Archive for the ‘Denmark’ Category

The Godfather of beer blogging, Alan in Canada, has asked the question:

What beer book which has yet to be written would you like to see published?

And the question is a good one. This is a part of The Session. The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry.

So the host of Session 95 is Alan, go to his blog to see a round up of all contributions this month.

He also wants to know what books we’d like to write. Well, there might be something happening over here, but it’s early days yet. I’ll let you know if and when things get moving.

So I need more beer books? Well. There are beer books silently staring at med from the shelves. Some have been gifts or review copies, some seemed more promising at amazon or in the bookshop than they turned out to be. So I tend to limit my beer book purchases, and I find it very convenient when I can buy an e-book from Evan Rail, ready to digest in one sitting.

But I digress.  There are many beer books waiting to be written. And I have at least three books I’d like to see published.

First of all, my friend the beer scholar Lars Marius Garshol has done some really impressive writing about farmhouse beers in Norway and in Lithuania. He should be given a scholarship to write about the history of small-scale brewing in The Nordic countries and the Baltic countries, including Finland and Russian Karelia. That’s probably too ambitious. But a book on Norwegian traditional beers would be most welcome. too!


On an even broader scale, I’d like a book on European beer brewing history. Starting with historical and archeological sources, painting the broad strokes of the major players.

  • How empires, was and legislation have given the background for clever entrepreneurs.
  • The contribution of Weihenstephan and other centers of brewery education.
  • The emergence of a science of brewing.
  • Family brewers growing into multinationals. Dreher, Carnegie, Jacobsen, Guinness, Heineken.
  • Did the Russian court really drink stout? If so, where was the beer brewed?
  • European beer in other corners of the world.
  • Intra-European beer trade. How much stout did the czars really drink?

There could be lots of tables and figures in such a book, but I’d prefer the good stories, the anecdotes and how beer history fits into the broader history. And I would like lots of maps, old ads and photos.

But there is another book waiting to be written, too. About the emergence of a company that defied all established wisdom within the industry. A company that has used social media, reached out to bloggers, provoked regulating authorities and getting plenty of press coverage without buying ads.

If I was given some months’ salary and freedom to write a book on a beer related theme, I would write the story of BrewDog. And I’d focus on the beer. Unlike the book by the founders of Brooklyn Brewery. That book is not about beer at all, it could have been a chronicling a chewing gum factory.

The Beer Book for Punks could be sold in pubs and bars, bottle shops – and the bookshops of business schools around the globe. Not to mention airports.

Read Full Post »

I got an invite to a beer launch in Oslo a few weeks ago, but I could not fit it in my schedule. I answered back that I’d be happy to try the beers anyway, and a week before Christmas I had two cans delivered at home.

The idea is simply to combine two Scandinavian brand names to get extra coverage for both. One of them has many decades of changing fortunes, the other a relative newcomer. Scandinavian Airlines used to be the pinnacle of sophistication ca 1963, while Mikkeller is a big worldwide hit ca 2015.

The airline asked the brewer to make two beers for the business class of their long distance flights. The result: Sky High Wit and Sky High Red Lager.

The beers are supposed to compensate for changes in how we experience food and drink on a plane. I cannot comment on that aspect, but I took the two cans along to our cabin in the mountains, 950 meters above sea level.

The wit is true to type, hazy yellow with a fluffy head. A refreshing beer with tones of citrus and flowers. Light body, easy to drink, should have a broad appeal.

The lager is more robust. It has a lovely deep red color and a beige head. A rich aroma with malt and spices. Full bodied, lots of flavor, including caramel, red currants and burned sugar. EVen if the flavor is a bit diminished in the air, there should be plenty left.

Very decent beers, I am not convinced that they should be reserved for the business class segment.

And if SAS were truly bold, they would throw out Carlsberg and ask Mikkeller to brew a house beer for all their flights.

Read Full Post »

Jul 003

According to a campaign in the Danish newspapers, there will be 1450 new jobs in Denmark if the taxes on beer and soft drinks are cut by half.  They will buy their cans and bottles at home instead of leaving their money at the border shops in Germany.

