Having an ale of a time


“Denmark’s most palatable experience!” is how the people behind Copenhagen Beer Festival describe the upcoming three-day celebration of Danish beer, which takes place from May 23-25 in the old bottling hall at Carlsberg in Vesterbro.

Everybody knows that Carlsberg is one of the strongest Danish brands internationally, but many foreigners might not be aware that in Denmark a pint of Carlsberg is not just a pint of Carlsberg, as the company produces a wide variety of different specialty beers. What is even less known is the fact that Carlsberg is only one Danish beer brand out of what has become many! In the last ten to 20 years, the number of different beers produced in Denmark has exploded, and micro-breweries seem to be popping up everywhere. Indeed 2012 broke all records, with the launch of no less than 756 new beers.

For beer lovers, that is worth celebrating, and this year’s Copenhagen Beer Festival will be the 13th of its kind. As always, the festival is centred around the sampling of beer and, with 200 new beers this year and over 1,000 beers in total to choose from, there should be something new for even the most experienced beer connoisseur. 

“There will be everything, and even more than your heart desires when it comes to beer,” press officer Anne-Mette Meyer Pedersen promises. And indeed she seems to be right: apart from more traditional types of beer, the festival’s beer menu include such rarities as 20 percent beers, hot beer with whipped cream as well as fruit, chocolate and coffee-flavoured beers.

Although beer-sampling is the main attraction at the festival, there are many other things going on: On all three nights there will be live music from a stage in the hall, and on Thursday and Friday it will be possible to buy tickets for the so-called theme tastings. Two of these tastings are hosted by chefs, who will cook food to complement the beer, and there will of course be samples of both the food and beer at the events. On the Friday, an English beer blogger and connoisseur, Melissa Cole, will host four tutored tastings of a selection of the finest beers from the festival floor. These talks will be in English and tickets are available for 60kr.

Festival guests can also experience a physics show where university students make beer ice cream by mixing beer and liquid nitrogen, and for those who haven’t had enough when the festival doors close, there will be an after-party just a few metres up the road at the restaurant Haven.

As in previous years, there are two types of tickets available. You can choose between a 200kr ticket, which includes an entrance fee, tasting glass, festival guide (in Danish) and ten tasting tokens, and a 100 kr ticket, which offers the same but without the tasting tokens. Both types of tickets can be purchased from billetnet.dk, but on the festival days, only the 100kr tickets are available on arrival. Tasting tokens can be purchased individually for 12kr each.

The organisers of the festival are expecting 13,000 visitors or maybe even more, so queuing might be hard to avoid. However, guests with pre-booked tickets can attend the festival an hour earlier than other guests, so hopefully you won’t have to queue too long to taste the golden drops.


Copenhagen Beer Festival

TAP 1, Ny Carlsbergvej 91, Cph V; starts Thu (May 23), ends May 25, open Thu 16:00-23:00, Fri & Sat 13:00-23:00; tickets: 100kr (includes tasting glass + festival guide), 200kr (only advance booking: includes ten samples)