About the festival

Norsk Kornølfestival is the only festival (as far as we know) that is dedicated to traditional farmhouse ale.

The beginning of the festival was in 2015 when William Holden decided there needed to be a festival for the traditional farmhouse ale. He thought right place for it had to be Hornindal, since Hornindal is a major centre for the traditional brewing in north-western Norway.

William started a Non-profit organization for the festival and recruited a board for the organization to help him arrange the festival. He chaired the board himself, and did most of the organization.

The first festival was held in 2016, and was relatively small. The demonstration brew in the hall was a local kornøl, demonstrated by Ståle Raftevold and Lars Andreas Tomasgård. There were only 10 home brewers, but a decent number of attendees, and the festival actually made a small profit. That gave the board confidence enough to try again.

The second festival was in 2017, and this time the profit from 2016 was used to invite Richard Preiss to talk about his kveik research, and Martyn Cornell to blog about it, in order to spread the word abroad. One demonstration brew was a stone beer, brewed by Simonas Gutautas and Vykintas Motuza from Lithuania. Another was a stjørdalsøl brewed by Jørund Geving, who showed how to use an old laundry machine to do a long, circulating mash.

Outside the festival there was even a demonstration of stjørdal-style malt drying, with a såinn custom-built for the festival.

Reimund Geving demonstrating malting on a stjørdal-style såinn.

The third festival was in 2018, and was the largest one yet in terms of the number of attendees and home brewers. The demonstration brew was a keptinis, brewed by Simonas Gutautas and Ričardas Počius from Lithuania.

About a month after the festival William Holden died of cancer, prompting some changes in the festival board. The board decided to carry on the festival without William

The board

The festival is a non-profit organization, so any profit from a year’s festival is used to arrange the next year’s festival. The board is unpaid, but the members have some of their expenses covered.

Amund Polden Arnesen

Amund is the head brewer at Eik og Tid in Oslo. He is the festival’s accountant, and handles everything to do with money.

Lars Marius Garshol

Lars Marius took over as chair after William. He has written a little about this decision on his blog.

Eirik Hoem

Eirik is a software engineer living in Ørsta, near Hornindal. He joined the board in 2019, and is responsible for the kitchen serving food at the festival.

Gard Severin Mek

Gard is William Holden’s brother. He lives in Ålesund and handles accomodation, the volunteers, and many other odd jobs.

Ståle Raftevold

Ståle works in the offshore oil industry. He lives in Hornindal, where he’s brewed traditional kornøl for several decades. (He’s the brother of Terje Raftevold.) Ståle takes care of setting up the hall for the festival and cleaning up the mess afterwards, as well as innumerable other tasks best handled by a local.

Roar Sandodden

Roar is a freshwater biologist by day, and helps the festival with communications with the commercial breweries and much else. Roar is a farmhouse brewer and maltster in Stjørdal.

Stig Seljeset

Stig comes from Hornindal, and has brewed kornøl since he was old enough to do it. He’s best known as the original owner of kveik #22 Stalljen. He joined the board in 2018, and helps Ståle with local tasks. He’s also responsible for the brewing demonstration held before and after the festival.

Påmelding for frivillige åpnet

Vi i styret mener at kornølfestivalen er ett av de viktigste tiltakene som gjøres for å holde norsk tradisjonsøl og kveik levende. Festivalen skaper stolthet blant bryggerne og viser folk i Nordfjord og på Sunnmøre at norsk ølkultur er viktig. Vi har allerede påmeldte deltagere til festivalen fra Danmark, Sverige, Tsjekkia, Tyskland, Storbritannia, Nederland og USA.

Å arrangere ølfestival er mye jobb, og vi i styret har jobbet med det siden november allerede. Vi kommer til å legge ned mye mer jobb fram mot festivalen i oktober, men vi klarer ikke alt selv. Har du tid og mulighet til å hjelpe oss å skape stolthet rundt norsk ølkultur? I så fall blir vi veldig glade.

Se frivillig-siden for informasjon om oppgaver, hva du får, påmelding, osv.

Early bird-salg snart slutt

Salget av billige festivalpass slutter om akkurat to uker. 1. august går prisen på festivalpass fra 500 til 700. Det lønner seg å kjøpe nå! Tikkio

English: The early bird sale of festival passes ends in exactly two weeks on August 1, and the price will then go from 500 NOK to 700 NOK. Better to buy now! Tickets here.

