Posted on 21 februari 2012.
Posted on 31 december 2011.
This is Part 2 of my review of 2011. Part 1 can be found here.
As the nights grew longer and the summer mosquitoes lost their sting I went over to Scotland with the guys from Akkurat to brew an upcoming Abstrakt beer based on a traditional Scottish dessert. While we were there I had ‘The Best Beer Tasting of 2011’ – a truly epic affair I named The Day of Many Beers.
September was also the month we had the first ever BSF meet-up in Stockholm (a night so awesome one Forum member broke his foot!) and the Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival rolled into town bigger and better than ever before. It crowned a great year for beer shows in Sweden that included fests in Linköping and Örebro (where bloggers got their very own studio for the first time!)
During the SBWF I managed to sit down with a bunch of amazing brewers which lead to me write my ‘Favourite Post(s) of 2012’ which in fact was a series of posts entitled ‘The Beer Geek Brunch Interviews’.
Finally winding up the year we once again gave beer lovers yet another reason to celebrate Christmas with their very own Advent Beer Calendar (this year with pimped Ho’s) that ended with Trev making a rare appearance in front of the camera.
I tried a lot of beers in 2011, some of which I recorded on this blog and many which never made it past my glass and into my laptop. Highlights include Thisted Limfjordsporter, Old Tom The Original Strong Ale, Pliney the Elder on draft in the USA, Sierra Nevada’s Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale (Longest Beer Name of 2011?) and Oppigårds Drakens DIPA but there were more.
Many, many more in fact. Too many to mention here.
Looking back I have the distinct feeling 2011 was the year craft beer really broke through in Sweden. Sure it’s been here a while for those of us who knew about it but I think during the past 12 months the word’s really got out and the ‘average’ beer drinker has started to pay a little more attention to all those funny looking bottles on the shelves at the monopoly.
The fact that sales of locally produced ‘micro’ brands at the Systembolaget have doubled in the past two years seems to support this. The monopoly’s increasing focus on quality beer releases and its recent rule change that will allow us to order Swedish craft breweries to our local stores by the bottle in a couple of weeks will make sure the craft beer revolution rages on well into 2012 and far beyond.
Add to that the number of exciting new craft breweries that opened in 2011 (and which plan to open in 2012) and I think it’s fair to say in the spirit of former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan that as beer drinkers we’ve never had it this good.
Before I stop looking back and start looking forward to what 2012 holds I want to pause for a moment and thank a few people.
Firstly I’d like to thank all the sponsors of BeerSweden. I appreciate it’s a bold move to advertise on a beer blog but your support really does makes it possible for me to carrying on posting, so thanks!
Secondly I’d like to thank my family for cutting me the slack to travel around the world discovering stuff about beer and meeting amazing beer people. I promise to try harder in 2012 to bring back things from abroad that don’t come in bottles…..
Thirdly I’d like to say a big thanks to the beer blogging community in both Sweden and the rest of the world for your passion and energy in spreading the knowledge and joy of our favourite drink. 2011 was something of a breakthrough year (we got our our conference!) and I know great things are just over the horizon in 2012. Watch this space!
And lastly (but not leastly) I’d like to thank you for following this blog. BeerSweden would be a very lonely place without your feedback, enthusiasm and comments so a huge thanks to you!
Now as a fresh year lies ahead just waiting to be unwrapped it’s time to start making some plans. Mine include a bit of news that might change my life forever but that’s the stuff of another post right here next week.
Until then I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year. If you can make sure you share the moments around midnight with people you love and that you see in 2012 with a glass of great beer in your hand.
After all, you should really start as you mean to go on…..
Posted on 27 september 2011.
Have you ever heard of a supermarket trolley dash prize? You’re given a few minutes and an empty trolley which you can fill with whatever you can grab from the shelves before your time is up.
Sometimes beer festivals can feel like that.
With so many beers, so many happenings and so little time it’s sometimes difficult to know where to begin.
I’m not a huge fan of lists (I am, after all, the World’s Worst Ticker) but I do have a personal checklist of things I want to try at this year’s show and thought I would share it with you:
Eskilstuna Ölkultur, Pang Pang Brewery, Södra Maltfabriken and World’s Smallest Brewery (world’s coolest brewery name?) are among those making their first appearances at the festival this year so go along and give them all a big hug (and try their beers).
Oppigårds’ stand is always a must-visit, not just because of the Klassisk IPA they’re serving up (Ed note: this is not the only ‘old-world’ IPA coming to the show this year. Do I detect the start of a new beery trend?) but because they’ll actually be brewing beer on their stand on the first Thursday of the show. Cool initiative!
Who can forget Sigtuna’s Ace of Spades when it was released to huge critical acclaim last year? Well this year’s version promises to be different but equally outrageous and you’ll be able to try it first at Sigtuna’s stand.
Pilsner Urquell are rolling out their 2,700 litre barrel once again offering you a rare chance to try the original golden beer in all its unpasteurised and unfiltered glory.
Cask Sweden are letting the dogs out this year with a huge selection of BrewDog beers, including the läskigt and läskande Ghost Deer, which at 28% is the world’s strongest (non freeze distilled) beer. Oh. I should also mention for those of you brave enough to try it that it is poured from the mouth of a deer. BrewDog James will be at the festival during all days of the second week of the show and will be giving Master Classes every day (together with yours truly).
Brill’s stand is one of the first you encounter when you enter the hall and one of the hardest to leave, with the beery pulling power of a black hole (rather appropriate really). It’s also the place to go and pick up your free and exclusive BSF badge if you’re a BeerSweden Forum member. That way you can not only walk around the festival knowing you’re cooler than a polar bear’s toenails but fellow BSF-ers will be able to pick you out among the crowd. Who knows, it may be the start of an amazing beer friendship!
The Oliver Twist/Brewers Association stand is another place I guarantee you will happily lose a few hours. THE place to try your way through some of the very best US beers out there today in friendly sample measures, including, I note, some of the increasingly hard-to-get Dogfish Head beers. Go there. Nuff said.
One of my highlights of last year’s show was the Danish section and this year the invasion continues with Elixir Wines once again bringing over no fewer than 7 Danish breweries (and this one from Norway), including Amager, Raasted and Djævlebryg.
Carnegie Porter is an underestimated Swedish beer classic in my book (I’ve been lucky to taste delicious vintages as far back as 1988) but if you ever needed an excuse to discover it again this is the year to do it with the special limited release of Carnegie Porter Jubileumsbryggd brewed together with Brooklyn Brewery to celebrate the beer’s 175th anniversary. Grab a sample from Carlsberg’s stand at the show.
Lastly if a day at the beer festival isn’t quite enough there’s the ‘efterfest’ every night after the show at the Bishops Arms in Vasagatan. Here you’re pretty likely to bump into some of your favourite brewers and can grab a midnight snack with the kitchen staying open extra late and the bar serving some pretty amazing beers until 3am.
I realise I’ve missed out a lot of great stuff trying to keep this list ‘short’ (like these ones, or the Black IPA from this lot) but I hope you get a sense of how epic this show promises to be. So dive in, ask questions, explore beer styles you’ve never tried before and most of all have loads of fun.
And if you see a guy in glasses wearing a BeerSweden T-shirt and a thirsty look on his face come up and say hi. It might just be me