Archive for May 22nd, 2009

Spending one day at a three day beer festival and trying to cover it,does not do it much justice. But, briefly, some highlights from my very personal point of view. At least I can make my Irish readers a bit jealous…

Busy at Hornbeer

Busy pouring at Hornbeer

Hornbeer had a high profile at last year’s festival , at a time when they had just started brewing. They went on to win the “Best New Danish  Beer” award for 2008 with their Caribbean Rum Stout, which meant that they had quite a crowd in front of their stand this year, too. Their brewery burned down just after they started last year, but they have managed to rebuild and keep it all going. It is a family business, run by Jørgen Vogt Rasmussen and his wife Gunhild. Gunhild paints the beautiflu labels for the bottles. One of the paintings was auctioned off for charity during the festival. I tried two outstanding beers from Hornbrew – Black Magic and Barley Wine. A bottle of the Caribbean Rum Stout currently resides in my cellar, where I doubt it will remain for very long.

Note that the brewer no longer  has a striking semblance to the Prime Minister of Denmark. He now has a striking semblance to the Secretary General of NATO. At least one of the brothers has an honest job!

Svaneke Bryghus, located on the holiday island of Bornholm, quite a distance from the rest of Denmark, seems to be doing quite well. They had to build a bigger brewery with a bottling plant to supply the national market while keeping the equipment at the brew pub, where they do experimental brews and one offs. They are not at the extreme end, but do well crafted beers that appeal to a wider audience. They have the most inventive names of the beers at the festival like  Den Udødelige Hæst, Medicinskabet and Salmesykkel. I won’t try to translate, I was the only one around the ratebeer table, Danish or Norwegian, who knew what Salmesykkel meant. Answers on a beer mat, please!

Charlie’s Bar had a tent outside with English cask ales, including a Fuller’s Vintage (they did not know which vintage..!). It was a rainy day – with better weather this would have been a fine place to hang around.

There were a number of Italian beers, presented by Brasserie 4:20from Rome. I had tried most of the beers they had offered, but they seemed to attract a lot of curious drinkers. They had hand picked Italian craft beers from breweries like Lambrate and White Dog, and the Danes seemed very impressed by the Tipopils, one of the very best lagers to be found anywhere.

The Dutch Brouwerij de Molen  has quite a name in beer circles, and they were present with lots of temptations on tap and in bottled. To try to get throug them at a festival like this does not really do them justice. I hope I get the opportunity to visit them some time.

The centerpiece of the festival, like last year was the stand by Mikkeller including guests like Nøgne ø and BrewDog. If you add Amager Bryghus around the corner, you get some of the most inventive and bold beers known to man. A number of special brews – I’ll get back to them later.

What’s more? Dozens of other Danish breweries. Rare lagers from Asia, bottled beers aplenty from Germany, England, Belgium. Beer Here, the new label from Christian Skovdal Andersen, formerly at Ølfabrikken, had some great stuff.

I almost forgot Djævlebryg. It’s a pretty good festival when you almost forget Djævlebryg. It’s at this point that my notes start to get illegible. Luckily I bought home a bottle of the Djævlebryg OriginAle. I have to get a Djævelbryg t-shirt!

The Devils Apprentices?

The Devil's Apprentices?

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Hops and GloryPete Brown’s new book is out on 5 June, chronicling his epic journey from Burton to India.

Hops & Glory – One Man’s Search for the Beer That Built the British Empire. You can pre-order it at half price through amazon in the UK, no dates for any US edition.

More information on his blog, and in this day and age there is of course a Facebook group, too.

New books to read while you drink are always welcome!

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