Nearly 250 different 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,” Anders Roås Stueland, a product advisor with national alcoholic beverage retailer Vinmonopolet, said to news agency NTB.
“There is also a lot more variation within the category today,” Stueland added.
‘Juleøl’ (Christmas beer) used to signify dark, under-fermented beer, but can now take the form of wheat beer, stout, bock and doppelbock, barley wine, red ale, IPA and double IPA, or dubbel, tripel and quadrupel.
Meanwhile, several breweries have begun experimenting with spices such as cinnamon, cloves, citrus peel and cardamom to add extra flavour to their Christmas beers.
Seasoning of Christmas beer is a relatively innovation in Norway, but is more common in Belgium, where hot, spicy beer – reminiscent of mulled wine or the Norwegian gløgg – is common 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 longer shelf life. The strongest versions can be kept for several years.