Wales, Skotland og Irland – #Staycation

Min virtuelle sommerølrejse – #Staycation2020 – fortsætter gennem tre lande med hurtige stop. Gennem juli måned “besøger” jeg 19 lande og smager på en eller flere øl fra dem alle.

Wales, Skotland og Irland – alle kan de noget med øl

Tre dages udskejelser i engelsk øl er ovre og turen er kommet til øl fra tre lande, som nok ofte er lidt oversete når det kommer til øl. Fra Wales kommer…ja hvad kommer egentlig fra Wales? Skotland handler ofte om whisky og ellers kender de fleste jo nok til øl fra BrewDog. Irland – du kender Guinness, men hvad kender du ellers? Jeg håber de tre nedenstående øl kan gøre dig lidt mere nysgerrig på hvad landene hver især kan ud i øl.

Wales: Stay Puft Imperial Praline Edition – Tiny Rebel

⁣Efter seks yderst velsmagende engelske øl er min #staycation2020 rejst videre til Wales. Hvad skal jeg så forvente af de walisiske dråber? Min sparsomme erfaringer med walisisk øl siger mig at jeg godt kan tillade mig at forvente velsmag. Tiny Rebel leverer i hvert fald sort velsmag i form af Stay Puft Imperial Praline Edition:⁣

Vafler, mælkechokolade og ristet malt er tydelige duftnoter, men kiks og ahornsirup for også lov til at trænge sig frem i duften – lækkert!⁣

Smagen er hasselnødder, brændt (tildels karameliseret) sukker og chokolade, men også vafler med vanilje og Nutella. Den her øl er virkelig en velsmagende flydende dessert og faktisk nærmest den perfekte øl at nyde på endnu en regnfuld sommeraften. Vejret er faktisk ret meget som jeg forestiller mig det vil være på en sommeraften i Wales.⁣

Karakter: 4,00 ud af 5⁣ 🍻

Stay Puft Imperial Praline Edition – flydende dessert fra Tiny Rebel i Wales

Skotland: All The Leaves Are Brown – Tempest Brewing Co

Efter velsmag i Wales fortsatte turen til Skotland. Oplevelsen af skotske øl er tit at de er ret maltede og søde. Det er ikke nødvendigvis en kvalitet, men udført rigtigt kan det være velsmagende. Min skepsis til dagens øl er også vakt, da der er tale om en brown ale – nærmest selve definitionen på maltet, klistret og karamelsødt øl. Lad os se hvad det bliver, da der denne gang er tale om en imperial brown ale fra Tempest Brewing Co.

Aromaen fra denne øl er typisk brown ale. Den er karamelsød, men også med tydelige hints af treacle og en smule røg. Det tegner ikke helt skidt det her.

Smagen er af sød karamel, chokolade, klistret ahorn og en smule ristet malt. Der er tale om en rigt maltet imperial brown ale, men uden et “alcohol burn”, selvom den er lidt af et monster på hele 10,5% alkohol.

Den her skotske øl ville helt sikkert passe rigtig godt sammen med et glas tørverøget skotsk single malt whisky. Jeg derimod skal ikke passe sammen med mere skotsk øl i denne omgang. Jeg “fortsætter til” Irland i morgen.

Karakter: 4,00 ud af 5 🍻

All The Leaves Are Brown – velsmagende imperial brown ale fra Tempest Brewing Co

Irland: Big Bunny – Kinnegar Brewing

Et kort stop i Irland kunne det også blive til. Der bliver dog ikke noget med at smage på de nærmest obligatoriske stouts med de små fine nitrogenbobler der giver det cremede skum og den meget bløde fornemmelse i munden. Dagens øl bliver derimod en hazy New England IPA fra Kinnegar Brewing.

En tydelig frugtighed rammer næsen sammen med en god sødme og en smule græs – det er overhovedet ikke skidt det her. Skummet er tæt og hvidt, nærmest som flødeskum. ⁣

Smagen er relativt bitter, men også fuld af frugt og en smule sød. Den her øl er en rigtig tørstslukker og jeg kunne uden problemer se mig selv læne mig tilbage og drikke en pint eller tre på en irsk pub.

Karakter: 3,50 ud af 5 🍻⁣⁣

Big Bunny er en velhumlet New England IPA fra Kinnegar Brewing

Tre lande. Tre øl. Tre dage. Nu tager jeg turen over Atlanterhavet og vender tilbage med et udvalg af amerikanske øl – Vi ses!

England og lækkert øl – #Staycation

Som jeg skrev i sidste indlæg har jeg på grund af COVID-19 og rejserestriktioner valgt at ølrejsen 2020 bliver en virtuel en af slagsen. Gennem juli måned vil jeg besøge 19 lande og smage på en eller flere øl fra dem alle.

