Norwegian Beer Brands
Credit: Bernt Rostad

The ultimate guide to Norwegian beer brands: The best beer in Norway

Despite restrictive alcohol laws that levy a heavy tax on any drink that falls into that category, beer is pretty popular in Norway. And while many Norwegian beer brands haven’t made their way to various other countries, you’ll find plenty worth considering when you visit the country. 

You will find a broad range of Norwegian beers, ranging from standard pilsner to more recent craft beer brands. Many of the drinks are available in Vinmonopolet shop, which is the country’s state-run liquor store. On top of that, you’ll find plenty in the country’s popular bars and pubs. 

Each region in Norway has its own favorite brand, and in this article, you’ll discover the best Norwegian beer brands to try. And so, without further ado, let’s dive in.

Norwegian Beer Brands
Credit: James Cridland

Ringnes 

Ringnes is one of the largest brands selling beer in Norway. It’s also one of the oldest, having been formed in 1886. The brand is most famous for its pilsner, which is a mainstay in most pubs, bars, and restaurants — along with Vinmonopolet stores — throughout the country. 

For the first 112 years of existence, Ringnes was family-owned. However, it has since been privately owned by various companies; today, it’s part of the mighty Danish brand Carlsberg Group

In its early days, Ringnes produced beer from a brewery in Grünnerløkka — a former working-class Oslo district that has today become a haven for hipsters. 

Norwegian Beer Brands
Credit: Bernt Rostad

Nøgne Ø

Nøgne Ø is another of the most popular Norwegian beer companies, and — like Ringnes — it has a huge presence domestically. The company is much newer than the first brand we mentioned on this list, having only formed in 2002. 

Nøgne Ø has fully embraced the craft beer movement, and most of its drinks fall into that category. You will find several flavors available, including dark ale, Belgian-style beers, and IPAs — plus porter and more. 

You will find Nøgne Ø beers in several Vinnmonoplet stores throughout Norway, and you can also visit its brewery in Grimstad for a tour. In addition to Norway, Nøgne Ø is popular in other countries worldwide. 

Norwegian Beer Brands
Credit: Bernt Rostad

Ægir 

Like Nøgne Ø, Ægir is a craft beer brand and one of the most popular Norwegian breweries. It’s located in the picturesque town of Flåm, which isn’t far from the historic mountain city of Bergen.

Ægir produces a huge variety of beer types, including Christmas beer, porter, sour beer, and IPA. You can also try numerous flavors, including raspberry, mango, and peach. The brewery’s drinks are available at various stores and bars throughout the country, along with at its microbrewery in Flåm. 

In addition to Norway, Ægir distributes its products to various other countries. These include Sweden, Finland, the UK, Germany, and Italy. 

Norwegian Beer Brands
Credit: Carsten R D

Svalbard Bryggeri

If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, the remote island of Svalbard is probably as close as you’re going to get to the North Pole. Known for having more polar bears than people, over 2,000 people live in this glorious archipelago. 

But did you know that Svalbard is home to the world’s northernmost craft beer brewery? Svalbard Bryggeri is a relatively new brewery, having opened in 2015; it had to wait for Norway’s Parliament to permit commercially brewing alcoholic drinks on the island. 

Svalbard Bryggeri sells various kinds of beer, including wheat beer, IPA, and stout. 16% of the water used in its drinks comes from a Svalbard glacier; you can visit the brewery for a beer tasting tour when on the island.

Norwegian Beer Brands
Credit: Manxruler

Mack 

Until recently, Mack held the prestigious title of being the northernmost brewery on the globe. The company was founded in 1877, and it’s still a popular Norwegian brewery to this day. After moving its production to Balsfjord in Northern Norway, it lost its northernmost title by 50 meters. 

Mack has a significant selection of beers, including fatøl (draft beer) and pilsner; we’ll talk more about one of its brands in a separate section in this article. Besides its alcoholic beverages, the company also produces various soft drinks. 

If you want to try Mack’s beers for yourself, consider visiting Ølhallen in Tromsø. Norway’s largest Arctic city has the most bars per capita in the country, and Ølhallen is an ideal place to start your evening. 

