When I sent out mails to all the brewers and importers I got a short but intriguing mail from Thomas at Nynäshamns Ångbryggeri: “Come visit me at our booth, I got something you will want to try”. I’m not late to accept such an invitation and when I got to their booth he was very quick to pull out a bottle of Valsviken Vinterporter. I tried it at SBWF but then it had been open in the fridge for a long time and had a very distinct vegetable flavour. I can tell you that the bottle I tried at ÖBWF did not have the same problem. It’s a lightly spiced Imperial Porter with a nice chocolate coffee flavour. Lucky for you it will be released at Systembolaget on the 1st of December.
Since we where close by we decided to stop by Hantverksbryggeriet. I had a couple of beers to tick of (Narren and Sotarn), but it was a beer that a friend bought that stood out, Baronen 2006. It’s their Barley Wine and it has aged with dignity, one of the best beers at this years festival and I hope we get to see Baronen at Systembolaget soon.
I tried allot of beers at the festival but around 20:00 I felt it was time to call it a night and start to head on home. I feel that the Örebro festival keeps getting better each year, Pyrre has done an amazing job carrying on the work of Stanley Wong. It doesn’t have the amount of beers and brewers as SBWF but one of the upsides is that it’s held in an open and airy building with lots of space inbetween the booths. You can easily walk around the festival without having to push yourself through a crowd and there are plenty of tables to both sit and stand at. I also like the payment system where you buy paper/cardboard money at the entrance and use them to pay with.
I’ve been to 3 festivals in less then 2 months and I have to admit I need a rest. It’s been allot of fun and I’ve meet a bunch of nice people and had so many great beers that I have problems remembering them all.. hmm that didn’t come out right. Next beer festival is in Gothenbourg in the end of January, then it’s homebrew festival season again… so time to recharge those batteries.
Not long after I arrived at Närke I ran into a bunch of fellow beer bloggers. David and Fredrik from Ölkultur med David & Fredrik, Johan from Gjölen and Peter from Fat & Flaska. You can see us in the pic above, I’m the guy without the beard. Go check out their bloggs if you want to read more about the festival, there should be some reports up shortly.
Sharing the booth with Närke was Irish Pub Sundsvall and Haandbryggeriet. Irish Pub had brought a beer that I didn’t know of, Stabbläggarn. It was a real ale with a mild malty and flowery flavour, very smooth and easy to drink. Haandbryggeriet had two new interesting beers called Nissefar and Bestefar. My personal favourite between the two was definitely Bestefar, a Christmas beer with lots of flavour. I would call it a spiced Imperial Stout, but it’s set as Traditional Ale on Ratebeer. Either way it was well balanced and complex with both chocolate, coffee and spices. Nissefar was also nice but milder and with a smoky flavour.
One of my friends wandered off at this point and came back with a sample of Oppigårds Spring 2011. It’s a fresh and hoppy beer that should work great when the sun starts to warm this currently cold nation. However it isn’t a new Amarillo Spring (best sommer beer ever?) that was so successful this year. Even though I’m fairly certain I tasted some Amarillo in the 2011 version as well.
Now it was finally time to visit Brills counter. As usual the guys at Brill had brought an abundance of fantastic beers. I wonder how many beers this company has on their lists, feels like they are bringing a small private beer festival with them to every festival.
One of my personal favourites where AleSmith Decadence. Which is an English style Old Ale, very malty with flavours of sugar, caramel, raisins and grape. Very sweet and with a complex flavour.
They also had a beer from To Öl, these guys where apprentices under Mikkeller and has now started their own gypsy brewery. The beer Brill had with them was Over All IIPA, a DIPA filled with fruity hops.
I spent allot of time at Brills so I tried quite a few beers. Another beer that should get a mentioning is Ayinger Ur-Weisse, it managed to win “Best wheat beer of the festival”. A well deserved price in my opinion. You can also get their Christmas Beer at Systembolaget named Ayinger Winter-Bock. It’s one of my favourites.
I don’t want to nag your head out with all the great beers I tried but Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel Islay Edition should get a mention. I’ve tried several of the BGBW beers from Mikkeller but this one is definitely one of the best. A very strong and complex Imperial Stout with allot of smoke and whisky. The kind of beer you can lean back and sip at for hours.
I’m going to finish off with mentioning a new brewery, Green Flash, Brill had two beers with them at the festival. Hop Head Red and West Coast IPA. Both where very fresh with lots of American hops, definitely worth a try if you spot them at the pub.