England er andet end øl på en pub

Efter et par yderst velsmagende hollandske øl er turen nu kommet til England, som i den grader blevet andet og mere end håndpumpede cask ales over de senere år. Ikke et ondt ord om cask ales, som jeg faktisk holder vældig meget af. Der er bare kommet så meget mere og seriøst velsmagende øl frem efter at den britiske ølverden også har fået sig en revolution. Jeg lagde første dag (ølrejsens anden dag) ud med et par humlede øl fra det fremadstormende og temmelig hypede bryggeri Verdant Brewing Co. Et bryggeri der endnu har tilgode at skuffe mig!

Safety Flares – Verdant Brewing Co

⁣På anden dag rykkede min #staycation2020 videre til England. Mine forventninger til øllet var store og det kunne synes som et livrem-og-seler-udlæg at gå med en øl fra Verdant. Det har som sagt tidligere aldrig skuffet mig. Men lad os se:⁣

Safety Flares er en Simcoe single hop pale ale – Det kommer virkelig til udtryk i aromaen. Den er tydeligt præget af citrus frugter, men også en lækker melonnote. Det er efterhånden noget tid siden jeg sidst har fået en øl med kun Simcoe og jeg kan virkelig godt li’ aromaen.

Smagen er klassisk Simcoe med citrus, fyrrenåle den der “dank” fornemmelse, som er så svær at beskrive på dansk. Samtidig er det en tilpas bitter øl, som er ret let at drikke – hvilket ved den her øl er en kvalitet. Det er klart en øl der trækker på det bedste fra både East Coast og West Coast humlede øl – Jeg kan i hvert fald ret godt li’ den.

England og det engelske øl er godt ved mig indtil videre.

Karakter: 4,25 ud af 5⁣ 🍻

Safety Flares – En New England pale ale fra engelske Verdant Brewing Co

300 Laps of Your Garden – Verdant Brewing Co

Den anden øl på første dag med engelske øl er ligeledes en humlet pale ale fra Verdant Brewing Co. Aromaen er mango, citrus og noget der minder om fyrrenåle – det dufter virkelig dejligt.

Smagen er et dank mix af stikkelsbær, citrus, fyr og sådan en drueagtig fornemmelse. Det her er en lækker pale ale med alt det bedste England (og Verdant) har at byde på! Nelson Sauvin humlen gør virkelig nærmest magiske ting for den her øl. Det er en øl jeg nemt kunne drikke i rå mængder. Bitterheden er nærmest lige i skabet og sikrer at øllen ikke bliver for drue-søde med alt den tilsatte Nelson Sauvin humle – jeg er klart fan af den her øl!

På ølrejsens tredje dag kommer det igen til at handle om England – det er bestemt ikke et ølland man kommer igennem på en dag. ⁣

Karakter: 4,50 ud af 5 🍻

300 Laps of Your Garden – en velhumlet pale ale fra Verdant Brewing Co

Simcoe Fog – Burnt Mill Brewery

På ølrejsens tredje dag er det altså stadig England der er destinationen. Dagens første øl er en New England IPA fra Burnt Mill Brewery.

Det her er en øl der er læsset med dank og tropiske aromaer, som rammer næsen sammen med baggrundsnoter af en smule brød og korn.

Smagen er et totalt ferskenbombardement med en dank fornemmelse og en sjat fyrrenåle i samspil. Noget citrus og tropisk frugt er også ret tydeligt. ⁣⁣Det her er virkelig en lækker single hop IPA med læssevis af lækker Simcoehumle. Jeg havde jo nærmest glemt hvor god smagen af Simcoe er… Den meget smooth mundfølelse fra den tilsatte hvede gør helt sikkert oplevelsen af øllen endnu bedre

Jeg er stor fan af det engelske øl indtil videre

Karakter: 4,25 ud af 5 🍻⁣⁣

Simcoe Fog fra Burnt Mill Brewery

Shattered Dream – Siren Craft Brew

Det hele kan ikke kun handle om moderne humlede og juiceagtige øl, så derfor kom der også lige en stout fra Siren Craft Brew ind i rækken. Det er endda ikke bare en stout, men en imperial coffee stout!

Wow…siger jeg bare! En intens aroma af kaffe, kakao og vanilje, som virkelig kan få forventningerne til at nå nærmest uanede højder.

Smagen kan faktisk godt følge forventningerne fra duften. Shattered Dream dufter af den bedste kaffe og chokoladekage med vanilje. Det er måske ikke en “Full English Breakfast”, men det er virkelig en velsmagende imperial breakfast stout, som den siger på etiketten. Det er sådan en af den slags øl man godt kunne ønske sig kunne vare lidt længere, da smagen hele tiden ændrer karakter efterhånden som temperaturen stiger.

