On a family trip to Denmark this year, a theme permeated the daily ritual of keeping the children entertained. BEER. Ask any beer nerd what they know about Danish beer and likely the first thing out of their mouth will be Mikkeller. Rightfully so, considering these gypsy brewers make 700,000 different beers according to my scientific research. Although these Danes were at the top of our list, there’s a macro brewing legend that calls Scandinavia home along with a host of in-betweeners. Let’s explore.
We started the journey in Copenhagen, a truly excellent city. Sure, stuff’s expensive but you get over it upon learning that the entire country is all about coziness and comfortable conviviality, also known as hygge. Yes, that beer is $10 but isn’t this bar cuddly! It was here that we found not 1, but 2 Mikkeller beer bars. One had 20 options on tap, the other 40. On top of this, there was a tap takeover happening with Other Half out of NYC. Madness. Their line of Baked Potato Gargantuan IPAs makes my heart flutter with palpitations of hop resin. So damn smooth. It was like we fell through a wormhole into an alternate universe that cared for naught but beer.
The 800 pound, 150-ish year old Danish elephant in the room is Carlsberg. If you haven’t seen their flagship lager, you’ve been living under a rock. Though I tend to fill my fridge with barrel aged coffee stouts brewed with coconut husks and elf magic, there is something nice about a simple 5% lager on a warm sunny day. And of course, they absolutely crush the craft scene with their sprawling campus and fascinating history. Visiting the brewery is definitely worth it if only to see their epic collection of unopened beer bottles numbering over 22,000.
From the capital, we headed northwest to the wind-blown beach town of Løkken. Our plan here was to check out the Danish surf scene after hearing about a strange place know as Cold Hawaii many years ago. Although we ended up north of this destination, we were pleasantly surprised by not only the beautiful beaches and playful – if tiny during our visit – waves but the fact that beer is served at the surf shop! North Shore Surf to be exact. I can’t quite recall if they were serving bottles from the local spot, Løkken Bryghus but we did try their offerings during the trip and I DO recall them being tasty. In fact, you can check out my review of their coffee whiskey stout on PorchDrinking.
Our very last local Danish beer came from Thisted Brewing, not far from where we were staying. But this post is getting long in the tooth, I’m certain my brother would be shaking his head at the wordiness. So, I’ll suffice it to say they craft tasty beer in an exceptional part of the world and I’d love to write more another time. Bottom line, if you have the chance, make thy way to Denmark. For the hygge, for the beaches but mostly for the beer.
All photos courtesy of Craft_Beard on Instagram