Norwegian Beer Brands
Credit: Reinhardheydt

Hansa Bryggeri 

Hansa Bryggeri is one of the best-known beer brands from Norway, and it has been a part of the scene here since 1891. The company is headquartered in Bergen, and it has built a strong presence for itself in both Western Norway and further afield. 

Despite being one of the oldest beer brands in Norway, you will find a broad range of interesting styles alongside its older stuff. The company has embraced the craft beer revolution by making its own Indian Pale Ales, and you will find several IPA types. 

In addition to IPA, Hansa Bryggeri produces Christmas beer, along with standard pilsner and draft beers. Today, the company is part of Hansa Borg.

Norwegian Beer Brands
Credit: Jørgen Schyberg

Aass 

If you thought that the name was a little inappropriate, don’t worry; it’s pronounced “oar-ss” and often spelled with the Scandinavian “å” character instead of two ordinary A’s. Either way, Aass’ place on our list of brands selling beer from Norway is very much justified. 

Aass gets its name from the family that created the brand, and it has been in operation since 1834 — making it a well-established name in the Norwegian market. The brand sells a broad range of drinks, including ordinary pilsner. 

You will also discover bock, Christmas beer, and non-alcoholic drinks. 

If you plan to visit Norway, you can take a tour of the Aass brewery. It’s in Drammen, which is an easily accessible day trip from the capital Oslo

Norwegian Beer Brands
Credit: LERVIG

Lervig 

Stavanger is well-known for its crucial role in the lucrative Norwegian gas sector, and many people living in the city work in this particular industry. But it’s one of Norway’s hidden gems, with friendly people, wooden houses, and a great nightlife scene. 

As you might expect, various Norwegian beer brands have become drawn to the latter of those. 

Lervig is a craft beer brewery and one of the most flamboyant brands on our list. The company produces several flavors, including sours, alcohol-free drinks, and stout. You can easily notice it from the brightly-colored cans. 

If you want to try Lervig beer in Norway, consider taking a trip to Stavanger. Between day trips to its stunning islands and the iconic Lysefjord, you will find a brewpub in the city — along with another in Bergen. 

Norwegian Beer Brands
Credit: Bernt Rostad

Grünerløkka Brygghus 

If you visit Oslo on a weekday, you might feel that it’s like a ghost town during the evening. But on the weekends, all of that changes; the Norwegian capital is a surprisingly excellent party destination, even if going out here is incredibly expensive. 

Grünnerløkka is arguably the best district to go out in, and one brand worth trying is Grünnerløkka Brygghus. 

Grünnerløkka Brygghus produces numerous types of beer, including the Løkka Pale Ale and Bringebææærliner Weisse — a berry-flavored wheat beer that takes inspiration from Germany. 

If you want to try its drinks for yourself, head to Grünnerløkka Brygghus. The pub is on Thorvald Meyers Gate, a street with several other drinking establishments lining its edges. 

Norwegian Beer Brands
Credit: Bernt Rostad

Inderøy Gårdsbryggeri 

Inderøy Gårdsbryggeri was founded in 2007 and is one of the most dynamic Norwegian beer brands on our list. The company has a huge selection of beers to choose from, each ranging in percentage in taste.

Examples of what you can find include the Farmannsøl stout, Sødøl English best bitter, and Nisseøl Christmas beer. 

Inderøy Gårdsbryggeri’s branding follows all the themes of Scandinavian minimalism that you might expect. Its bottles are clean in design, with easy-to-read fonts and simple colors. 

If you want to try the brewery’s beer for yourself, you can join a beer tasting tour; Inderøy is around two hours away from Trondheim by car. 

Balder Brygg

Balder is one of the best-known names in Norse mythology, and Balder Brygg captures Norway’s Viking spirit perfectly. All of its bottles feature more of a timeless design, with various drawings related to Norse mythology appearing on the front. 

Balder Brygg produces a good selection of beers for you to choose from. You can enjoy a selection of Christmas beers, in addition to various ones inspired by Germany — and a couple that take inspiration from Bergen. 

The brewery is based in Leikanger, a small town in Vestland county; it’s around two hours away from Bergen if you drive. 

Norwegian Beer Brands
Credit: Bernt Rostad

St. Hallvards

St. Hallvards is one of the newer brands selling beer in Norway, having only been on the scene since 2014. Its microbrewery is located on Kalbakken, which is in the northern suburbs of Oslo. Each year, the brewery produces more than 500,000 liters of alcoholic beverages. 