I am not able to find any signs of this in the reports of a new government package of measures to boost growth in Denmark.

Because there are other factors, too. If you compare to most countries, the taxes are pretty low today. And the Danes do eat and drink far too much for their own good already. What is good for Carlsberg is not neccecarily good for Danish public health.

And I wonder if those who paid for the ad considered how many Danish jobs are dependent on the border trade from Sweden and Norway. Probably around 1450.

Read Full Post »

I’m on my way to Stockholm. A city I used to visit several times a year. A beautiful place, both summer and winter. And a city that has a number of beer pubs with a splendid reputation. I have hardly visited since I started blogging, and not at all since I moved over to the WordPress platform.

A train journey this time around. Then I finally have the time to read Pete Brown’s book.

The blog homebru net Scandinavia has counted 400 new Swedish beers in 2012. (Check out their blog. A great resource for documentation on new breweries).

Add that to the figures for Norway and Denmark, and we end up with about 1400 new Scandinavian beers last year.

Who’s gonna drink it all?

Read Full Post »

756 new Danish beers in 2012 is an all time high. But 220 new Norwegian beers ain’t half bad, either. Lots of them only on sale locally, so there are strong incentives for Norwegian beer tourism.

And this is just the start. There are a number of new breweries starting up over the coming months. My prediction is that we will see one hundred Norwegian breweries before the wave peaks.

Read Full Post »

There are speedy ways of getting to your destination, this usually involves a plane plus various means of transit at either end.  There are cheap ways of getting around, in Scandinavia this would often mean an express bus. Not very comfortable, at least not if this lasts for many hours.

Then there are comfortable ways.

The Oslo-Copenhagen ferry is one of them.

While the ferries to Jutland are basic no-frills transportation with some excessive drinking thrown in, this route is more civilized, at least if you avoid the Christmas season. It’s been some years since my last voyage, and I was pleasantly surprised.

There are two ferries on the route, both departing in the afternoon and arriving just before ten in the morning. The cabins are standard size, but the beds are comfortable. The food is good, even the buffet restaurant, which often is the option for bulk eating rather than finesse, had a fine range of delicacies.

That’s the praise.

But there is room for improvement.

They could have a better beer range.

Apart from the usual Carlsberg stuff in bottles and cans, there are quite a few beers from the Skands brewery. Lagers, stouts, and IPA, an abbey ale. Looks good, but, frankly, these are too boring.

My proposal: Add beers from one or two of the more prolific Danish and Norwegian breweries. I would suggest Ægir from Norway and Hornbeer or Amager from Denmark. The Skands beers are fine for the unexperienced palate, but give us something a bit more challenging.

Read Full Post »

There are many pubs and bars that do a brisk trade during the winter months, but are more or less deserted during the winter. Even if the beer range may be limited, we tend to seek out beer gardens or other outdoor watering holes when weather or temperature permits. The vaulted cellars are more appealing when there is a need for a warm fireplace in the corner.

A charming place to have a beer or two is the courtyard at BrewPub Copenhagen, just a few feet away from the busy streets filled with locals and tourists. Large parasols shield you from the sun if you wish, and they are sturdy enough to cope with a rain shower as well. Painted walls that remind you of Italian palaces.

I have eaten here on several occasions, and their lunchtime dishes are great. A bit pricey, sure, but you get real quality for your money. There is a good list of bottled beers to choose from, too, right now with lighter summer brews.

Their home brews are a bit hit and miss, with rather mundane examples of Weisse and pilsener and ales which are very moderately hopped. The beers are not bad, but they are not up to the general standard you expect in what has become a major beer destination.

Right now, there is an exception. The Roadster XK 50 barley wine.

Hazy brown, thin head, lazy carbonation. Loads of maltiness, generous amount of hops to balance. Some warming alcohol, true to style sweetness that does not get too sticky. And the plate of ripe cheeses with nuts and olives was a match made in heaven. I believe this beer is on sale for a limited time, well worth seeking out if you are in town.

Note that they are closed on Sundays.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 812 other followers