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Notes from the road: Copenhagen


Much as the Italians flock to a food festival (with seminars), the Danes crowd a book fair (with live author-interviews). My publisher in Denmark, Munksgaard Rosinante, introduces me to a salon of novelists, biographers and historians and we behave like literati. My Beer Companion has just been published in Danish, as Den Store »lbog. I am interviewed on stage by Copenhagen writers Jacob Ludvigsen (who gives me a recipe for beer-bread porridge) and Allan Mylius Thomsen (with whom I present a tasting of Danish brews). I was originally invited to Copenhagen by Anders Evald, of the newly-formed consumerist organisation Danske »lentusiaster

( ). For them, I present a tasting of Belgian beers. This was their first major pubic event, in a Students' Union Hall. Like most consumerist organisations,

The Beer Enthusiasts are somewhat critical of their own biggest national brewer, in this instance Carlsberg. Not half as critical as some journalists by whom I am interviewed: the view of Danish journalists seems to be that many big-selling beers made in their country are criminally dull. When I almost concede this, on national television, is e-mailed by a Dane, Peter Lindemann recommending the Light and Dark versions of Old Gambrinus, from the independent brewery Hancock, in the north of Jutland. I did visit this brewery, with the help of home-brewers Ole Madsen and Carsten Yieen, from the city of Aarhus. As to Old Gambrinus: at 9.8-10.0 abv, the term Light is perhaps confusing. "Pale" or "Golden" would be more appropriate. The beer is very lively and drinkable, with a crunchy-toffee maltiness. I liked its deep amber companion, Gambrinus Dark, even more. This beer (10.0-10.5) has an apricoty malt aroma, vanilla flavors, and a toasty finish.

I also enjoyed the relatively hoppy beer labelled Merry Christmas/Happy New Year (6.6abv) and the more peppery Jule Bryg (Christmas Brew), at 10 per cent. In the course of my stay, I visited four small breweries and tasted 16 Christmas beers, so more later from Denmark, too. If you read Danish, and cannot wait, my Christmas beer tastings will be reviewed in the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, probably on December 6. Meanwhile, another e-mail to, from a correspondent named Kristiansen, asks if I have tasted the beer if the Faroee islands. Not yet, but I would love to visit...

Published: DEC 8, 1998

Brew Travel - Beer Event Reviews

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