If you want to try St. Hallvards’ beers, you can find various flavors in Norway’s Vinmonopolet stores. You will find German-inspired flavors, in addition to brown ales and more. If you’re not up for drinking something alcoholic, you’ll also find alcohol-free versions. 

You can also visit the brewery if you happen to find yourself in Oslo and want something a little more unique to do. 

Norumbryggeriet 

Norumbryggeriet is one of the smaller Norwegian breweries on our list, and it focuses primarily on the domestic market. In 2019, the family-owned institution won Gold at the European Beer Challenge in London. Its porter strong won that, with another of its creations claiming the silver award. 

You will find a good selection of beer at Norumbryggeriet. Drinks include porter, special Easter beers, and IPA — plus more. Some of its drinks are available in Vinmonopolet or at selected restaurants. 

You can also visit the brewery in Sørum, which is in Akershus County and not far outside of Oslo. 

Nøisom

The Nøisom beer brand is from the beautiful town of Fredrikstad, which is one of the most popular day trips from Oslo. The brewery has been around since 2012, and it has made its mark on the Norwegian market during that time. 

Nøisom’s beer takes inspiration from many parts of the world. For example, you’ll find Blanc which is inspired by Paris, and various pale ales that took off globally and have remained popular in the US. 

You will find several interesting types of beer with Nøisom, such as its chocolate stout — and its raspberry and chili-flavored stout. In addition to finding the beer throughout Norway, you can also make your desired purchase online — but you have to be based in Fredrikstad for that. 

Eik og Tid 

Eik og Tid is one of the various Norwegian beer brands in and around the Oslo area, and it was founded in 2016. The company prides itself on making what it calls “beer with a sense of place”, and its founders have traveled throughout the Nordics and Baltics to look at what they could do differently. 

You will find various interesting Eik og Tid flavors. For example, you can try the Krypto — which features a fruit flavor without fruits being used. Another worth considering is the Skyr — a sour-tasting drink with an infusion of various flavors. 

Eik og Tid goes out and forages to find flavors for its beers before putting everything together in its brewery. 

7 Fjell 

Bergen is known as the city of seven mountains, and it gets this nickname from the peaks that surround it. The chic 7 Fjell beer brand hails from just outside Norway’s second-largest city, and the company takes inspiration from Bergen’s rich beer heritage — along with various things that have been done in England for centuries. 

7 Fjell produces several bottled beers, such as its old ale and ginger beer. You will find a mixture of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and — in addition to its bottles — you’ll find various draft beers on tap. 

If you find yourself in Norway, you can visit the Brewery in Bønes on the last Friday of each month. It’s a 15-minute drive from the center of Bergen. 

Norwegian Beer Brands
Credit: Bernt Rostad

Haandbryggeriet 

Håndbryggeriet is another of the best Norwegian beer brands that have burst onto the scene in the 21st century. The company was founded in 2005, with two of its original four founders retiring in 2016. 

Håndbryggeriet sells a wide selection of beers that vary in taste and alcohol percentages. For example, you can find Kittens, Puppies, and Hops — a fruity drink with an 8% alcohol volume. 

If that’s not your thing, consider giving the Sure Thing! stout — which is made from coconut and hazelnut and has 7% volume. 

The Håndbryggeritet brewery is in Drammen, and you will find its beers throughout the country — as well as in Sweden, Denmark, and the US.

Geiranger Bryggeri 

The Geirangerfjord is one of the biggest fjords in Norway, and it’s also one of the most picturesque. Its surrounding regions are filled with creativity, from tourism to beer production. Geiranger is one of those breweries producing beer from Norway that falls into this category. 

Geiranger Bryggeri has a small selection of beers that it has distributed throughout the country. Regardless of your interests and tastes, you’ll probably find something worth checking out. 

The Sølfest brown ale is one popular drink, and you might also want to try the Helvetesjølet Belgian dark beer — and perhaps consider attempting to pronounce it after a few. Geiranger Bryggeri sells beverages in several Norwegian supermarkets, along with Vinmonopolet stores and various other places. 

