Now it was time for the strong stuff and I started with Närkes Barley Wine named simply “!”. It was great, nice complex malty flavour balanced with hops and allot of residual sweetness. A very nice beer and my favorite for the evening. Lucky for me it wasn’t one of the more popular beers so I came back and ordered more samples and eventually a whole bottle of this. Because at this point allot of the beers where running low and I soon realised I had nothing left to taste that I hadn’t already rated. But it was quite nice to just walk around and talk to brewers, friends and I even ran into Johan from Fem Komma Noil TV, I forgot to take a picture though.
Laurel and Hardy? (Helan och halvan?)
At 20:00 they announced the winner of Guldskum. The winner was Dugges Batch 352. Unfortunately he wasn’t present at the festival but one of the brewers from Ahlafors accepted the prize in his stead. Even though I didn’t vote for Dugges I have to admit they where worthy of the win. Guldskum was very close this year and it felt it was more even then previous years. I don’t know how the voting went though.
I also wanted to start trying the beers from the Singles bar at this point. But they where all out of beer, which was a bit sad. We had a discussion about this at the festival and a couple of things could be changed to improve the singles bar. First of all the samples could be reduced from 10 to 5 cl. Many of the beers where just 33 or 50 cl so they ran out very fast. I also would have preferred if they would have opened it later on in the evening. They opened it at 14:00 on Saturday but I felt they could have opened later. But that might just suite me as I prefer to start the day with the lighter beers. Besides that I love the idea of the singles bar and you got to like the dressed up women that serves the beer.
Around 23:00 we felt it was time to call it a night. It had been yet another fantastic festival in Söderbärke. They stay at Markgården was also great, the couple that runs that place was very hospitable and nice. It felt like staying over at someone’s grandparents farm. We slept in cosy beds and got served home baked bread for breakfast in their large kitchen. I was also surprised at how large the place was. In the cellar they had a bar and dance floor and you could walk in a culvert underground and emerge in the pool house. The pool was big enough to host a trampoline, there was a gym in one corner and they had a fairly large sauna. All this for just 400 SEK a night. I heard they are interested in selling the place, so if any of you are looking to buy the starting price is 9,5 million.
I took the train home to Stockholm, with a change in Västerås it was a fairly smooth trip. I might actually take the train next time and just spend the day in Söderbärke.
All in all I tried several good beers (3+) at SMÖF, but only a few of them manage to reach those really high scores (4+). Possibly because I had already tried the best beers at the festival. But there where also no dissapointments, I didn’t pour any beers down the drain so to speak. The only thing I would have wished for is a wider selection. I felt that the selection was mostly limited to Czech, German and English beer styles. The only American style beers where a couple of IPAs and there where also very few Belgian beer styles represented. I personally would have been thrilled to try some more wheat beer (these where rare), Belgian style beers (doubles, lambics, quadrupels, you name it) and a couple of hop monsters (you know me, I’m a hophead at heart).
Now it’s time to rest and prepare for Örebro Beer and Whisky Festival in 3 weeks. I will be there on Saturday the 20th.
I had just finished off my tasting of lagers and felt it was time for a change. So we headed over to the tap beer room. I started with British ales, and what better place to try some British style beers then at Irish Pub Sundsvall. So I walked over to the other building and started with their Bitter named Malty Towers, which was a malty real ale with some honey. Instead of their Burton IPA anno 1880 they had something called Bobek. Which had a flavour of caramel, fudge and malt. But I felt this one was a bit to mild, Malty Towers was allot better in my opinion.
Since I was in the tap beer room I figured I could try the Guldskum candidates. Unfortunately Sandbacka India Red hadn’t made it to the festival so it was cancelled and as I said before Burton IPA anno 1880 wasn’t available so Irish Pub Sundsvall participated with Dublin Stout. I actually had a hard time choosing which one to vote for. My personal favourites was Nynäshamns Bötet Barley Wine, Dugges Batch 352 and Oppigårds Indian Tribute. In the end I decided to go for India Tribute. It wasn’t an Amarillo Spring but it did the trick for me, with a flavour of caramel malt, fruity hops and grapefruit. Duggest Batch 352 was similar with a slightly milder flavour. I will get back to Guldskum in tomorrows post, where I will anounce the winner.