England⁣ holder klart ølniveauet oppe, så jeg bliver nødt til “at blive” en dag mere og prøve nogen flere øl.

Karakter: 4,25 ud af 5 🍻

Shattered Dream – morgenkaffe i ølform fra Siren Craft Brew

People, Money, Space, Time – Verdant Brewing Co

Jeg valgte at lægge en tredje dag til min #staycation2020 “i England” på grund af de seriøst velsmagende øl jeg har fået de sidste par dage og tredje dagen blev absolut ingen undtagelse.

Tredjedagens første øl har en super juicy tropisk aroma. Hvis jeg ikke vidste bedre ville jeg have troet at det var en double IPA eller noget lignende. Det er dog “bare” en pale ale af sessionstyrke på kun 3,8%.

Smagen er et yderst behageligt mix af fersken, druer, melon, mango, korn og citrusfrugter. Hvis det ikke var for den nærmest vedvarende regn under min “ølrejse” ville jeg have sagt at det her var en rigtig lawn mower øl!

Den her øl er vel nok den bedste session pale ale jeg har fået! Bortset fra en mundfølelse lidt til den tynde side, så smager den her øl faktisk som en decideret IPA. Det er humlet velsmag!

Karakter: 4,50 ud af 5 🍻

People, Money, Space, Time fra Verdant Brewing Co er ren humlet velsmag på kun 3,8%

Random Rules – Verdant Brewing Co

Den sidste #staycation2020 øl fra England og hvilken øl!!

Aromaen er tropisk, men alligevel også med noget krydret. Duften er desuden som den fra en virkeligt tyk frugt juice – måske nærmest som en smoothie med læssevis af søde citrusfrugter.

Smagene er egentlig ret bitter med et spark af citrus og tonsvis af søde og juicy tropiske frugter. Den her IPA er virkelig en lækkerbidsken. Jeg er egentlig ret vild med kombinationen af juicy frugter og den ret vedholdende bitterhed⁣. Den her øl er en super lækker humlejuice på et niveau, som ikke ret mange humlede øl når op på! Jeg kan i hvert fald med sikkerhed sige at Verdant Brewing Co har gjort det igen og ramt den her humle juice lige i røven!

Karakter: 4,75 ud af 5 🍻

Random Rules fra Verdant – en topklasse IPA

Efter tre dage med virkeligt velsmagende engelske øl bliver næste stop et kort stop i Wales. Hvilke walisiske bryggerier kender du?⁣ Mine “oplevelser” kan du læse om i løbet af et par dage – vi ses!

Ølrejsen 2020 – #Staycation

Med hele situationen omkring COVID-19 og rejserestriktioner er jeg i år kommet frem til at sommerens ølrejse bliver en virtuel en af slagsen. I løbet af juli måned vil jeg besøge 19 lande og smage på øl fra dem alle.

Holland byder på øl

Ølrejsens første destination er Holland og bryggeriet Uiltje. Øllen fra Uiltje er en fadlagret red ale, som har været på diverse skotske whiskyfade. Da jeg startede min ølrejse blev jeg fanget i en regnbyge, men hurtigt kom solen dog frem igen. Sådan er sommeren jo herhjemme 🌦

🇳🇱🇳🇱🇳🇱🇳🇱🇳🇱🇳🇱🇳🇱🇳🇱
Sequence Series # 008 – Red Ale Reserve er navnet på denne afsindigt lækre øl. Malt og tørrede stenfrugter som svesker, figner, dadler og rosiner rammer næsen sammen med lidt tørverøg og eg.⁣ ⁣ Mundfølelsen er ekstremt fyldig og på samme tid meget smooth og behagelig.

Smagen er karamel fudge, vanilje, en meget behagelig tørverøget note og samtidig er tørrede stenfrugter er til stede i starten. Senere kravler chokolade, malt og klistret sirup frem og gør oplevelsen endnu mere velsmagende. ⁣

Den her fadlagrede red ale er utroligt velbrygget og super balanceret, selvom det måske lyder som en overdrevent klistret og sød øl, så er det meget langt fra at være tilfældet! Det er faktisk en fantastisk lækker øl.

Karakter: 4,75 ud af 5⁣ 🍻

Sequence Series # 008 – Red Ale Reserve fra det hollandske bryggeri Uiltje

Flydende chokoladekage

Den anden øl fra Holland er fra bryggeriet Kees og er en imperial chokoladestout. Øllen “Caramel Fudge Stout” har en voldsomt indbydende aroma af chevy og klistret chokoladebrownie med vanilje – Aromaen er faktisk ret intens på en yderst behagelig måde.