Next stop was Galatea to visit Jessica Heidrich. She had a beer that I’ve been dying to try for so long: Samuel Adams Utopias. 2cl for 100 SEK might seem like allot but I’ve been trying to get a hold of this beer for years now, so I feel it was worth it. This is a very strong beer at 27% ABV and it’s packed full with flavour, brandy, dried and ripe fruit and more. I also tried De Dolle Stille Nacht, which is yet another great Christmas beer, rumor has it that this beer will be released at Systembolaget in December.
I will give you the last part tomorrow, where I end up getting filmed by some crazy Britts…
We started the day early on Saturday with a couple of Italian micro beers ( I will get to those in a separate post), before leaving for the train to Örebro. Taking the train from Frövi to Örebro is very smooth but the only suitable arrival time was 1 hour before the festival started. So we took a pit stop at Lilla Örebro. It’s a very small pub on one of the main shopping streets in Örebro. They have Närke Örebro Bitter on tap and some North Coast beers on bottles. The selection is better then expected when you first enter the place but it’s not to easy to find out what they have on bottles.
I had a North Coast Blue Star, which is a fresh and easy to drink wheat beer with lots of citrus. I would have prefered more wheat flavours but considering it’s an american wheat it is above average.
Just as I was finishing of my beer it was time to get to the festival. I got there just after 13:00 and there was just a small queue outside the doors. My first stop when I got in was Sigtuna Brygghus and I wanted to try their Sigtuna Bundeslager. This is a completely new beer and you can tell from the name that it’s a German style lager. It was very malty with a very bready flavour. It managed to win the category “Best lager of the festival”.
As I was standing there talking to Mattias Hammerlind, you know that bearded brewer that always have a smile on his face (hehe just kidding he is really friendly), I noticed that they had two additional new beers in their booth. One Strong Scottish Ale and a Spiced Saison. The Scottish ale was really nice, very malty with raisins, dried fruit and caramel. It managed to win “Best Ale of the Festival”. The saison was also nice, they had used a wide range of spices but I can only remember two at the moment, coriander and orange peels. However it was very well balanced and none of the spices took over.
Since I had some beer in my glass I decided to walk around a bit. The Swedish Microbrewers where all gathered in the same area to the let of the entrance. This was also the area where Beer Sweden had his booth in one corner, I will get to that later on. Also some cheese and sausage shop and Brill & Co. The importers and pubs where gathered on the left side further away from the entrance. Bishops Arms where present again but it looks like they lack beers now that most of the Swedish Micros have their own booths. The right side of the room where dominated by whisky and some candy makers. In the middle of the room there was a food court where you could get some stew and sausages. The servings where quite small at the price of 90 SEK but at least the stew was tasty.
I went back to the Swedish micros, I can tell you I spent allot of time in their section. Närke Kulturbryggeri was my next stop since I wanted to try their Christmas beer Vintermörker which they had on German kegs (självrunnen). A malty beer with some subtle spices, not to bad and should work well with some food. I also got the opportunity to try both Pannknektarnas Kaffeporter and Anders Göranssons Bästa Rököl on cask (real ale). The Kaffeporter felt like it had even more coffee in it now that it was on cask, I might be mistaken though. Anders Göransson was smoky like an old hunting cabin with a mix of smoked ham.
I will continue this report tomorrow so stay tuned…
Yesterday I focused on the Swedish microbreweries, today I will focus on the importers and other distributors.
Brewery International will bring beers from the Danish brewery named Svaneke that is located on the island of Bornholm. They will have Svaneke Ale on tap and the rest will be bottled. I tried the Svaneke beers at SBWF earlier this year and they are very nice, I got this feeling of home made beer when I drank them. They where very malty and fresh as I remember it, so malty it felt like putting your head down a bag of freshly grounded malt.
Brill & Co will bring a bunch of interesting beers as usually, amongst others they will have 3 Fonteinen, Dugges Perfect Idjit! and Nögne Ö Horizons. I haven’t been able to get a complete list since they don’t know themselfs until the last minute. But whatever they bring it will be of high quality.
Edit: I just got a long list of beers that Brill will bring. Hard to tell about them all so if you want them just send me an e-mail and I will send you a complete list.
Cask Sweden is bringing a bunch of beers from BrewDog. Amongst others they are bringing Hardcore IPA, Abstrakt 03 and Abstrakt 04. I’ve tried Hardcore IPA before and have good memories of it, but I haven’t rated it yet. I missed out on Abstrakt 03 but I heard it’s an awsome beer so I have to try it, same with the 04.
