So. Saturday morning. While the rest of the family had a lie-in, I tiptoed downstairs, took my wallet, phone and iPod and locked the door behind me. A carry on suitcase as well, empty except for a printout of the festival booklet and some bubble wrap.
I actually caught the 05.35 train, giving me ample time at the airport. Lots of charter tourists milling around, drinking beer, buying duty free booze and getting called up by name with the message that the gate was closing.
The plane was not quite full, most of the passengers were probably using the SAS network for onward connections.
My drinking buddy David had decided to check in his bag. After half an hour of waiting in the arrival hall, he was allowed to fill in a missing luggage form, and we were off for Central Copenhagen.
The sky was steel gray and the air was chilly, but we were in a very good mood as we walked out of Copenhagen Central Station. We were going to Ølbutikken first, and David was checking in at his hotel around the corner from the shop. I stopped at two supermarkets along the way, buying a few bottles of Italian Brunello wine at a nioce discount at the first, a few beers and some cheese at the next. We still had some time before Ølbutikken opened, so we bought a rater dismal breakfast at a 7-eleven on the corner. The only place open in the neighbourhood was a bar for Greenlanders, where the around the clock drinking atmosphere did not attract us too much.
We were hanging around outside the shop, and several other Norwegians turned up – Ole Richard and Geir Ove were staying at the same hotel as David. Next were Yngvar and Danish top rater Henrik.
Ølfabrikken is an amazing place. There were about 10 of us in line when they opened, and we filled the place when we entered.Half Norwegians, a few Dutch-speaking. It is quite a contrast to the large beer shops in Rome, this is far more compact.
But packed onto the shelves of the tiny shop are the seven wonders of the world. Dugges from Sweden, Nøgne ø from Norway. The very best of the Danish breweries, meaning Mikkeller, Amager, Hornbeer, Beer Here and Xbeeriment. The top of the de Molen range from Beligum. De Dolle. Westvleteren. And American rare brews.
We all were calcutlating how much we could possibly cram into suitcases and bags. I ended up with a dozen beers. Two Mikkeller beers from their Single Hop series. Amager Rated XX. Two Hornbeer brews, including their Caribbean Rums Stout, which won “Best New Beer of the Year” award by the members of the Danish Beer Enthusiasts. De Molen Lang & Kaal. Lost Abbey Ten Commandments.
This is not a discount store. Sure, There are a few bottles just above the 10 kroner mark, but most fall within the 50-100 kroner range, some are beyond that. But this is not for casual drinking, it caters for the beer geek crowd. Only open for a few hours at the weekend, this is a labour of love by people who really care about this and want to share their finds with others. And for Norwegians, most bottles seem moderately priced anyway, though it is quite a contrast to the 5 kroner discount beers to be found on the next corner…
Would I like like this in Oslo? Of course, I’d love it. But I would not dare to go there more than once a month!
Last year there weres special festival packs of rare Mikkeller beers. Luckily they had not made any this year. Then I would have had to buy another suitcase…