Smagen er en dejlig blanding af karamell og chokolade med en hel del vanille og en smule hårdt ristet kaffe på bagkanten.⁣ Smagen af ​​chokoladefudge og chokoladebrownie er massiv, men aldrig for meget, som man måske kunne have frygtet.

Karakter: 4 ud af 5 🍻

Caramel Fudge Stout fra Brouwerij Kees

Efter jeg havde drukket denne ret udmærkede øl har jeg hørt at den også findes i forskellige fadlagrede udgaver, som eftersigende skulle være endnu mere velsmagende. Dem ville jeg gerne ha’ fingre i!⁣

Dette var oplevelserne på ølrejsens første destination Holland, som har været super velsmagende. Næste rejsemål er England. Oplevelserne derfra kan du læse om her på bloggen i løbet af nogen dage – Vi ses!

Mikkeller Baghaven Wild Ale Celebration 2020 – Som skrevet i Ølentusiasten

Nedenstående er en dansk udgave af det indlæg jeg tidligere har skrevet om Mikkeller Baghaven Wild Ale Celebration 2020. Den danskeudgave kom til verden på opfordring fra Danske Ølentusiasters medlemsblad “ØlentusiasteN”.

Alt er stort når Mikkeller giver den gas – selv banneret ved ankomsten til MBWAC

I weekenden den 7. og 8. februar havde Mikkeller og Mikkeller Baghaven sat et nyt skib i søen på Refshaleøen i København. Mikkeller Baghaven Wild Ale Celebration 2020 er en ølfestival med fokus på det syrlige og vildgærede øl og efter samme princip som den velkendte Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen, eller bare MBCC. Princippet er at du køber en billet til en bestemt session og så kan du ellers smage frit i hele det tidsrum du har billet til. Det gør det dejlig enkelt at der ikke skal penge eller poletter frem ved standene, men som ved andre Mikkeller festivaler er der den ulempe at der relativt hurtigt bliver udsolgt af de mest hypede og populære øl. 

En velsmagende oplevelse

Vi – min kone, Niklas Dietz (@copenhagenbeertraveler på Instagram) og jeg – ankom til festivallokationen ca. en halv time før åbning og fik en god plads i køen lige ved siden af Bokkes stand. For dem der ikke kender til Bokke er det værd at bemærke at det er noget af det højest ratede, mest hypede og i særdeleshed noget af det mest velsmagende vildgærede øl der findes. Da “dørene” åbnede og folk løb ind lykkedes det os at sikre os to smagsprøver på øllene fra Bokke. Som på mange af de andre stande på Mikkellers forskellige festivaler er det bryggerne selv der serverer deres eget øl og hos Bokke var det da også Raf Soef selv der serverede og fortalte røverhistorier i det omfang der var tid til det.

De to smagsprøver vi sikrede os var Pjassel 2018 – et super velsmagende blend af et, to og tre år gammelt lambik med røde ferskner fra Mosel. Den anden Bokke øl vi smagte var Steengaard 2018, som ligledes er et blend af et, to og tre år gammelt lambik, men denne gang med abrikoser, hvide ferskner, Würzer druer og hvide Muscat druer – en oplevelse af hvor godt øl virkelig kan smage når der ikke er grænser!

Pjassel 2018 og Steengaard 2018 i baggrunden

Efter oplevelsen hos Bokke prøvede vi adskillige yderst velsmagende syrlige øl og en af de bedste og mest overraskende øl var den kaffeprægede mørke sour “Mutational Meltdown” fra amerikanske Supertition Artisan Ales.

Mutational Meltdown bliver beskrevet som en Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged Dark Sour med kaffe, vanilje, kakaonibs og appelsinskal. Duften af denne øl fik mig instinktivt til at tænke på store imperial stouts, men fra første tår var der ingen tvivl om at det her var en yderst velsmagende sour med utallige smagsindtryk i hver eneste slurk. Oplevelsen var virkelig alt hvad jeg godt kan lide i en øl – stor velsmag, mange forskellige smagsindtryk og virkeligt mange forskellige oplevelser i samme glas.

Speciation Artisan Ales skænkede også den velsmagende Recombination – en vinfadlagret sour med aronia, lime, appelsin og granatæble. Set i bakspejlet tror jeg faktisk aldrig at jeg er blevet skuffet over øl fra Speciation Artisan Ales og bryggeren Mitch er altid venlig, imødekommende og klar til at stille op til et billede.

