Among the numerous fjords in the Stjørdal region of Norway, you’ll find a thriving community of farmhouse brewers. In fact, the region is renowned for them. What distinguishes a farmhouse brewer as a “farmhouse” brewer in this area is their practice of malting their own grains.
This age-old tradition is carried out in a “såinnhus,” many of which are collectively owned to preserve this integral aspect of regional brewing heritage. Interestingly, all the malts are smoked over Alderwood, a material also commonly used for smoking various foods and meats. It’s this smoky process that imparts the characteristic dark ruddy-brown color and uniquely rich smoky flavor to the beers of Stjørdal, also known as Stjørdalsøl. 💨 🪵 🔥
Bringing this obscure farmhouse tradition to Quebec is Trevor Livingstone, who crafted his own Stjørdalsøl at Livingstone Brewing. Similar to its Norwegian counterparts, it utilizes malts smoked over Alderwood and is fermented with the Voss strain of Kveik yeast, also of Norwegian origin. 🌾 💨
The result is something exceptionally unique on the Quebec beer scene. It greets you with powerful aromas of sweet wood smoke, complemented by hints of candied bacon, roasted chestnuts, and some fruity Kveik esters. The taste is an intriguing blend of intense fruitiness and smokiness, which surprisingly harmonize.
You’ll discover notes of berries, including juniper, apple, and orange, all resting on a foundation of rich caramel, yet it avoids becoming overly cloying or sweet. Surprisingly, the body is light and easy-drinking, especially when compared to a similar Amber Ale. The smoky character persists all the way to the last sip, making it a bold choice, but as you savor it, the balance becomes exquisite, enhancing the sweet, fruity brew with delightful smoky accents. 🫐 🔥 🍮
As always, Trevor has the remarkable ability to transport you to distant places and immerse you in their ancient brewing traditions, even if you’ve never encountered them before! 👌🏻💯 👏🏻
For more information on Stjørdalsøl, be sure to read the blog posts from Les Coureurs des Boires about his visit to the region to sample all the beers back in 2016! 👀
Originally from England, Mike Davis came to Quebec ten years ago to study history. During this time he fell in love with the microbreweries of Quebec, which reminded him of English pubs. Now, he holds a Ph.D in History from McGill University, but works in the beer world as the Brand Ambassador for Microbrasserie 4 Origines.