Archive for April, 2011

Seven deadly sins

The Austrian magazine Genuss has a list of the seven deadly sins to avoid if you want to serve beer on tap. We are talking about keg lagers here, not cask condition ales. Nevertheless:

  • Old beer. Once a keg is opened, it should be consumed, preferably on the same day. Not enough turnover to serve beer on tap? Go for good bottled beers instead.
  • Right temperature. What matters is the temperature when it is served to the consumer. If the glass is to be carried through a beer garden in high summer, it needs to be kept cold enough.
  • Wrong pour. Never let the beer tap into the glass. Never use anything to take off the head.
  • Lack of head. Practically all Austrian beers should be served with a proper, good-looking and stable head.
  • Rinsing of used glasses. Only freshly washed glasses should be rinsed in the Spülkranz, unless you want to spread Herpes.
  • Hygiene. The dispensing system and the bar should be kept clean at all times.
  • No cheating. Never fill beer from one glass into another. No pre-tapping to have beer ready. Never.

The translation is a bit halting, but you get the message. Even a humble half liter of lager should be properly cared for.

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This little shop is tucked away in a side street, but actually just a few minutes away from the main tourist route. I have walked past it several times, but never during its opening hours.

The owner takes his beers seriously – this is where they refused to sell Nøgne Ø Dark Horizon 2 until had aged longer in the bottle.

The shelves are crammed with beers from near and far. Imports, yes, but the emphasis is on Danish micros. You get a little bewildered, until you see that the shelves are organised according to beer style.

Glassware, books and boxed beer gifts, too. For the special occasion, there is a gift wrapped basket with 12 Mikkeller beers.

I’d say the prices are similar to Ølbutikken, but Barley Wine has more regular opening hours and has, for the time being, a more convenient location. Try to visit both of them.

Be sure to check out the Barley Wine web site, with comprehensive coverage of the Danish micros they carry.

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The Artist formerly Known as Stonch is back blogging, this time about an upcoming beer festival at the pub he runs, the Gunmakers in Clerkenwell, London.

They will be offering up to 30 different ales during the course of the week, with a special cask ale-only bar in place in the rear conservatory.

This will start at Tuesday 26th April and will run through to closing time on Friday, the day of the Royal wedding.

Details about beers to follow.

Jeff pulling a pint


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I’ve been here before. Not many meters away from the busy shopping streets of Copenhagen you walk down a few steps, bow you hed to avoid the door frame and blink a few times to adjust to the dim light. On a Friday afternoon it has yet to fill up, so it a perfect pit stop for a few glasses to wash away the business meeting from the system.

The beers are from Danish micros, and the pub even produces its own ciders from Danish orchards.

I try a beer called The Blind Eye from up and coming brewery Croocked Moon (their spelling). An amber ale with a moderate 5.2%, it has flowers, mint, prunes and a hint of smoke.

One of my favourite Danish breweries is Hornbeer, and their Fødselsdagsfest (Birthday Party) has passion fruit, tangerine and a dry finish with the fruit lingering long after the last sip.

A dozen beers on tap at any time, and their web site shows present and scheduled beers.

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Of the many temptations of Copenhagen, there is a very convenient shop with very convenient opening hours. Five minutes walk from the Mikkeller Bar, ten minutes from the Central Station.

Khioskh – no it is not usually spelled that way in Danish – is not really a kiosk, more the old fashion corner grocery store kind of place.  It is far bigger than Ølbutikken, at least for the time being.

Sweets and snacks, ice cream and chocolate. Foreign and domestic newspapers. Comics. 

And then beer. The walls are crammed with coolers filled with beer. Special brews from Mikkeller and the other cutting edge Danish micros. Craft beers from Norway, Sweden, South Africa and the US. Obscure beers, great beers. Lost Abbey, Alesmith, Dugges, Nøgne Ø. Possibly the best selection in Denmark.

But beware. If you have visited the Mikkeller Bar first, your threshold for putting a few extra expensive US beers into your basket might be a bit low.

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I was in Copenhagen for a few days last week, for once not connected to any beer festival. I thought I was just going to visit a few bars, but it never hurts to check out your network.

It turned out there was a celebration going on. One of the very top raters at ratebeer is Henrik Papsø, and he was inviting to a celebration of his rating number 20.000 at the Mikkeller Bar. Yes, 20.000 unique beers sampled, rated and published in the database.

There were three beers specially brewed and available on tap, as if the range of world class beers was not enough already.

Papsø had gathered a merry crowd of friends in the early evening. As this is a rather small public bar, there were also other guests around, including a Norwegian couple who were actually looking for a Carlsberg. They thought 20.000 was an impressive figure, and wanted to know his favourite. (They also tried to negotiate with the bar staff to have a glass of something they could identify as beer.)

The best of the three specially commissioned beers was Hr. Papsø on Acid, a barrel aged beer  from Amager Bryghus with mysterious ingredients.

But  fifteen world class beers on tap at once is a bit much. Really.

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That calls for a gobbledygook

“The changes to both the brand proposition and the visual identity will help to make the C’******** brand more consistent, appealing and distinctive to its consumers in both its established and newer markets”.

“This global launch is our way of getting our story out there to both our mature markets and our newer markets. We want people to know that C******** beer stands for something — for heritage, for quality, for great taste and for doing the right thing.”

 I’m not surprised that a hundred journalists (we are talking the serious established/dying media here, not bloggers) accepted a trip to Copenhagen, refreshments included. But I am amazed that their editors print this kind of crap. 

Tuborg pump clips

Time to refresh rusty brands


Correction: They flew in some bloggers to sing their praises as well.

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