While I was deciding on who to vote for they where serving beer after beer at the Singles bar. But I had decided on a plan to go for the lighter beers first and save the more intense stuff for later. But I have to admit it was hard to stay away when some of the beers where announced. I spotted beers like Slottskällans Kloster 1999 and below you can see what they served on Friday.
We took a short break for lunch about this time. I tried Åkes strong sausage and it was really tasty, nice chunky meaty body and spicy flavour. But it wasn’t that kind of insane spiciness that would have ruined my mouth for the evening. Perfect balance in my opinion. I later came back and tried their Barcelona, which was also nice but a completely different type of sausages. I think it was a chorizo with a very firm and meaty body. It didn’t have that chunky texture that I liked abut Åkes, but it was still delicious.
After lunch they announced that there was a seminar held by the craft brewers. The subject was selling beers at the brewery. The seminar was in the form of a discussion and there where a bunch of breweries “on stage”, Närke, Ahlafors, Irish Pub Sundsvall and Oppigårds. There where also some represenatives from Eskilstuna Ölkultur, Ängö Kvartersbryggeri and Nils Oscar in the audience. As some of you already know this question is currently under investigation by the government. As far as I understood the craft brewers don’t know more then has already been published, but they felt that the investigation was serious and professional. They also believed the investigators had a better picture of the situation in this investigation compared to the last one. Apparently they thought craft brewers where small factories pumping out beer last time. We’ll see what happens, I’m personally hoping they open up for sales at the breweries. It would make it so much more fun to visit breweries if you can both taste and buy the beer they produce. I also have a feeling the brew tours will see an increase in popularity.
After a couple of hours of beer tasting we decided to take a break around 18:00. We walked back to Markgården to have a sauna and refresh ourselves. Me and my father braved the sauna that was now steaming at 110 degrees, while the youngsters (no not Manfred) decided to take a nap. I tend to get very tired after a sauna but was surprised at how refreshed I felt when I got back to the festival, ready to try more beer. But lets save that for tomorrow…
I’m writing this on the train from Söderbärke to Västerås. Trees, lakes and small wooden houses flash by outside my window. It’s quite a scenery, at times it feels like the train is travelling over the water rather then beside it.
But enough about the damn lakes. Me, my father Åke, my cousin Kenny, Nicklas and Manfred took the “beer-van” to Söderbärke yesterday. The trip up was smooth and we checked in at Markgården. An inn located, yes you guessed it, at a lake. I was quite impressed by the size of the place. Allot bigger then I imagined from the pictures online.
After a quick check in we headed off to the festival. We got there just a few minutes after opening so we where on schedule. At the entrance we got served Dugges Fålen. I was expecting a Bitter since this was it’s class at Ratebeer. But this was more of an American Pale Ale or similar. Lots of fruity American hops which created a very pleasent hop aroma and bitterness.
I started with some low ABV beer, Strömsholms En Riktig Lättöl and Sigtuna Doktoktorns Pale Ale. Both where nice considering the low ABV. So if you are looking for low ABV beer and come across these I suggest you give them a shot.
I then tried the 10 beers from Pivovar Boumov. One of two Czech breweries at the festival. Most of their beer where very similar, just a minor change in ABV. An earthy and sweet malty flavour with some flowery honey. They did bring to spiced beers that where quite interesting though. The Pepper beer was packed full with freshly ground black pepper. The smell was quite overpowering but the taste was better and more balanced. The overall experience was that it was a bit to much and I had a hard time accepting the pepper flavour I beer. The other one was a Lingon berry beer. It smelled great, a basked of fruits attacked my nose even before I stuck it in the glass. Surprisingly it was mostly apples, pears and other fruits, some berries but I couldn’t really feel the lingon beery. The taste was a bit disappointing though as the fruits was allot lighter. Despite the disappointing tastes I have to admit it was fun to try some Czech spiced beers as I never find them in Sweden.
I rated some more Premium Lagers that I missed at previous festivals and then it was time for some draught beer. I started with some Brittish ales but lets save that for tomorrow…
I’ve taken a closer look at the beer list and it’s looking promising. I won’t mention all of them but there are some interesting beers at this years festival.
Starting with the Swedish beers I can tell you that Ahlafors is bringing a new beer named Ahle Ale, which is part of the “Guldskum” competiton and was mentioned in Part 1. They are also bringing another new beer named Ahlafors Oktoberöl. I don’t have any info but suspect some kind of Octoberfestbier.
