Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Drinks Around the World: Mack Pilsner Beer and Midnight Sun (Norway)

Seeing the midnight sun seemed a forlorn hope. The clouds appeared entrenched across the bright evening sky, a reminder that Narvik doesn't see the sun set for almost two months in summer.

I settled into a quiet bar for an evening drink to see if the cloud might lift and allow the sun to peek through at midnight. What could be more appropriate than a bottle of Mack Pilsner, brewed in nearby Tromso, the world's most northerly brewery and most in the bar appeared to be tempted to this choice.

When thinking beer, Norway is not the first country that leaps to mind with the Scandinavian country's habit of heavily taxing alcoholic beverages. But the Mack Pilsner was a refreshing ale, lightly coloured with a tasty hops flavour. While the budget only extended to a single beer, a conversation with a travelling Swede stretched the clock to 11 o'clock but the clouds continued to mask my goal. Refreshed but disappointed, I trudged off to bed.

Next morning, I awoke to the sun streaming through the window in the generous gap in the deteriorated curtains. A little disoriented with the mind slowly gathering some semblance of rational thought but leaping out of bed anyway, I thought I'd missed the inclusive breakfast. Quickly changing and packing stuff in my bag, I glimpsed through the window. With my eyes slowly adjusting for the bright light, there wasn't a single sole on the streets. Narvik was a quiet town but this was ridiculous. Finally gaining some alertness and checking my watch, I was alrmed to discover it was 3:00am.

Feeling stupid, I sheepishly went back to bed, kind of wondering if being awoken by the sun at 3:00am counts as viewing the midnight sun. Whether your goal is to see the sun at midnight, if you ever venture to the northerly reaches of stunningly scenic Norway, make sure you sample a Mack Beer and drink a toast to eternal summer light. Skål.
At the start of every month, Travel Wonders highlights a characteristic drink experienced on his travel. The only previous beer in this series of over a year is the Belgian classic monastery beer, Chimay.


Sherry Ott said...

I LOVE your drinks around the world posts! I always get excited to try something new...and I've never had a Mack Pilsner...but will look for it now!

Wanderluster said...

Hmm, Mack Pilsner! It's always good to learn about a new world beer.

Mark H said...

@sherry: Thank you. I've only had it once but it brings a nice memory of hunting the midnight sun.

@wanderluster: I don't think it is very widespread which is a shame as it is a nice touch of Norway.

jessiev said...

love this - your writing makes me want to be there!

Donna Hull said...

What a great story. The midnight sun can be quite disorienting. On my trip to Norway, even though I had the blackout curtains pulled across the window, my body still knew the sun was shining outside. Next time, I'll stop fighting going to sleep and drink a Mack Pilsner.

Mark H said...

@jessiev: Thank you

@donna: Really long days are disorienting. It is amazing how much your brain needs to be retrained in these places of long or neverending days.

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