Recombination and Mutational Meltdown fra Speciation Artisan Ales
Mitch fra Speciation Artisan Ales

Jeg har hørt og læst om mange der har klaget over stedet Mikkeller Baghaven Wild Ale Celebration blev afholdt, men jeg oplevede ikke selv nogen tydelige problemer, da jeg deltog i formiddagens session om lørdagen. En smule mere plads og luft sammen med lidt flere siddepladser kunne have været rart, men jeg ved fra folk der deltog lørdag aften, at det var et reelt problem at der var for lidt plads og formange mennesker. Der var også solgt flere billetter til den sene session og borde og stole midt i rummet var fjernet, for at skabe plads til de ekstra gæster. 

Jeg håber at udfordringerne med pladsen skyldes, at det var første gang stedet blev brugt til en ølfestival. Et håb for fremtiden er, at det vil blive ændret til fremtidige udgaver af Mikkeller Baghaven Wild Ale Celebration, for jeg håber da i den grad at der kommer flere udgaver!

Det meget meget høje niveau på øllet til MBWAC2020 får mig da til at håbe at festivalen vender tilbage næste år. Hvis det sker, så er jeg helt sikker på at jeg vil komme tilbage og bruge en dag på at drikke nogen af verdens bedste syrlige og vildgærede øl.

Raf Soef fra Bokke skænker Pjassel 2018 Bokke og i baggrunden venter Steengaard 2018

Aarhus – Worth a visit?

Back home from my Baltic Sea adventure I had to go somewhere else to enjoy a great beer at a bar. Where I live is kind of a dry spot in craft beer bars. Only a short train ride away is Aarhus, Denmark where multiple craft beer bars are available.

First place to visit in this case was Mikkeller Bar Aarhus in Jægergårdsgade. Jægergårdsgade is a street buzzing with life from cafes, restaurents and bars. Mikkeller Bar Aarhus is the usual relaxed and welcomming Mikkeller Bar atmosphere and you immediately feel like this is a great place to lean back and enjoy a beer or three.

If you do not like the beers served in Mikkellers Bar Aarhus you can go next door to the bottle shop and find loads of great beers to bring home.

I have been to Mikkeller Bar Aarhus more than a few times (some of it here) and super tasty beers are always available. Is it worth a visit? Without a doubt this is a great bar and I have never been disappointed by the beers. The staff is always nice and knows a thing or two about the beers they are serving. This is a bar that I will like to return to again and again.

Are there any other great craft beer bars in Aarhus? Yes…more than one great craft beer bar is within walking distance from Mikkeller Bar Aarhus. Mig & Ølsnedkeren is always worth going to. 20 taps of great beers from all around the world and always a few taps with their own tasty beers. I enjoy going to Mig & Ølsnedkeren and have a beer or two with friends or going to one of their many tap takeovers.

Other great places to go for craft beer in Aarhus are Highlanders Bar, where I come for a beer every now and then. Erlings Jazz- og Ølbar – a cozy little bar with jazz music and concerts every Wednesday. I have been there a few times and I have never been disappointed eventhough the taplist is a bit shorter than at the other craft beers in Aarhus.

I know there are more craft beer bars in Aarhus and within a few weeks the Danish brewery Åben will open a bar in Aarhus. That a places I’m really looking forward to visit.

See you soon!

Stockholm – beer heaven?

Last stop on our journey partly around The Baltic Sea and back is Stockholm. Staying on Södermalm we had every opportunity to drink great beers. Our hotel was just around the corner – or two, maybe three blocks – from Mikkeller Stockholm. That left us we no choice but going there more than once during this stay in this very welcoming city.

Mikkeller Stockholm is very clearly a Mikkeller bar… The interior decoration is simpel but still inviting and makes you feel at home. This time we arrived around dinner time and decided to have some ‘Danish Smørrebrød’. To accompany this tasty dinner we had some IPA, berliner weisse and saison – all great beers with a lot to offer in a super hot Swedish summer evening.

Not far from Mikkeller Stockholm we found Omnipollos Flora where we decided to round of the evening with a beer or three. Omnipollos Flora is a summer Pop-up venue/beer garden in the Humlegården park in Stockholm serving food, icecream and Omnipollo beers. I was lucky enough to put my hand on a soft serve version of one of the beers. For those not knowing it, Omnipollo is known for their soft serve beers. Soft serve is a way of serving the beers with kind of a slush-ice on top. It is a super smooth way to enjoy the beers. I haven’t had a single bad soft serve beer from Omnipollo…and I have had more than a few. To know more about the beers we had and to have a look at this cozy place and the beers I enjoyed, this is the place to look.

The next day we went out to see some more sights in Stockholm and planned to hit Omnipollos Hatt around noon to have beer and lunch. Omnipollos Hatt makes some crazy great pizzas and the beers are tasty too. We found a seat in the sun outside the bar on an even hotter Swedish summer day. We went for a soft serve Moa Lemon Curd Sour and a juicy hazy pale ale – both great choices in the heat. Both of the beers went well with the super tasty pizzas. If you decide to pay Omnipollos Hatt a visit, be sure to do it when you are hungry for some pizza.