Eskilstuna Ölkutur is fairly hard to find get if you don’t live close to the town. They are bringing several interesting beers. The two draught beers, Annas Red Ale and Runes Dunkel are both new to me. I also haven’t tried Skogsängens Ekologiska Saison which is supposedly spiced with basil. I have tried their Snopptorp Starkporter before and it is definitely worth a shot if you haven’t had it before.
Hantverksbryggeriet is bringing a new Christmas beer called Julnarren. I haven’t found any info on it yet. Look for it in the draught beer section.
Irish Pub Sundsvall is bringing 3 “new” beers to the festival. Well at lest new in the sense that they haven’t brought them before. They are bringing a Bitter, an IPA and a Stout. Look for them in the draught beer section.
Malmö Brygghus is one of Sweden’s newest breweries and they will be at the festival. I’m very excited about this as I have been following their progress online. They are bringing 4 beers that are all new to me, a wit (belgian wheat), an American Pale Ale, an IPA and a Cacao Porter. I’m really looking forward try trying these beers.
Monks is only bringing one beer, but it’s a killer of a beer called Russian Imperial Porter No. 1 or the more deadly name R.I.P. I’ve tried the No. 3 version and it was an intense brew with lots of flavour. It was the beer that finally got the Bäver smell out of my mouth.
Närke is bringing a wide range of beers (widest selection of the festival?). Eld & Låger is a new beer, the recipe was made by De Molen under the name Vuur & Vlam. It has then been brewed by several breweries, like Emelisse, Midtfynds and Alvinne. As far as I know it’s an American IPA around 6,2%. I also heard a little bird whisper in my ear that they might bring some Bäver with them. If you do try this I advice you to save it to later on in the evening since that aftertaste can be a killer. I also want to advice anybody who haven’t tried Kaggen Stormaktsporter to do so now. It’s one of the best (if not best) beers in the world and you get to try it at a fairly cheap price. Finally Närke is bringing some Elevator to SMÖF, I tried this at the premiere at Akkurat and it was amazing. However it hasn’t recieved that much praise, not as much as I feel it deserves. It might be because it wasn’t as good on bottle as it was on tap.
Oceanbryggeriet is bringing their Glenn No 5, which is a Bitter sitting at 5%. It was brewed together with IFK Göteborgs fan club Änglarna (The Angels). They used Marris Otter Pale Ale Malt and English, German and American hops. I haven’t tried it yet but will make sure to do so at the festival.
Qvänum Mat & Malt is a small brew pub and they are bringing a beer that is new to me called Grannen Ale, which is an organic American Pale Ale. They used barley from a neighbour and Austrian Mallings hops.
Sigtuna Brygghus is bringing their Ace of Spades. This is Swedens strongest beer, a massive Imperial Stout sitting like a fat frog at 18,5%. It will be available at Systembolaget as a limited release but it will come at a high price so this is a great time to try this monster of a beer.
Strömsholm is bringing a beer that might be hard to come by, it’s their low alcohol beer En Riktigt Lättöl. I usually walk by the beer section at the supermarket, if I’m lucky they have a Swedish Craft beer but I haven’t found this one before. The guys at Strömsholm are also bringing a very well balanced smoke beer named Malakias. I think it’s definitely worth a try.
To finish off the Swedish breweries we got Ängö Kvartersbryggeri. They where available at SBWF and I tried their entire selection. They brew some nice and fresh beer that reminds me of home brewed beer. My personal favourite is their Belgo Double called Diabolisk Ängöl.
Besides all the Swedish breweries there will also be some foreign beer available at the festival. For instance, Mikkeller Big Worse Barley Wine 2007, Ölfabrikken Winterporter 2007 and Samuel Smith Imperial Stout 2007. Not sure why they are all from 2007 but Im not complaining, they are all high rated beers, specially Samuel Smith. I actually visited Samuel Smiths pub in London earlier this year, named Princess Louise.
Pivovar Broumov is a completely new beer for me and many of their beers aren’t even on Ratebeer. They have a bunch of czech pilsners but also some spiced beers, with pepper and lingonberry. These spiced varietes rarely makes it to Sweden and I have only encountered them in the Czech Republic. I’m actually not to impressed by the Czech beers available at Systembolaget. But I’ve been to Prague and I had some amazing beer there so I know they can do better then what is normally available in Sweden. So check for these beers they will be available at both “Buteljen” and “Expressbaren”.
