I did something at the Linköping Beer Expo this weekend that I don’t normally do. I lost weight.
This is not normal. I normally plan on gaining at least a couple of kilos as I circle beer halls sampling deliciously calorific creations. Add to that some bad food choices and very little sleep and it’s often the reason I start searching for my gym membership card the minute I get back home to Umeå.
I think the cause of it was the new location of this year’s Beer Expo, which had upped sticks and moved from ‘Cupolen’ to Tornet. Although the building itself is quite charming (exposed brickwork and beer shows are always a winning combination in my book) the shape of the building’s layout made this weekend’s festival extremely ‘intimate’.
Entering it felt a bit like being squeezed into a tube of toothpaste. Although I tried to hang out in the first room I walked into it was difficult to resist the wave of people behind me that eventually swept me into the main brick-lined festival hall.
Here I spent most of my 9-hour stint at the show. Me and around 800-900 other people packed as tightly together as commuters on a rush-hour train. The fact that one of the draws of the show, the magnificently moustached Kristian Strunge from Stronzo Brewing Co pouring out samples of the only keg of Ca$h Cow Imperial Stout in existence was located at the far end of the rectangular-shaped hall aggravated matters as people got funneled and then stuck in the dead-end.
Now Google tells me the heat generated by the average person is 116 watts an hour. That’s 104.4 kilowatts of heat generated by 900 people in that building every 60 minutes. No wonder I was so hot all the time and didn’t put on a single gram in weight (although I really, really tried).
But what the heck. I’d rather see a hall packed to the rafters with people drinking beer than the alternative and once again the ever-so-friendly Beer Expo team admirably marshaled by Richard Lindblad put on a show the beer scene in Sweden could be proud of.
Highlights? Trying two samples of cask Storastörst from Närke Kulturbryggeri, one of which had been fed through a hop rocket stuffed with Citra. This was an American Pale Ale with bags of freshly squeezed red grapefruit juice and the velvet mouth-feel only a cask can give a beer. I would consider moving to Örebro this summer just to drink it.
The aforementioned Ca$h Cow from Stronzo Brewing was an intriguing experiment in which head brewer Kristian had used a lager yeast to remove most of the fruit esters, thus amplifying the roasted expresso coffee and bitter chocolate characteristics of this 11% Imperial Stout. Add in loads of roasted malts, bourbon and vanilla beans and there was a lot going on here. Perhaps a little too much. It was intensely dry, sucking out the saliva in my mouth almost instantly, making it difficult to have a conversation for several minutes afterwards. Cool to try nonetheless!
Then there was Hair of the Dog Adam from the Wood that I was treated to by BSF stalwart (and right proper geezer) Blafa in a private tasting later. It was like chewing on an entire tub of Sun-Maid Raisins. Sensational! Oh and I shouldn’t forget the smell of the 1.4% ABV East Kent Goldings tribute Sopranen from the World’s Smallest Brewery in Malmö. The best floral nose on a low alcohol beer I’ve ever sniffed?
There were a lot more happy memories but I’ll leave them for now to become just that. The Beer Expo has proven once again that it deserves its place on the annual beer circuit.
Maybe though a bigger location or a couple of these wouldn’t go amiss next time?