Norwegian Beer Brands

Isbjørn

Isbjørn means polar bear in Norwegian. You won’t find any of these iconic beasts on the mainland; only in Svalbard. Nonetheless, the polar bear is probably the most symbolic animal in Norway — which probably comes down to the country’s close relationship with Arctic exploration throughout the years. 

Isbjørn is a beer produced by Mack Brewery, which we mentioned earlier in this article. You will find the drink in various bars throughout the country, and it’s especially prevalent in Tromsø. 

The Isbjørn beer is a pilsner, and you can get it in both bottle form and on a draft beer tap in the pub. You’ll find it at a large number of Vinmonopolet stores throughout the country. 

Norwegian Beer Brands
Credit: Bernt Rostad

Amundsen

Another brewery from Oslo to make our list is Amundsen, which tussles with Lervig for being the most outlandish brand in this article. The brewery sells a wide range of core beers, which you can get year-round. 

These include the Hazyday Hero session IPA, the Apocalyptic Thunder Juice New England IPA, and the Everyday Hero new world IPA.

Its seasonal range includes hazy IPAs like Purple Dragon, in addition to the Christmas Tart Christmas beer and Ashes to Ashes — also part of its Christmas beer selection. 

If you want to show your support for the brand, you can also purchase hoodies, hats, and more. 

Cervisiam 

Cervisiam was founded in 2015 and — like Amundsen — has its roots in the Norwegian capital. And like Amundsen, Cervisiam is a brand with huge intentions in Norway’s market (and outlandish branding to help set it apart). 

The brand refers to itself as “craft weird”, which gives you a bit of an idea of what you’re getting. You will find artwork on its cans that is interesting to say the least, and it’s almost certain to stick out to you if you go somewhere looking for it. 

You will find Cerviaism’s beers in various Vinmonopolet stores throughout Norway. 

Krecher 

Krecher calls itself “Kai-Juice for Adults”, and it’s one of the newer Norwegian beer brands to make our list. The company was founded in 2020 by three people with a strong friendship and a passion for beer; two are Norwegian, while one is from Canada. 

If you want to try Krecher’s selection of beers, you will find plenty to choose from. You can give Berliners a go if you want, in addition to IPAs and dark ales. If you’re into fruity beers, you’ll find a selection of those to go through as well. 

Krecher is stocked in Vinmonopolet stores throughout Norway, and you’ll also find a couple of bars in Oslo — plus one in Tromsø — where you can purchase its drinks from. 

Norwegian Beer Brands
Credit: Peter Fiskerstrand

Grans Bryggeri

Grans Bryggeri is a brewery based in Sandefjord, which is around 90 minutes from Oslo and known for its airport serving budget flights to the Norwegian capital. The brewery has been around since 1899, making it one of the older additions to our list. 

Grans Bryggeri sells various beer types, many of which are more modern flavors. For example, you will find various forms of IPAs — in addition to pilsners and multiple Christmas beers. 

Alongside its beer titles, Grans Bryggeri sells other drinks — such as sparkling water. 

Arendals 

Arendal is a pretty town not far from Oslo, and Arendals Bryggeri is the second-oldest in the country. You will find various beers available for purchase, including an impressive selection of Christmas beer. On top of that, red and yellow beers — plus others — are available. 

Arendals Bryggeri is almost one of the most popular water sellers in Norway, and you can also purchase energy drinks — plus much more. 

Arendals Bryggeri beers are available in various Vinmonoplet stores throughout the country; they’re well worth trying if you happen to visit close to Christmas. 

You’ll find a surprisingly large number of great Norwegian beer brands, even if beer in Norway is expensive 

So, there you have it — that’s the extensive list of our favorite Norwegian beer brands. The country might lag a little behind fellow Nordic country Denmark in terms of popularity, but the beverages on our list are well worth giving a try when you visit Norway. At the very least, you’ll enjoy a unique experience. 

Norway’s beer brands are available in various bars, pubs, and restaurants throughout the country — in addition to multiple Vinmonopolet stores. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can go to one of the breweries to try them in an interesting environment. 

Norwegians are certainly partial to beer and Norwegian ale, and you can see this in the nightlife of major cities like Bergen and Oslo. But when they don’t have a drink, you might perceive them as shy. What’s the truth, then? You can read all about Norwegian stereotypes here.

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