to devote to Sweden and Denmark, respectively, and we hope to open up 2020 with a Finland theme issue. All, obviously, provided that we will be able to source sufficient material from the ‘theme countries’. So why Norway first? Well, besides the obvious counter-question of ‘why not?’, I allow myself to make the claim that Norway is as a matter of fact the most interesting of the Nordic beer- and brewing scenes right now. During the past decade, the number of craft breweries in Norway has exploded, the number of craft beers on the market as well, and the sales have also generally soared during this period – all brilliantly described by Petter Nome in his article ‘A Norwegian Fairy Tale” elsewhere in this issue. The Norwegian beer scene is absolutely vibrant at this point in time, and an aspect of the Norwegian beer revolution that has fascinated me – and, trust me, many other beer experts and beer writers world-wide – is the way that the ‘new’ craft brewing culture in Norway has been able to embrace the wealth of traditional Norwegian brewing.
Norwegians are a ‘no nonsense’ people with a confidence, boosted by the amazing surge in the Norwegian economy during the past 3 – 4 decades, that knows almost no bounderies. At home here in Denmark, my good friends and colleagues in the ‘New Nordic Beer’ movement have been endlessly complaining about the lack of locally produced specialty malts with ‘terroir’ qualities, and little has happened. But what have the Norwegians – with the help of a small number of dedicated foreigners – done? Well, they’ve of course just leapt straight into the practical work: If we’re missing locally malted grain based on locally grown cultivars, then let’s just go ahead and make some! In this context, we’re thrilled to bring you the story of Bonsak Gårdsmalteri. This article is written by Dr. Tyson Weaver – one of the aforementioned foreigners – and I’d like to take the opportunity to convey my warmest thanks to Tyson for his efforts with respect to the sourcing of the Norway themed articles in this issue. If we were able to find just a handful of Tysons out there the long term success of the SBR would be ensured. Thus, we keep looking for them!
Happy Norway reading!
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