In fact, the Florida resident has made a career of it. Matt R. Coben spends his days filling seats and emptying kegs as the Taproom Manager for the Funky Buddha Brewery. While he is constantly juggling various administrative tasks, he maintains a passion for innovative, craft beer.
But Matt R. Coben‘s passion for beer bubbles over into his personal life as well. As an avid traveler, he’s made it his mission to drink up at the most interesting breweries around the world. Call it a pursuit of “hoppy-ness.”
His most recent stop has been Norway. With a rich brewing tradition that dates back to the Vikings, the country truly raises the bar. With this in mind, Matt R. Coben pours over these four craft breweries worthy of a “cheers.”
Just to get to Ægir, you’ll have to traverse one of the world’s largest and deepest fjords. So, it’s fitting that this elevated brewery is named after the god of the sea in Old Norse mythology. The pub leans heavily into the Viking aesthetic, from the driftwood walls to the dragon head motif. Throw back a few pits beside the oversized fireplace or sprawl out on a fur rug. Although its award-winning brews are the toast of the town, Matt Coben encourages guests to sample the aquavit. This is a distilled spirit produced primarily in Scandinavia.
While other breweries were adrift, Nøgne Ø floated ahead. Meaning “naked island,” the name was pulled from a poem, designed to symbolize the uncharted path taken by the brand’s founders to create a new beer that deviated from traditional lagers. For them, it was about experimenting with new flavors, ingredients, and seasonal concoctions. The result of this never-ending journey has been critical acclaim and fanfare. Not only is Nøgne Ø one of the country’s leading suppliers of craft beer, but it’s also been consistently rated as one of the best breweries in the world.
Grünerløkka Brygghus is the microbrewery you’ve been waiting for. But there isn’t anything small about this Oslo staple. In addition to the relaxed atmosphere and English-infused pub food, the brewery serves more than 20 beers on tap. While there are a few imports and other local faves on the menu, most of this selection is brewed in-house. Matt Coben recommends the Bringebææærliner Weisse. Although it might be a mouthful to say, this raspberry-forward sour is even better for your taste buds.
If you’re craving a cold, refreshing beer, simply head north. And don’t stop. Svalbard Brewery proudly boasts that it’s the world’s northernmost craft brewery. But, as Matt Coben points out, this distinction presents some challenges. Svalbard Brewery, nestled at the tip of the North Pole, is only accessible by boat during the summer. Schedule a tour in advance to learn how the production team overcomes and embraces these unique obstacles. And, as an added bonus, enjoy the awe-inspiring, Arctic scenery.