After some post-lunch sightseeing we ended up returning to Mikkeller Stockholm for dinner and some more beers. I’m sure I could visit this bar hundreds of times without growing tired of it . This time we tried the variations of ‘smørrebrød’ that we didn’t try the day before – again very tasty food that can easily compete with the Danish originals. To wash down the food we had a fruity juicy berliner weisse, a lambic brewed for the bar and a hoppy sour ale. All great beers to finish this Baltic beercation.

Stockholm is in my opinion worth a visit to drink great beers. I have been here more than once now and I’m not finished at all. Stockholm is definitely a place I want to go back to. There are still a lot of great beer places I haven’t visited and the ones I visited are all worth a revisit.

This is all from this fantastic summer of beer and traveling. Soon I’ll return with other beer matters of great importance. See you!

Turku – mediocre beers?

On our way back to Denmark we had a short stop in Turku, Finland. It was as super hot Finnish summer day, when we arrived in Turku. We dropped off our bags at the AirBnB place and went out to explore Turku. On our way we stumbled across Panimoravintola Koulu where we had lunch and a beer. Panimoravintola Koulu had a very nice beer garden in which we enjoyed beers and burgers. I could imagine this being a busy place in the evening and the beer I had was nice. If the pilsner I had was the image of the rest of the Panimoravintola Koulu beers, then this brewery/brewpub is worth another visit.

Being in Turku only one day we moved on to see some of the local sights. Before returning to our airBnB we went to another bar – The Old Bank. The Old Bank is an old school pub with an extensive selection of bottled beers. The beertender tried to guide us in choosing the right local beers. We ended up with a raspberry sour from the Turku based Kakola Brewing Company and a dark lager from the small Finnish brewery Takatalo & Tompuri. None of the two beers were impressive, but that could either be because of us choosing badly or simply mediocre beers. I can’t tell… If forced to choose I would go for the raspberry sour.

The Turku beer scene may very well be bigger than this, but this was what we managed to try before we had to move on and go to Stockholm, Sweden. See you!

If in Tallinn, places to go for beer

From Helsinki it’s only a short boat ride to Tallinn, Estonia. We went there to visit different sights and the midieval city, which is one of the best preserved of its kind in Europe. One place that was on top of our list was the Põhjala Brewery and the Põhjala Taproom. We went there on a hot and sunny summer evening and hoped to find a table outside. Luck was not on our side and we had to sit inside – no problem at all. Põhjala just recently moved into newly renovated buildings in what seems like an old industrial neighbourhood a short busride from the center of Tallinn.

We wanted to try many different beers and went for flights of five beers. This was a great way to try a lot of the tasty Põhjala beers. All in all we ended up trying 11 different beers of all sorts – some of them core range, some collaborations and some from other breweries than Põhjala.

The 11 beers were fruited gose, sour IPA, gose, milkshake IPA, baltic porter, porter, IPA, pastry stout, berliner weisse, imperial stout and session IPA. If you want to know more about the beers you can read it here. Most of the Põhjala beers are great and among the ones we had, were collaborations with AF Brew, Coppertail Brewing, Collective Arts Brewing and Other Half. The best beer we had was the super tasty imperial stout “Hämarik” – a collaboration with Other Half. This imperial stout is super balanced in the adjuncts – rye, vanilla, coffee are great and a boozy note works together in a near perfect combination – If you are anywhere near Põhjala Taproom go get this beer (if it’s still on tap…!).

Before we left Põhjala Taproom we had a super tasty Three Meat Platter from their Texas BBQ kitchen washed down with a session IPA from Estonian brewery Pühaste. A perfect way to end this tasty visit to a very great taproom.

In Tallinn it’s also worth to mention Koht Moonshine Bar – a bar that is only open when it’s open!! A sign on the door says so and we found it to be true. Only the third time we returned to the little side street was the bar open. It turned out to be a very nice place with a great selection of beers. Unfortunately we only had half and hour left when we finally found Koht Moonshine Bar open. We managed to try two beers an English bitter brewed for Koht and a buckwheat amber lager from Pühaste – both nice beers. From Koht we walked on to the restaurent Rataskaevu 16 where we enjoyed tasty Estonia food and beers from a selection way better than the average restaurent. It was also at Rataskaevu 16 that I tried my first ever kvass. Kvass is much like liquid rye bread and non-alcoholic. It was a very nice thirst quencer on a hot Estonia summer day.

To end our visit to Tallinn we found a supermarket and found many great beers – both Estonia and foreign – to bring home to enjoy later.

Tallinn is definitely a place I would like to go back to and Põhjala Taproom alone is worth traveling for if you ask me.

