Celebrate by the crate-load
Many of us look forward to enjoying an ice cool beer during the summer months but, for those Copenhageners with more discerning palettes, a certain weekend in mid-May is like Christmas. Denmark has, for some years now, been enjoying an upsurge in beer appreciation, with microbreweries popping up everywhere, and this weekend sees our city play host to not just one true ‘celebration of beer’, but two.
As per usual, the Copenhagen Beer Festival will be taking place for the 12th time at Tap 1 near the old Carlsberg brewery, but up the road in Østerbrø, placing emphasis on quality (just 250 beers to the festival’s 900, and 1,000 attendees to the festival’s 5,000), is the Copenhagen Beer Celebration.
This new event, which is the brainchild of master brewer Mikkeller, showcases superior beer or beer-derived products, featuring a lot of one-offs and obscure brews. Indeed, there’s little adherence to Janteloven here as organisers trumpet the event as “the single most greatest beer event in the whole world”. And they can afford to brag a little – it’s become a big cross on the calendars of beer lovers and breweries alike, attracting interest from both Denmark and further afield.
At a cost of 300kr, each ticket entitles the owner to one day’s admittance (check dates as certain brewers are serving different beers on different days), their own 10 cl tasting glass, a handbook guide to all available beers, and a huge meal prepared by chef Jakob Mielcke of the famous restaurant Mielcke & Hurtigkarl. The dishes will either complement beer or contain beer as an ingredient. The samples are all on draught and priced according to the time and cost of brewing. Once inside, plastic tokens will be the currency – available in packs of seven (100kr), 15 (200kr) or 15kr each. If you fail to get a ticket in time, don’t despair – you can still sample many of the beers at the Mikkeller Bar (Victoriagade, Vesterbro) after the festival.
The event proves to be increasingly popular every year, and popularity brings with it extra challenges – it means the task of containing great numbers of drinkers becomes more complicated. Organisers place a high priority on the enjoyment of their attendees, but don’t get carried away – they assert that festival security has a low tolerance on rowdy behaviour.
Real beer connoisseurs take their drinking just as seriously (sometimes more so) as their wine-loving counterparts. For many the festival is seen as a reaction to the monopolisation of the super breweries – it’s not so much about the mass producing Carlsberg and the Tuborg beers you’re already familiar with (likely in attendance, but offering samples of their own new products), it’s about exploring the fascinating art of independent breweries and microbreweries and discovering something new and special.
Expect a wide array of beers alongside some exciting new experiences you might not normally associate with beer, like some extraordinary combinations that you wouldn’t expect to work, but do. For example, the Coffee Collective will be bringing special roasts for mixing with stout ale, a combination that must be tried – while Farmers Cabinet has been working to integrate beer into cocktails – sometimes alongside the cocktail, sometimes inside it. Whatever your preconceptions, they promise to “rock your world”.
While the exact line-up of beers has not yet been released (some are shrouded in secrecy), there’ll be 26 breweries in attendance for you to sample their wares, some Danish, some international – or as the organisers put it “250 beers from 26 of the greatest breweries in the world”. Clearly Janteloven just doesn’t mix with beer.
If your joy of beer exceeds the occasional cold one on a hot summer’s day, this is the chance to explore your interest in the company of other beer enthusiasts. No less than 1,000 beers will be appearing on the menu from around 70 different exhibitors, with several of the beers visiting the country for the first time. Experience the full range of Danish beer and try out new and rare kinds of the golden drink together with a bit of food. MSØ