The other Czech brewery that is present at the festival is Pivovar Tambor. According to the guys behind SMÖF this is a world premiere. The beers have been rated since 2009 though so might just be first time outside of the Czech Republic. But even so it’s exciting to see such a new brewery at this festival. Their beers are only available on tap at “Fatet”. I will aim to try these early on in the day.
Besides all these beers you should also keep an extra eye on the Singles bar. There should be some great stuff there and it changes all the time.
The layout of the festival looks to be the same as last year. When you enter you will recieve you tasting glass, either with or without Dugges Fålen. Just down the stairs is the room named “Buteljen” and this is where all the bottled beers are located. You will also be able to buy some bottled beer and cider in the Restaurant where you can also get some gulasch, pie, sausages or similar dishes. You can also buy hot dogs in “Ölhallen” (The Beer Hall), this is where all the beer on tap is (except Fålen) and also “Singeln” (The Singel) and “Expressen” (The Express). “Singeln” is a small bar where they serve 1 exclusive beer at the time. When the bottle is empty they switch and a new beer is sold. This was introduced last year and I loved it. Lots of great beers where served here, mostly exclusive and importer beers. “Expressen” is new as far as I can remember from previous years. Either that or I have forgotten about it. It’s a bar that will open later at night when there are allot of people at the festival. They only serve full bottles, 4 pale lagers and 6 ciders.
There will be a bunch of seminars at the festival on Saturday. The first seminare is done by Bo Hansson with the subject: Brewery Nostalgia, with Borlänge as an example. This seminare will be held at 14:00 and 17:00.
The second seminare is about the Swedish Craft Breweries. I’m not sure who will host it but it will take place at 15:00 and 18:00. Both seminares takes between 20-30 minutes and are held in the B-Hall. Since I will be there all day I intend to visit at least one of them, most likely the one about Swedish Craft Breweries.
Next weekend (29th and 30th of October) it’s time for all the beer lovers in Sweden to head out into the wilderness, avoid those banjo playing locals and find one of the best beer festivals in Sweden. SMÖF 2010 is finally here and I will visit the festival on Saturday (30th of October). Me, my father and some friends will drive up from Frövi and will stay the night at Markgården.
I’ve had a look at the programme and beer list and will now try to do write down a preview. Lets start at the beginning and that is the entry beer, the beer you get when you enter the festival. This year it’s a beer from Dugges called Fålen. This is a Bitter that has recieved decent scores at Ratebeer and have a 3,14 average. I don’t find Bitters that exciting but it feels like a good beer type to start the festival. At least it shouldn’t destroy my tastebuds and I normally love Dugges beers.
Every year SMÖF hosts a competition called Guldskum (Gold Foam). Last years winner was Oppigårds Pale Ale, can they defend the titel this year? This years lineup is wider and more diversified then any year before it, so I think Oppigårds will face some fierce competition.
- Dublin Stout – Irish Pub Sundsvall – Dry Stout – 4,9%
This cask ale was brewed with pale-, chocolate malt and torrified wheat. Challenger was used as bittering hops. According to the only rater at Ratebeer this one looks like a guiness but judging from the 3,7/5 score it tastes allot better.
- Bötet Barley Wine – Nynäshamns Ånbryggeri – Barley Wine – 9,1%
This Barley Wine is brewed with 3 types of caramel malt and stored on tanks for 7 months. Bötet is one of the few beers in this competition that I have actually tried and I guess allot of you readers have as well since it . I liked it when I tried it last time and gave it a 4,1/5. But also have a couple of bottles on storage. Will try it again at SMÖF.
- India Red – Sandbacka Bryggeri – IPA – 6,8%
This beer isn’t registered at Ratebeer yet so the only info I have is from the SMÖF beerlist.
- Ahle Ale – Ahlafors Bryggeri – English Pale Ale – 4,5%
This English Pale Ale is brewed with english malts and Golding hops. It has been around for a while and gathered quite allot of ratings at Ratebeer. I haven’t tried it yet myself but will do so at the festival. It currently has an average of 2,96/5.
- Annas Red Ale – Eskilstuna Ölkultur – Amber Ale – 4,7%
This Amber Ale was brewed with carared malts and Amarillo hops. They used a technique called hop bursting which means you add very little bittering hops at the start of the boil and then add more and more the closer you get to the end of the boil. This gives a strong hop aroma while the bitterness is kept fairly mild, in this case at 30 IBU. I haven’t tried this yet but it has gotten two nice reviews at 3,8/5.