This is all for now… next I will return with beers and places to drink them in Turku, Finland – see you!

Mikkeller Helsinki and more

Helsinki and more than one great beer bar is only a two hour train ride from Tampere – that’s where we went. We had a plan to visit Mikkeller Helsinki, Sori Tap Room and what other craft beer places that we found interesting. In between the visits we went to Saint Petersburg, Russia and Tallinn, Estonia. The theme for our beer bar visits in Helsinki seems to be something like black, hoppy and sour beers – not the worst in combination with sunny Finnish summer weather.

The first place we went was a bar called Ølhus København. Being Danes the name intrigued us and we had to check out the beer selection. We went to Ølhus København in the afternoon which ment that there was plenty of space for us to choose beers and where we wanted to sit and enjoy our beers. The selection of beers was nice with Amager Bryghus among them, but we settled for a straight forward Finnish porter with nice bitterness and a fair amount of roasted malt flavors – a tasty Finnish porter. The beer was Helsinki Portteri by suomenlinnanpanimo. We enjoyed the porter on the deck in front of the bar – a nice and quiet place with a relaxed atmosphere, which seems to be the Finnish way dealing with the realities of life. We went on with the realities of being tourists and went on to see some more sights and find other places to enjoy more beers.

Drinking beer and sightseeing makes you hungry at some point. When hunger struck we went for burgers at Gastropub Stone’s. The selection of burgers was something like nine or ten different ones. The ones we chose were tasty and paired with the selection of beers Gastropub Stones was a nice place for dinner. To accompany the beers we ordered a filght of four beers – a lager, two fruited sours and an IPA. All the beers were quite tasty and was great company for the burger. If you want to read more about the beers we had, this is the place to look.

Next day we went to Saint Petersburg, Russia by train. Beer was not a big part of this part of the trip, but we had some okay local lagers (Learn more about the beers here and here) where we had dinner. Saint Petersburg is definitely worth a visit just to experience all the great places you may have heard of like the the Winter Palace for instance. Following the days in Russia we returned to Finland and Helsinki and had more great beers.

Back in Helsinki we went for a bar that I had read quite a lot before we went to Helsinki. Sori Taproom had made hopes high that the beers would be great and I wasn’t disappointed in any way.

Sori Taproom is definitely a great place if you want to taste beers from all around the world. We decided on flights of four tasters to try as many of the great beers from the 24 taps as possible. The beers are very reasonably priced Finnish beer prices regarded. A flight of four beers from any of the taps was 20€ and a flight of five Sori Core beers was 20€ too. We ended up tasting nine different beers all-in-all – We had to flights of four, but they made a mistake when pouring the second flight and decided to give us the extra beer for free – Great move! The resulting nine beers were of all colors and styles from pale yellow to pitch black, session IPA to bold imperial stouts, fruity and sour to black and bitter. If you want to know more about all of the nine beers you have to look at this Instagram post. It’s really hard to point out one beer as being better than the rest, but Speedway Stout Vietnamese Coffee by AleSmith was an absolute hit eventhough it was a hot summer day (Every day is a stout day…). The Nightman Leaveth by Odd Side Ales – a super smooth and velvety creamy imperial stout with just about the right amount of rye whisky and vanilla – was the right beer to end the session. Odd Side Ales was unknow to me before this beer, but it’s a brewery that I have to explore some more. If The Nightman Leaveth is one in a line of beers at the same level, Odd Side Ales could be a favorite brewery in the future.

Sori Taproom is surely a craft beer bar that deserves it’s reputation as one of the best in Helsinki. I would very much like to go there again some day. Staff is very friendly and helpful in choosing beers and the atmosphere is nice both inside and outside. Only downside might be quite a lot of noise from the traffic when sitting outside close to a main tram line and a congested road.

Being in Helsinki three times during the summer and living in hotels only a few hundred meters from Mikkeller Helsinki left us with no choice but going there more than once.

Mikkeller Helsinki is one of the newest additions to the Mikkeller family and is well in line with the relaxed atmosphere that has characterized all the other Mikkeller bars I have visited. The last time we were there we had a chat with the manager who was a really nice guy. We talked about the beer scene in Finland and Denmark and the great things about this new bar in Helsinki. He told us one thing that surprised us a bit – summer is kind of low season in Helsinki because people are out in the country visiting their cottages and camping by the numerous lakes. We were surprised because it seemed like there was a lot of people all the places we went in Helsinki.

If you want to know more about the beers we had at Mikkeller Helsinki, please take a look at these instagram posts: First visit. Second visit.

This is all for now – next post will be about places to drink great beers in Tallinn, Estonia – See you!

