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Harpoon European Trip: Final Day

May 9, 2011

Friday – Train to Bergen/Bergen

This blog entry is from Chris, Regional Sales Manager for Harpoon, reporting live from the annual Harpoon Employee European beer culture trip to Scandinavia. To learn more about the Harpoon Trip to Europe, read this post first.

For our last full day on the trip, we took the train back up from Flam to Myrdal and then from Myrdal on to Bergen. Bergen is a beautiful port town, smaller than Oslo and Stockhom, but (whether because it was a Friday or because of the nature of the town), it seemed lively. There was a light rain coming as we dragged out luggage from the train station to our first stop (the first bar we saw) for a few beers. Hansa is the local brewery for Bergen, and one of the largest in the country. Their flagship is in some ways a typical European pilsner, but a better one than some of the others we tried. After two of those. We were ready to get rid of our bags and explore the town.

We left our hotel and headed along the water towards the local fish market, where we sampled some local delicacies (whale among them) before grabbing some ice-cold beers from a bucket and settling in for lunch. In Norway, as in Sweden, there are beers that can be bought anywhere (by anyone) at a certain alcohol level, beers that can be bought in grocery stores at another, and beers that must be sold through the state monopoly retail system or on premise. We washed down some chicken McNuggets on Monday night (after ‘forgetting’ to eat earlier) with 2.2% beer in a McDonalds. The beers we enjoyed at the fish market were similar strength, and once we were finished with our meal we were ready to move on.

We stopped for another Hansa before we took the trolley to the top of the mountain that hovers over Bergen. Once at the top we decided that the lack of beer on the trolley could mean only one thing – we needed to have a beer at the bar at the top of the mountain. As we did so, Jon Schwartz suggested that we make the rest of the afternoon more interesting by creating and ‘Amazing Race’-style event on our way to the next stop (the Waldemars brewpub, owned and operated by Hansa). We quickly split into teams and were off down the mountain, traversing roads, dirt paths, and possibly some backyards before we arrived at the brewpub. When my team (Jon, Blake and myself) arrived outside the brewpub, we were pretty confident that we had moved at a good pace and might be the first ones there. As it turned out, we were beat both by a team of Dan Kenrary, Charlie Storey, and Sam Bailey, as well as the team of Kyle Foote and Charlie Cummings. Luckily for us, however, we managed to beat Greg Moon and Ed Bardsely of the Boston sales team, which mean that the next round of beers was on them. First, however, we got to sample some of the beers at the brewpub.

Though the brewpub was actually closed (and is only open for private events, in fact), there was a gentleman there who was kind enough to pour us some samples of their Hefeweizen, Pilsner, Brown, and Stout, all of which has a nice balance of flavor and drinkability. Properly refreshed, we were back on the road to tease each other relentlessly about the race and to find another place to have a beer. We found a beer graden that had come recommended to us and Ed was off to make good on the bet with – not sutprisingly – more Hansa. Note the lack of beer diversity; ill comment on it later. It was a nice break before we were off to Naboen, where we enjoyed some other great beers and arguably the best meal we had on the trip. Over some Nogne O IPAs as well as some of the Haan breweries offerings, we replay some of our favorite moments of the trip, relaxed, and truly enjoyed each other’s company.

On the way back towards down we cam across a karaoke bar, so we wandered in and saw a collection of singers, some good (including our very own Greg), some bad, some simply bizarre. We split off for a bit from there before heading back to the hotel to get some rest before catching a morning shuttle to the airport, and back home.

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