- Tok-Olle – Strömsholms Brygghus - English Pale Ale – 4,8%
This one was brewed with English Pale Ale- and Münchener-malt and hopped with East Kent Golding. They used a scottish yeast which according to the brewery should give a special character. The idea is that this should be enjoyed in the spring when the sun starts to warm enough so you can enjoy it outside. I tried it at SBWF and it was a light and easy to drink beer. Not my favorite in this lineup but I got a feeling it will suite allot of visitors at SMÖF.
- Brukspatron – Skebo Bruksbryggeri - Premium Bitter/ESB – 5,6%
I haven’t tried this beer yet and I haven’t found allot of info about it online. According to the website it is a “winter warmer”. It has gotten 4 reviews so far that are all fairly similar with an average score of 3,47/5. Sound like this is a malty and fruity english style ale. Will definitely try it out.
- Skvatt GALEn – Närke Kulturbryggeri - Spice/Herb/Vegetable – 4,9%
This beer is quite special. They didn’t use any aroma hops, instead they used herbs like Pors and Skvattram. I tried it at SBWF and liked it, a very interesting beer. But I have a feeling this type is to unusual for most visitors at the festival. Just as with their smoked beer last year, Närke delivers a solid brew, but one that is a bit to out there to get a wider appreciation.
- Batch 352 – Dugges – IPA – 6%
I don’t have any information on this beer besides that it’s a 6% IPA. But Dugges always delivers quality beer and so far this one has recived above average scores at Ratebeer (3,5/5).
- Indian Tribute – Oppigårds Bryggeri – IPA – 6,6%
Oppigårds usually makes some nice IPAs so this one should definitely be worth a try. I’m sure I’ve tried it before but according to Ratebeer I haven’t registered my score. However allot of other people have (79 in total) and this one has an above average score at 3,54/5. Sounds like Oppigårds is making a serious attempt at defending the titel. We will see how it goes on Saturday.
I will have a look at the seminars, layout of the festival and a closer look at the beer list in the upcoming reviews.
Summer has passed, the days are getting shorter and the wind colder. For allot of people this is a negative thing, but not for the Swedish beer lovers. Because this is the time when most of the major beer festivals takes place. It kicks off with the biggest of them all, Stockholm Beer & Whisky.
- Date: 30th September – 2nd October, 7th – 9th October
- Location: Factory, Nacka Strand, Stockholm
- Entrance fee: 199 SEK
I will be there on Saturday the 2nd of October. I will try to focus on imported and special/limited beer. Last year we focused on DIPAs and Barley Wine. But I intend to try a wider selection this year, definitely try more of the Danish micros that are going to participate. The reason I won’t focus on Swedish micros is because of the next festival.
- Date: 29th – 30th October
- Location: Folkets Hus in Söderbärke
- Entrance fee: 120 SEK
This festival is located in the small town of Söderbärke and it attracts basically the entire Swedish Microbrewery scene. There will also be a couple of imported beers at the festival. Despite the small town the festival is bigger then expected, stretching across two buildings. The first of them has the bottled selection and in the nearby gymnasium there is a bunch of beers on tap. In the same building they also introduced a new section last year, the singles bar. No it’s not a bar for single people, but a bar for single beer. They open a bottle at the time and don’t switch to a new beer until the first beer is finished. Last year I tried all the beer on this list… well at least the once that was still around on Saturday. Since we will spend all day and night in Söderbärke I think I will managed the same thing again this year.
- Date: 19th – 20th November
- Location: Conventum, Örebro
- Entrance fee: 190 SEK
I grew up just 30 km from Örebro so this is like going home for me. I visited the festival for the first time last year and was impressed. It doesn’t have the same wide supply as SBWF, but it’s more then enough to keep you interested for several days of beer tasting. Meanwhile it’s more spacious and not as crowded as SBWF. Närke Kulturbryggeri is on their homefield and it was noticable last year with a big bardisk and lots of beer on tap. They even had some Närke Kaggen in a swedish oak barrel. I currently don’t have a plan for this festival and think I will just try to fill in the blanks from the two previous festivals. Try thoose limited releases that I missed on the two previous festivals. I also have a feeling I will park my ass at Brill’s booth if they are there this year again.
I hope to see you all at the festivals.