Aass Bryggeri - Bayer
- ABV: 4.7%
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 20
- Serving Temperature: 45-50° F
- Suggested Glassware: Flute, Pint Glass, Pilsner Glass
Pouring a pretty mahogany-like reddish brown and capped by, in the words of the brewery, a “café au lait” colored head, Aass Bayer certainly looks inviting. “Bayer” is a term akin to the descriptor “Bavarian”, a nod to the dark “dunkel” lagers which emanate from Munich and the surrounding region. Look for this dark lager to offer up notes of caramel, bread crust, hints of coffee, chocolate, and hay, plus a distinct fruity character underneath it all. Hallertau noble hops add a classic touch of earth and spice. On the palate, the toasty, bready aroma comes through big in the flavor, as well, bolstered by just a touch of sweetness. The mild hop bitterness offers the perfect counterpoint, balancing this sessionable 4.7% ABV beer nicely and drying it out in the crisp finish. Flavorful without heaviness, Aass Bayer is a food-friendly beer which will match well with grilled or roasted meats (the brewery recommends rabbit, beef, lamb, and venison), or a snack of your favorite cheeses. We think a grilled chicken sandwich with cheddar or Swiss and a lightly sweet barbecue sauce would hit the spot, too. Skål!
Located in the city of Drammen (current population ~63,000), along a river of the same name, lies Aass Bryggeri, Norway’s oldest active brewery. Originally founded by Ole Pehrson in 1834 and sold to Halvor Ellingsen in 1842, the company was initially involved in several industries in addition to brewing, including baking, household goods, and timber, which was floated down the river from the rich nearby forests. The Aass family comes into the picture after 16-year-old Poul Lauritz Aass, from a farming family living in the village of Skotselv (current population ~700), made his way to Drammen to start his adult life. After trade school, he and a partner bought the brewery business in 1860, and within six years he was the sole owner.
After Poul’s death in 1904, ownership of the brewery passed to his children, with his son, Jens, taking over operations. Educated in the art and science of brewing in Germany, Jens set about modernizing the brewery, introducing machinery to the brewhouse and replacing horses with motor vehicles for local distribution.
The third generation, Detlev, took over from his father around the time of World War II. Despite various hardships including rationing and a multitude of material shortages, the brewery survived, and in 1957 Aass gained a bottling license for Coca Cola which continued all the way until 2000. Detlev’s youngest son, Terje, took over the brewery in 1979, ushering in an era of expansion and export growth. The fifth and current generation, Christian August Knudsen Aass, took over in 2013.
Aass Bryggeri is one of just a handful of independent family breweries remaining in Norway. They employ around 100 workers who craft a fairly wide array of beverages. In addition to their main beer business, Aass produces cider, mineral water, and aquavit, a spiced liquor which is a Scandinavian specialty.
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