Northern Ales: Scandinavian Craft Beers to Try Now
With Sweden alone accounting for somewhere between 10%-15% of the American craft-beer export market, it’s clear to see just how ignited the recent Scandinavian desire for the taste of delicious citrusy piney ales has become in just a short few years. Although the explosion of Scandinavian craft beers seems to be a recent thing upon first glance, if you look a little closer you will see that Denmark has always been a beer country when looking at the accomplishments of the behemoths that is Carlsberg.
However there is a lot more to the Nordic palate and it may have been the Swede’s love of bold and adventurous beer that has led indirectly to the success of some Europe’s main craft breweries, with Scottish craft goliaths Brew Dog counting a large order for Punk IPA coming from Sweden as a life saving moment in the early stages of their operation.
To Øl– Hibernate
€4.59 – Martin’s Off Licence
Originating in Denmark To Øl are what is commonly referred to a gypsy-brewery.
What this means is that although To Øl continually develop and distribute beers all year round, they do not in fact own or even operate out of their own brewery. Instead, choosing to borrow space from other friendly brewers.
One of this outfits latest offerings; ‘Hibernate’ is a wheat ale of an exceptionally high standard.
This is a thick hazy beer with strong grassy and citrus notes. You’ll have to move fast though, as with all of To Øl beers, it wont be around forever.
Einstok – Toaster Porter
€2.99 – Martin’s Off Licence
Having trekked around Iceland a couple of years ago, I fell in love with its magnificent scenery and amazing people.
What surprised me more though, was the incredible quality of both their food and small number of craft breweries that were around.
One such brewery is Einstok, who use water from prehistoric glaciers to produce all of their brews.
Their Toaster Porter is a particularly tasty number. With subtle notes of coffee and dark chocolate, this is an incredibly smooth and easy drinking beer.
Mikkeller – Porter
€5.15 – Martin’s Off Licence
It simply would not be possible to talk of Scandinavian beers without talking about Mikkeller. Forming in 2006 and now with bars all around the world, from Barcelona to Reykjavik and San-Fran to Singapore. Mikkellar can be easily recognised wherever found by their distinctive artwork.
Being around for ten years can be considered quite a long time in terms of craft beer these days, but even at this it is simply astounding, the number of collaboration and solo brews these guys have put out. But for me when it comes to Mikkeller, it’s always got to be one of the dark side beers. This one right here is their basic Porter. Slightly smokey, with a coffee edge and flavours of sweet pitted fruits, this beer delivers on all levels and is a must try for any aficionado of the dark arts.
Having previously devoted every ounce of his spare time to music, Tony is more commonly found these days in a kitchen than on a stage. With experience in writing on festivals and shows around the country he has recently turned his pen to more culinary exposés. With a particular penchant for craft beer he can often be spotted travelling from one bar to another in search of the latest brew to hit the market.