Hotellet utsolgt / hotel sold out

Gjestehuset på Knausen / Guest house at Knausen

Alle hotellrommene på festivalen er nå utsolgt, så vi går over til å selge andre typer overnatting som erstatning. Vi starter med dobbeltrom i gjestehuset på Knausen Hyttegrend. Se info-siden for mer. Når disse er utsolgt vil vi gå over til å selge overnatting på steder som er litt lenger unna festivalen. Transport vil bli arrangert.

De som kjøper “Brewing + festival”-billetter får fortsatt hotellrom.

The hotel rooms at the festival are now sold out, so we are now switching to selling other types of accomodation. First out are double rooms in the guest house at Knausen Hyttegrend. See the DIY page. When these are sold out we will start selling accomodation at places a bit further away from the festival. Transport will be arranged.

Those who buy “Brewing + festival” tickets will still get hotel rooms as part of the package.


Fiddler Petter Tveiten Veum (Vest-Telemark Museum, CC-BY-SA)

The video from last year’s festival had a piece of violin music in the background. It was not randomly chosen, because last year a fiddler opened the festival by playing the same tune. This is a traditional tune, or slått, called “Fanitullen”. Traditional music obviously fits well with traditional beer, but why this specific tune? Well, there is actually a reason why it had to be this tune and not some other.

The name, Fanitullen, literally means “the devil’s tune.” Nobody knows who wrote it, but there is a famous legend of where it comes from, and this legend is why we chose it.

In 1724 there was a wedding in Hol, in Hallingdal, eastern Norway. Back then, weddings were celebrations that lasted several days, for which literally hundreds of liters of strong beer were brewed. It was a problem that sometimes people didn’t just drink, but also started fighting, and when every farmer carried a knife this didn’t necessarily end well.

Someone once told me they’d visited an old man on a farm in Hallingdal and spoke with him for a good while. Hanging on the wall he had an old knife with a pretty handle and a beautiful scabbard, but when they took the knife out of the scabbard they were surprised to find the blade was only 1cm long, with no edge. The old man laughed and told them it was “a wedding knife,” meant to be worn in weddings so the wearer need not fear becoming a murderer.

Fight at a peasant wedding, painting by Adolph Tidemand

Anyway, at this 1724 wedding two young men, Levord Person Haga and Ådne Knutson Sindrol, started arguing. Eventually they took the argument outside, to settle it with their fists. Thus far the legend matches what court documents have to say, but then the legend takes off into territority not mentioned in the court documents.

The “kjøgemester”, the man responsible for toasts and for serving the beer, decides to go down into the cellar and pour a beer bowl for the winner of the fight. Coming down into the cellar he’s surprised to find a fiddler, sitting on the beer barrel and tuning his fiddle, holding it the wrong way. Once he’s finished tuning he starts playing. And boy, does he know how to play! It sounded like “angry man’s words,” “fists pounding tables,” “it wept and cheered”. The tune ends with the sound of “death.”

Fanitullen, painting by Adolph Tidemand

The tune gives the toastmaster the shivers, and he asks the fiddler where he learned it. “It makes no difference, but don’t forget it,” is the answer.

The toastmaster bends down to pour the beer, and is shocked to discover that the fiddler is not beating the tune with a foot, but with a hoof! He drops the bowl and runs out of the cellar, to find that one of the fighters has drawn his knife and killed the other.

The implication is that the devil’s fiddling has egged up the two fighters to the point that one kills the other.

The famous poem version of the legend ends with:

Fanitullen it’s named,
this wild tune,
and still the farmers play it,
and play it well,
but if those cruel tones sound,
where people are drunk,
then again comes the knife
from the halling’s scabbard.

(A “halling” is someone from the valley of Hallingdal.)

The tradition has it that one should be careful about playing this tune, because it can excite people to violence. Another story has it that if two people got angry at each other at a wedding or other party, the fiddler might choose to play Fanitullen to provoke them to fight. Alternately, he might play a tune called Meklaren (the negotiator) to calm them down.

Today, of course, nobody believes in this stuff, and now Fanitullen is just a famous piece of traditional music. In fact, one of the most famous pieces. A curious detail is that the preferred tuning for playing it is A-E-A-C#, known as “troll tuning.”

