Amundsen Bryggeri, Passionfruit Pale
Named after a parrot, this passion fruit pale ale will provide ample refreshment for your adventures on the South Seas.
Please note: After an email chat with Geoffrey Jansen Van Vuuren (CEO of Amandsen Bryggeri) we were able to add some extra content. Enjoy.
Oslo-based Amundsen Bryggeri first appeared on our new beer radar sometime in 2017 when we spotted them on the lineup for the Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival. We’re big Scandi fans here at BeerBods so were surprised to learn that they had been part of Norway’s new beer scene since 2011, operating out of their British-inspired gastro style brewpub close to the harbour in Oslo.
In just eight years Amundsen has become Oslo’s largest and Norway’s fastest growing brewery. Graduating quickly from a tiny 5HL (ie. glorified homebrew) kit to 10HL kit two years later and now occupy a 42HL ‘brew plant’ complete with its own canning line. Not bad when you consider that Norway has a population of just over five million people and somewhat draconian laws governing the sale of alcohol. CEO of Amandsen, Geoffrey Jansen Van Vuuren tells us a wee bit more;
"In Feb 2017 we exported our first Liter of beer and within in one year, we have expanded that to 16 Countries and around 40 % of our production volume. The Brewery is owned and run by me with the backing of three local investors. We all share a common passion for beer and have been owning the brewery together since 2013."
From their vibrant, heavily detailed and slightly psychedelic (certainly trippy) artwork there’s a distinctly non-conformist and decidedly un-Scandinavian feel to Amundsen. You certainly get drawn into the design, looking for the meaning and inspiration behind the beer within. We asked Geoffrey about this too.
"When we split the brewpub and the brewery In 2013 we needed to do rebranding of the production brewery so people could distinguish locally between which products were brewed at the brewpub and which comes from the brewery. This in conjunction with our crazy alcohol laws (which means we are not allowed to talk about our beers or share information about them) meant that we needed to get the cans to speak for themselves. We did our rebranding through 442 Design in Edinburgh and they came up with a list of 4 artists. I immediately fell in love with the very peculiar style of one artist and agreed to work with him. Turned out he lived in Oslo also and I just felt an immediate connection with him. We work closely together on all the designs and we have a creative bond that few people share. He is able to put on paper my thoughts in his unique style everytime. In the 4 years we have worked together he has only once made changes to a drawing after presenting it to me. That’s magic if you ask me!"
Which brings us to this week’s beer. The inspiration behind which is a curious one. From the can:
“The esteemed explorer Van Vuuren is an integral part of the Amundsen team. So much so, that we named this beer after his parrot. The intrepid explorer found the recipe for Lorita in a glass bottle along the coast of the Summer Isles. It was said to be a recipe for happiness.”
Whilst the Van Vuuren in question is Geoffrey we thing that this a reference to the parrot on board the Kon-Tiki expedition of 1947. In this epic real-life story, five Norwegians and a Swede set sail by a primitive balsa wood raft across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian islands. Led by Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl this adventure was immortalised in print and film by Heyerdahl himself.
Apt then that this beer utilises passion fruit (originally from South America) and the lesser known Azacca™ hop (named after the Haitian god of agriculture). Whilst we wouldn’t recommend pairing this beer with “A journey on a raft in the South Seas” as the can would suggest we do think it would provide ample refreshment and, quite possibly, ward off any bouts of scurvy.
This beer, like half of Amundsen’s core beers, sits at a rather odd 4.7% abv. Somewhere in between the 5%+ standards of most modern ‘craft’ beers and the 4% ‘session’ ales. Odd, that is until you know that beers above 4.75% are only allowed to be sold in bars or by the state-run Vinmonopolet (translates as wine monopoly). In our eyes, this just adds to the drinkability of this beer. That and the 360 can may mean that you forget the glass and just go and enjoy this one outside.
There are over 150 craft breweries in Norway right now. We’re adding Amundsen to a list of places to visit that also includes Lervig, Ægir and Nøgne Ø. Now, who doesn’t want to go visit Norway and why don't we hear much more about beer there?
"All marketing of alcohol in Norway is strictly prohibited. We are not allowed to share any information about new products or in any way talk about what we do. This is a massive handicap for all breweries in Norway as you have to compete against international brands who can market Internationally through channels that can be picked up locally. On the other side, I think this really helps to promote quality and innovation locally as you need to work twice as hard to get your beer out and when it´s out you need to make sure that when people taste it they will want to come back for more."