Despite what P&O Cruises and the Mack Brewery would have you believe, the world’s northernmost brewery is not in Tromso. This was the case for many years but since 2015 you have to travel another 1,000km or so until you reach Svalbard, Norway’s archipelago situated in the Arctic Ocean halfway between Norway and the North Pole where the world’s most northerly beer is now brewed.
It is here, on Spitsbergen, the largest island, that former miner, Robert Johansen, pushed and pushed against the conservative local authorities until permission was granted to open the world’s most northerly brewery, Svalbard Bryggeri, in Longyearbyen, the island’s main town.
I’d love to tell you more. I’d love to have visited but I guess unless you are resident, have work commitments there or are a polar bear tourist, our chances of visiting the brewery are slim. The Svalbard Brewery website tells a full story much better that I could share without visiting and I recommend you take a read of the trials and tribulations of such a passionate and enthusiastic venture.
Fear not though, friends. There are only 2,500 residents of Svalbard, the world’s most northerly year-round settlement. To make the business a success the beer has to travel and although I have never seen it in England or Central Europe, I have discovered it in a bar in Tromso and also if you search hard enough in the government run liquor stores in Northern Norway, the Vinmonopolet. Seek it out, it’s worth the effort.
My main motivation for writing this short post, apart from calling out P&O and Mack for out-of-date information, is to share some of the photos taken of the beer in the sub-zero temperatures of Alta where our Northern Lights cruise eventually docked in anticipation of seeing the Aurora. We get very little snow in London so it’s easy for a city boy to get excited and I was pleased with the results using a simple camera in the crisp, fresh snow.
A couple of other snippets :
Although Svalbard lies at approx 75 degrees North it is still a further 700km until you reach the North Pole (North Pole brewery, anyone ?)
The midnight sun in Longyearbyen lasts from 19 April to 22 August and the dark period is from 27 October to 15 February.
See also Cruising for Craft Beer in Tromso