More ales for Jul

Christmas beers more numerous and better than ever in Norway this year

The Local


Photo: Anette Kirkeby/Creative Commons
Juleøl is no longer just dark underfermented beer.

Christmas beer is no longer just a dark and underfermented seasonal beverage that appears on Norwegian shelves in November and December.

Nearly 250 types of Christmas beer from both Norwegian and foreign breweries can now be purchased during the festive season (and in the weeks leading up to it).

“Many new brands are being launched, and we have seen a huge increase in the range of products in recent years,” said Anders Roås Stueland, a product adviser with national alcoholic beverage retailer Vinmonopolet.

“There is also a lot more variation within the category today,” Stueland added.

Juleøl used to signify dark, underfermented beer but can now take the form of wheat beer, stout, bock and doppelbock, barley wine, red ale, IPA and double IPA, or double, triple and quadruple.

Meanwhile, several breweries have begun experimenting with spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, citrus peel and cardamom, to add extra flavor to their Christmas beers.

Seasoning of Christmas beer is a relatively new innovation in Norway, but is more common in Belgium, where hot, spicy beer—reminiscent of mulled wine or the Norwegiangløgg—is common during the festive season.

Christmas beer has been brewed in Norway for over 1,500 years. The seasonal drink was banned during World War II, but the tradition was resumed in the mid-1950s.

Traditional Christmas beer is usually stored longer than other types before being released for sale, but it also has a longer shelf life. The strongest versions can be kept for several years.

This article was originally published on The Local.

This article originally appeared in the November 29, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.