Wednesday, April 16, 2008

That's not your Danish grandfather's lager, is it?

Yesterday I braved the snarling backhoes that are preparing the foundation for the gleaming new Keg Liquors and shopped for a couple of bottles of beer of the sort that owner Todd Antz stocks, but we don’t carry at the Public House. Rest assured, there are plenty. Todd’s been doing a better job of staying abreast of bottled beer, while my focus has been on draft for dispensing on premise.

One of my two final choices was North Bridge Extreme by the Norrebro Bryghus in Copenhagen, Denmark, a city that once was a frequent haunt of mine back in the day when the only beers available were narrow product lines of (mostly) lagers produced by the combined might of Carlsberg and Tuborg, and a few others from other Danish locales. My, how things have changed …

In fact, my old friend Kim Andersen has long urged me to make a return visit to Copenhagen (I’ve failed to do so since 1999), and as much as there’d be no reason whatsoever to doubt the sagacity of Kim’s intimate knowledge of the explosion of craft beer and brewing in his hometown, there simply hasn’t been the chance to go back. This oversight may soon have to be rectified.

Allowing for my small overall sampling, surely Norrebro’s version of a California-style Double IPA is the best I’ve tasted from a European brewery. At 9.5%, it hovers on the edge of barley wine. English malt gives it the richness that I believe is necessary in such a well-hopped beer. Delicious, complex and damned near thirst quenching … and mind blowing to contemplate it being brewed in Copenhagen.

If my recollection of the city is correct, Norrebro means “North Bridge,” presumably in reference to the moats and waterways once ringing the center of town, and if my fuzzy math is right, the brewery is producing about 2050 barrels a year in the American sense. To compare, NABC will brew roughly 500 barrels in 2008, and BBC (Main & Clay) I’d guess to be above 5,000 (corrections appreciated).

Now I’m researching Mikkeller, a roving duo of former homebrewing Danes turned professional, who brew American styles at various places in Denmark, Belgium and perhaps elsewhere. Both Mikkeller and Norrebro come to you courtesy of Shelton Brothers Importers, and the available styles are rare, indeed, so be sure and make friends with Todd.


The Original BBC Brewmaster said...

We did 5000 bbls. last year and are on track for 7000 bbls. this year.

edward parish said...

Stopped in the Keg this morning after reading your post and purchased one of the Norrebro Bryghus; I think it is a really good IPA on steriods much like Moylans Hopsickle.