Archive for December 10th, 2009

Swedish Christmas beers

Stockholm daily Dagens Nyheter has picked what, in their view, are the best 18 Christmas beers of the 39 available in Systembolaget.

Carlsberg’s Golden Naked Christmas get the best grade, 5 out of 6, while the beer I raved about from Sigtuna only get 3. The Norwegian beers at Systembolaget are not mentioned, I find it puzzzling that they ended up at the bottom of the range.

Good grades for some of the more cheap and standard industrial beers. They were probably the best on the Swedish market ten or fifteen years ago, but they are hardly exiting. But if you’re nostalgic and dream of Christmas past, they probably do the trick. And with some herring on the plate and a shot of aquavit on the side, they will make sure everything is like last year. Like every year.

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On British beers

Tandleman has a good blog post about the state of British brewing with a long line of intelligent comments. Have a look!

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It was a dark and rainy night in London. All the bus windows were steamed up, and the neon lights of King Street, Hammersmith were struggling to cut through the rain. Your hero, equipped with a sturdy brolly, decided to walk along the Thames to his destination. Luckily the clouds parted, as if by magic, when he passed under the motorway.

I was actually going down to meet Tom on Wednesday. He is the assistant manager at The Rake, and he promised he had some good stuff on.

On my way out of the hotel, I decided to check my e-mail, and logged on. The usual trash, except a reply to an e-mail I had sent off a month ago.

Fuller’s brewery in Chiswick, London, has a fan club of sorts, the Fine Ale Club, with tens of thousands of members. They send out a quarterly newsletter, run competitions etc. It’s a useful way of getting updates on their beers and pubs, and, despite the fact that this club nominally only accepts members in the UK, I have managed to get into their list.

In the November issue of their newsletter they announced the 10th anniversary of the club. They encouraged members to run beer testings, and those who mailed in their tasting notes would enter a draw for a celebration of the 10the anniversary of the Fine Ale Club including a tasting at the brewery on 2 December.

Well, I didn’t have time to organise any tasting, but as the celebrations would be at the same time I was in London, I sent an e-mail asking if I could come along to the event and cover it on the blog.

I didn’t get any answer, so I more or less forgot about the event, until opening my mailbox on, correct, December 2. The reply was dated two days before, stating that I would be very welcome to come along.

So, this was the background to me walking briskly along the Thames Path on a dreary winter evening. I had high expectations.

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