Great choices in Tampere, Finland

Tampere is a nice place to be and we chose to stay another day to get a better feeling of the city. People in Tampere seems friendly and the city itself feels welcomming and open to new people. This is definitely a place I could spend time again. On this second day in Tampere we decided to go to a few places and settled on the world’s highest gravel ridge, a TV-tower and a few beer bars. Gastropub Nordic and Plevna was our bar choices.

The first bar ve went to was Plevna. Plevna is a brewpub in the old cotton mills of the Finlayson company in the heart of Tampere, Finland. The Plevna brewery was established in 1994 long before any craft beer revolution had hit Finland. In some ways the interior actually looks like the restaurant and brewpub is way older than that. Not that it’s worn down or anything like that. The style of the decorations is just very old fashioned. Don’t be fooled by this – the beers are quite tasty! We went for a flight of three tasters. The first three tasters were:

1) Simcoe APA – a very tasty Simcoe forward APA. In my world this was a very classic American pale ale with an evident bitterness and a nice hop flavor. This well made beer was a very good beginning and brought hopes up for the next beers.

2) Mummon Mustaherukkasiideri – This was a thirst quenching blackcurrant cider that brought memories of my grandmas tasty lemonade. Again quality in my glass was nice.

3) Mörkö MM – a very soft and smooth feeling with a sort of rye bread feel to it hit my mouth with this dark lager – another tasty beer.

When drinking the first three beers we read about the other Plevna beers and found out that more than one of the beers have been awarded medals through the years. Great excuse to try some more of them. Second flight which contained two of the awarded beers was:

1) Pikku Musta – a nice Czech style dark lager. Pikku Musta was crisp with evident bready notes and a nice bitterness. This is much how I like my dark lagers.

2) Plevnan Weizenbock – huge banana flavors and great wheat notes in a not too sweet weizenbock. Weizenbock is usually not my style of beer but this one is tasty. What I liked about this beer was that it wasn’t cloyingly sweet, which is what often makes me choose other beers than weizenbocks – actually all kinds of bock! This weizenbock had been awarded as beer of the year in Finland a year or three ago. I understand why. It’s a weizenbock that you can actually drink a pint of without a sugary stickyness being too much.

3) Siperia – a kind of classic imperial stout – Awarded as Finlands best beer four years ago…I think I know why! A firm but not over-the-top bitterness, nice roasted malt flavors and chocolate and coffee notes. This is a tasty beer. It’s very nice for once to have a well executed imperial stout that’s not loaded with adjuncts or aged in all kinds of barrels. Not that I don’t like those pastry stouts or barrel aged monsters, but this is what an imperial stout was before the age of adjucts hit us.

All of the beers at Panimoravintola Plevna(Pictures here) followed a long and hot day of walking to the top of the world’s highest gravel ridge and back down again. The view from the top of the ridge was amazing. You were really able to see all the lakes north of Tampere surrounded by absolutely insane numbers of fir trees.

Well…back to the beers and Panimoravintola Plevna. Siperia – the old school imperial stout was my favorite beers of the six we had. If you want rustic charm and great locally brewed beer. Panimoravintola Plevna is definitely worth a visit.

This was not our last stop in Tampere. From Plevna we walked across the river and into a side street to Gastropub Nordic, where we had some more beers and something to eat.

Gastropub Nordic is a light and inviting bar with a cozy and relaxed atmosphere and a more than decent selection of beer on tap. The owner/bartender was in the mood for a chat and turned out to be a very nice guy. We talked about the beer scene in both Finland and Denmark and about some ofthe beers that were on tap at the time. Center of the chat was the Drew Curtis/Will Wheaton/Greg Koch Stone Farking Wheaton W00tstout 2018 by Stone Brewing. This amazing Russian imperial stout is loaded with great flavors of chocolate, bourbon, oak, coffee and possibly every great taste in a balanced barrel aged imperial stout. This stout is so much more than Siperia from Plevna that we had earlier on. Siperia was not bad, Drew Curtis/Will Wheaton/Greg Koch Stone Farking Wheaton W00tstout 2018 is just so much more and really shows what skilled brewers can do if they know how to do adjuncts without overdoing them. I would really love to have a bottle or five of this super tasty beer in my basement to experience how it develops in the years to come. I’m sure that time will make this an even better beer.

Drew Curtis/Will Wheaton/Greg Koch Stone Farking Wheaton W00tstout 2018 was not the only tasty beer we had in Gastropub Nordic. We also had beers from @cloudwaterbrew, @omnipollo and @amagerbryghus. To see what it was you can go to my instagram post about Gastropub Nordic. This place is definitely one that I would like to return to in the future – people, food and beers were all great.

This is all for now – when I’m back again, it’s places to drink great beers in Helsinki, Finland – see you!