Despite the violence, the reason we chose it as our theme was the fantastic backstory, with the composer of the tune literally sitting on the beer barrel. The whole story is a reminder of a time when beer brewing was so common that a holding a wedding without serving hundreds of liters of home-made beer from the farm’s own grain was literally unthinkable.

Bridal procession on the Hardanger fjord, Adolph Tidemand (wikipedia)

This tradition of the wedding beer is memorably captured in arguably the most famous of all Norwegian national romantic paintings, the “Bridal Procession on the Hardanger Fjord.” The painter, Adolph Tiedemand (who also did the painting above), had lived with the farmers and was perfectly well aware that a farmer’s wedding without beer would be an absurdity. So he took care to include some in the painting, although it’s not immediately obvious.

Detail from the painting

This tradition has some relevance for us, because not a few of today’s farmhouse brewers brewed their first beer for their own wedding. This brewing for weddings is one of the reasons the farmhouse ale survived at all.

Of course, another reason to pick this tune is that’s it’s just a great piece of music.

Fanitullen performed by famous traditional fiddler Sigbjørn Bernhoft Osa (from Hardanger; wikipedia)

Billig overnatting i campinghytte!

The cabins look like this.

Vi har lagt ut en ny type overnatting på Tikkio: dobbeltrom i firemannshytte på Knausen Hyttegrend. I motsetning til hotellrom som koster 1950 koster dette 900 fredag-søndag. Ulempen er at du kan måtte dele med noen som har det andre rommet, om dere ikke bestiller en hel hytte (2 rom). Mer detaljer på infosiden.

We’ve added a new type of accomodation through Tikkio: a double room in a four-man cabin at Knausen Hyttegrend. A hotel room costs 1950 NOK, but this is just 900 NOK Friday-Sunday. The downside is you may have to share with someone staying in the other room, unless you’re a group of four. More details on the DIY page.

Simple, rustic Norwegian standard.

Video fra festivalen 2018

Våre venner i Ale Apothecary lagde en video som viser litt av det som skjedde på festivalen i 2018.

English: Our friends at Ale Apothecary made a video showing some of what happened at the festival in 2018.

Viking Age Brew

Mika Laitinens bok om sahti og gårdsøl, Viking Age Brew, ble publisert i dag. Boka er en grundig innføring i særlig sahti, men også gårdsøl generelt. Den tar for seg historien bak, kulturen, og aller mest hvordan man faktisk brygger disse ølene i praksis. Spesielt bra er informasjonen om hvordan man brygger råøl, hvordan man bruker einer, og om ulike typer urter.

Mika kommer på festivalen og holder foredrag og demonstrerer sahti-brygging. Han vil også ha med seg boka, så folk kan kjøpe den og få den signert.

English below the image.


Mika Laitinen’s book on sahti and farmouse ale, Viking Age Brew, was published today. The book covers especially sahti, but also farmhouse ale more generally. It gives a in-depth overview of the history, the culture, and perhaps most of all how to actually brew these beers in practice. The parts on brewing raw ale, using juniper, and using traditional herbs are especially strong.

Mika will be at the festival to give a talk on sahti and give a demonstration brew. He will also be selling the book, and you can get your copy signed.

Kåre Frøland holder foredrag om humledyrking

Kåre Frøland i humlehagen

Kåre Frøland kommer på Kornølfestivalen for å holde foredrag om humledyrking. Kåre driver Fletre Humlehage på Voss, Norges eneste kommersielle humleprodusent. Han dyrker flere sorter, og har lært mye om hvordan man kan drive humlehage i praksis.

In English: Kåre Frøland will be giving a talk at the Kornølfestival (in Norwegian!) about his commercial hop farm, the only one in Norway.

Camping-billetter er lagt ut

Da er billetter for campingen lagt ut. Hvis du kommer med campingvogn eller bobil kan du kjøpe camping-billett (med eller uten strøm) og bo på campingen fredag-lørdag på festivalen. Campingen er 100 meter fra festivalen. Det er tilgang til toalett.

Festivalbillett må kjøpes separat.

English: Camping tickets are now available. These let you park your camping wagon or motor home near the festival hall. Entrance to the festival must be purchased separately.