Galatea sent me a relatively long list of beers. A couple of beer stood out, La Trappe Bockbier is fairly rare and new at Galatea. They will also bring an aged Westmalle Double (not sure how old though), Duvel Tripel Hop and a coupld of beers from Anderson Valley. Those I recognize as new are Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout and Boont Amber. They will also bring their range of Christmas beers, most are available at Systembolaget but not all, De Dolle Stille Nacht is an example of the latter. A high rated christmas style belgian strong ale. But if you aren’t sure of what to drink for Christmas you might want to try them out here before buying at Systembolaget. If you are interested in Whisky I can also inform you that they will bring some whisky from Finland and Denmark. Not sure how usual that is but I have never heard of a destiller from those countries.
TOMP is bringing Chang, it’s a new beer for them and it will have it’s own booth at the festival. It’s hardly a new beer for most people, specially those that have been to Thailand. I have some fond memories of sitting in a pub (really just plastic chairs in the street) in Bangkok drinking Chang.
Wicked Wine will bring a bunch of Christmas Beers amongst other things. So if you are unsure of what to buy for Christmas this might be a good place to make a pitstop. Mikael Mardstam and Ola Eklund will also host a beer and cheese tasting at the festival.
I have made a beer list from the information I managed to gather from the different importers. Send me an e-mail (stefan(at)beerdrivel.se) or make a reply here and I will send it over.
On the 19th and 20th of November it’s time for Örebro Beer & Whisky. I’m going to be there on Saturday the 20th. Hopefully I will run into some of you there. I have sent e-mails to a bunch of Swedish Micro breweries and importers and managed to get some information about new beers or special releases. In Part 1 of this review I will focus on the Swedish (and Norwegian) micro breweries. There are more micro breweries attending the festival (Hantverksbryggeriet, Nils Oscar and Nynäshamns Ångbryggeri) I just haven’t managed to get any info from the rest. Hopefully I can update this post as I get more info, so check back again before the festival.
Irish Pub Sundsvall brews english style real ale and will bring two new beers to the festival, Malty Towers and Dublin Stout. I tried them both at SMÖF and they are definitely worth testing. It’s also fairly hard to get real ale in Sweden and getting it from a Swedish brewery is ever rarer. So take the opportunity to try these beers when you have the chance.
Närke Kulturbryggeri will have Haandbryggeriet from Norway in their booth. I know that Närke will have some special beers but I haven’t been able to get more info on, check their booth at the festival for more info. Rumor has it Pannknektarnas Kaffeporter will be available as real ale, I haven’t gotten this confirmed but if it it’s true it’s one of those beers you don’t want to miss. I tried it at Bishops Arms in Örebro a while back and it’s really good.
Edit: I just got an update from Berith. They are bringing a very wide selection of tap beers. Among them the new beers they introduced at SBWF this year. Eld & Lågor, which was made from a recipe by De Molen, this beer has been made by several different breweries. They will also bring Bäver which is a very special beer, made from bävergäll. Besides Pannknektarnas Kaffeporter they will also have Anders Göranssons Bästa Rököl on cask and Närke Vintermörker served in a german style keg (självrunnen). Närke will also be part of a specially composed dinner in the upstairs restaurant where you get Örebro Bitter and Närke Vintermörker. As dessert you get locally produced cheeses from Granhammar outside of Örebro served with Närke ! 2008.
Haandbryggeriet will bring a bunch of beers that are new in Sweden. They will bring these beers on tap: Røyk Uten Ild, Dobbel Dose IPA, Odins Tipple and Norwegian Wood. They will also bring Nissefar, Bestefar and Hesjeøl on bottles. Both Røyk Uten Ild and Bestefar are relatively new beers from this brewery. I tried Røyk Uten Ild this summer when I was in Oslo and it is a very nice smoke beer. These beers can sometimes be very overpowering and taste like an old hunting cabin but this beer is very well balanced. Haandbryggeriet brews allot of beer according to old traditional recipes and it reflects in their beer. They are also not that common in Sweden so this is definitely a brewery to look for at the festival.
Sigtuna Brygghus will bring a new lager named Bundeslager to the festival, it’s an easy to drink German style lager. They will also bring Ace of Spades, a massive Imperial Stout at 18,5%, which makes it Swedens strongest beer. Some other interesting beers from this brewery is Verstehe Nicht Alt and Merry Christmas. They might also bring Back in Black and Sommar Wit.
Strömsholms Brygghus will bring their new low ABV beer called En Riktig Lättöl. I tried it at SMÖF and it is a really nice ABV, but I suggest you try it early in the evening as it will taste like water if you try it to late. they will also bring Tok-Olle, Hård, Gråskägg and Kleen, all on tap.
Part 2 which focus on other distributors will be published tomorrow.
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.