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Notes from the road: Stockholm


Here to speak at the opening of an English-language bookshop at Sweden's grandest department store, NK (Nordiske Kompaniet). New enterprises are usually launched with a bottle or two, so why not have a drinks writer to bless a bookstore? That seems to have been the Nordic Company's reasoning. Or was it just an excuse, in a country with many restrictions on drink, to serve booze in such an unlikely location?

I explain to a bemused audience that one of my favorite American stores, Kramerbooks (as mentioned in the Starr Report), in Washington, DC, has a bar offering micro-brews. NK's new English-language bookshop provides, just for this special evening, Champagne and the famous Carnegie Porter. Some of drink both: as a Black Velvet. I sign copies of my (English-language) {Ultimate} Beer. Black Velvets are discussed on P143, Carnegie Porter on pages 71 and 183. Carnegie Porter is made by the biggest national brewer, Pripps. At the brewery, I sample a creamy 1998 vintage alongside a 1997 (by now tasting smokier), a 1996 (fruitier) and 11-year-old (almost woody). Pripps' Hans Nordlšv also offered me a "Midwinter Brew", matured for a year. This is a beer of 5abv, with a goodly contribution of chocolate malt, spiced with vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom. The beer to drink with a chocolate log? It even tastes like one, though the inspiration is the malty, spiced Mumme of Georgian Hanover. As well as reviving Midvinter Bryg, Pripps has two strengths of a "Yule Beer" in the Vienna-lager style favored by Nordic brewers for this season. The 5abv version of Pripps Julšl has a fresh-cream maltiness; the 7abv version is fruitier, almost pruny.

I also greatly enjoy the citrussy Christmas Barley Wine (at 8.7abv), under the name Nils Oscar No. 5 Julšl, from the Kungsholmens micro in Sweden. More later on my visit to that brewery. Also on a tasting of Christmas brews organised by the Swedish Guild of Beer Writers, at which I especially enjoyed Källefall Julšl, with a raisiny aroma; smooth, deep, maltiness; and flowery (violets?) finish. For more information on the Guild, contact Eric Källgren, at

Published: DEC 10, 1998

Brew Travel - Beer Event Reviews

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