This blog documents my attempt to drink a beer from every country in the world and every state in the United States.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Country #28: Sweden

Beer: Oppigårds Well-Hopped Lager

Brewery: Oppigårds Bryggeri, Hedemora, Sweden

ABV: 5.3%

The beer here looks like a blonde ale (which would have been appropriate, given its Swedish origin), but I assure you it's a lager. The dilapidated farmhouse on the bottle might also be confusing, as "farmhouse" style beers (e.g. saisons) are also very much not lagers.
As Americans, our experience with Swedish-made products is typically limited to shitty Ikea furniture. It’s a good thing Ikea doesn’t make a home beer kit. If they did, it would probably be sold as a collapsible brew tank and packets of über-generic malted barley and hops, all flat-packed into an unwieldy plank flat enough to fit under your couch, but three inches too long to fit into the trunk of your car. The brew tank would require three separate allen wrenches to assemble, it would take three hours to put it together, and it would fall apart in six months. It would be called the Brëwskittå, and you’d probably still buy it.

Page 19 of the Ikea Brëwskittå assembly instructions.
Fortunately, Ikea seems to have stayed out of the beer business altogether, leaving that to other, far more qualified Swedes. The folks at the Oppigårds Bryggeri, in bustling Hedemora (population 7,000), are certainly qualified, based on the 16 ounce sample of their wares I recently enjoyed. Their Well-Hopped Lager is exactly what you think it would be: far hoppier than a pilsner, but not as bitter as a pale ale or an IPA. It was basically a lager on steroids: darker, thicker, and much more flavorful. It was difficult to find much more information about the beer, since the Bryggeri isn’t currently making it, and doesn’t list it as an out-of-season brew on their website. However, I was able to find that they used Czech hops in the beer, giving it a decidedly different flavor than the similarly-hopped American pale ales that typically use citrusy, piney American hops.

Enough with the stars, breweries! FYI, Dalarna is the region of Sweden where the brewery is located.
I’m almost done with Scandinavian beers at this point. I’ve already done Iceland, Norway, and Finland, with only Denmark remaining. For a region not historically known for its beers—especially since hops don’t typically survive the frigid temperatures and 20-hour nights typical of Scandinavian winters—the beers have been very good. They’ve also been anything but ordinary. Most of the international beers I’ve had have been pale lagers and pilsners, while I’ve sampled sahti, barleywine, white ale, and now an excellent, distinctive lager from Scandinavia. It seems that craft brewing has taken off in the Nordic countries, displaying a passion for gustatory excellence far surpassing the stereotype put forth by this guy:

No comments:

Post a Comment