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Gone are the days of watery lager – as a nation, we just can’t get enough of craft beer. As a result, a number of micro-breweries have sprung up across Europe to satiate demand, creating small batches of dazzlingly different beer. The ultra-cool capitals of Scandinavia have found themselves at the heart of the scene. The 15th of June is National Beer Day, so we've rounded up just a few of our favourite beers to try during your next Nordic visit.
It used to be the case that mainstream beers Tuborg and Carlsberg dominated the Danish brewing scene. But in recent years, an explosion of craft breweries have meant that its capital, Copenhagen, is creating some of the most different and pioneering craft beers in the world.
Nørrebro Bryghus is run by the prize-winning Anders Kissmeyer and is situated in a historic brick building which dates back to 1857. You'll find the bar in the basement, where you can try a high number of the brewery's finest ales and some of their newest experiments. They have recently produced the county's first CO2-neutral beer, entitled "Global Ale". Other varieties to try include the organic Ravnsburg Red and caramel New York Lager.
What began as a teacher experimenting with brewing techniques using his school’s facilities has, over time, led to the creation of one of the world’s most influential breweries. Mikkeller now exports to 40 different countries. The brewery aims to make craft beer compete with wine and champagne as an accompaniment to gourmet food and fine dining.
Mikkeller tends to make around 100 different beers each year, so it can be tricky to know where to start. Try visiting Copenhagen’s Mikkeller Bar location first, which features 20 of the brewery’s taps as well as more from around the world. Start off with the fruity Crooked Moon Raspberry, before moving onto Green Gold, a bold IPA that manages to be fruity and floral at the same time.
Based in idyllic Stavanger, brewery Lervig doesn’t do anything by halves – its beers are big, bold and full of flavour. They often come at high strengths too, pushing the boundaries of what consumers have come to expect from their craft beer. An international team work together to produce world-influenced beers, and they ship throughout Norway and beyond.
The Lervig beer which has gained the most recognition recently is the ambiguously named 3 Bean Stout. These beans actually refer to coffee, vanilla and tonka, which together create a silky, dark and almost spicy flavour. This 13% brew was crafted with the Brazilian Way Brewery, and is said to pair perfectly with sticky BBQ meats and vanilla ice cream.
You'll find the Aegir Microbrewery in the scenic surroundings of Flam, which sits amongst the fjords in southwestern Norway. This is a brewpub which celebrates tradition – here, you can sit down by the roaring fire in surroundings inspired by Norse mythology.
And then, of course, there is the beer. Having won a range of medals in international competitions, the brewery has earned itself the reputation as one of the best in all of Norway. We think the best place to start is with the Aegir IPA, which features a distinctively American, hoppy flavour. However, in true Aegir style, it’s been given a Norwegian twist – it features hints of pine and spruce, reflecting the vast Norwegian forests which surround the brewery. For something a little headier, try the Sumbel, a porter. You can even taste Aegir on home turf – you'll find it on tap at a variety of pubs in London.
Onto Sweden now, where Brewpub Omnipollos Hatt showcases ten rotating taps of Omnipollo brews – including some exciting exclusives you can't get anywhere else. The focus here is on the unusual and the ground-breaking. Take, for example, the brewery's collaboration with Buxton Brewery, which featured ice cream flavours.
If you’d prefer something a little more traditional, try the 4:21 IPA which is given a subtly sweet twist by raspberries and vanilla beans. Next up, the red En El Bosque, which is a team effort with a Catalunya brewery. Spanish cranberries meet muscovado sugar to create a unique and fresh flavour.
Begin your tour of Scandinavia’s best craft breweries on one of our Northern European cruises.
Amsterdam is well-known for its bustling districts, lively café culture and world-class museums. However, look a little closer and you’ll discover relaxing attractions, from spas to green parks.
2020 looks set to be one of the most exciting years to explore Europe. Here are our top reasons to visit.
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