Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Stockholm (part six)

Dodgy theorising. One of my specialities. I promised you some yesterday and I'm not one to renege on my promises. Not unless I feel like it.

Our next destination was one of Stockholm's classic beer bars, Oliver Twist. As a loyal, card-carrying CAMRA member I'm obliged to like it. They sell cask-conditioned beer. All the time. There's a reassuring set of handpulls on the bar.

Though I didn't drink any of the cask. It would have been crazy, as they were all British. Bit pointless coming to Stockholm and drinking British beer. I went for something from Jämtlands (can't remember which, exactly). It's probably my favourite Swedish brewery. I wasn't disappointed. Now I think about it, I can remember which it was. Postiljon. A very tasty and well-crafted Bitter. Dolores just had an iced water.

It's now time for more of my half-arsed thoughts. This struck me when wondering what to order for my second beer. How beer cultures can be moulded by restrictions that no longer apply. Like how British beer staying rooted at an average of 1037º for 40 years.

Sweden used to have some of the silliest beer laws. Like the one limiting beer to a maximum of 5.6% ABV. And a tax system that encouraged brewers to always brew to that maximum strength. Most Swedish beers are still 5 - 5.6% ABV. You find very few between 4 and 5% (Jämtlands are an exception in this regard). And little above 5.6%. Except for dodgy strong lagers from multinationals like Pripps and the odd Nils Oscar Barley Wine or Imperial Stout.

Why did that thought come to me? Because, knowing it would be my final beer of the evening, I was after something a little stronger. And, unless I went foreign, there wasn't much of a choice. In the end, I chose another beer of modest strength. A Jämtlands Porter at just 4.8% ABV. Very nice it was, too.

Oliver Twist
Repslagargatan 6,
118 46 Stockholm.
Tel. 08 - 640 0566
Fax: 08 - 641 1566
Email: restaurang@olivertwist.se
Homepage: http://www.olivertwist.se/


The Beer Nut said...

A scan of the British beer blogs show enough people whining about the tendency towards "extreme" beers when all they want is something at 1.037, more or less.

Tradition and authenticity (read, stagnation) are a big part of beer culture in a lot of the world. When the Americans or the Danes or even the likes of BrewDog start to do things differently there's a sizeable element who will sneer into their pint of 1.037 bitter.

We need more daring extremes. Like that Russian Imperial Stout you commissioned. Try and get it a bit more true to style next time though, eh? Some Cascade, maybe?

Ron Pattinson said...

Beer Nut, I want a choice of beer strengths. Is that too much to ask? I'm just as frustrated in New York as in London. In the former, you'll struggle to find anything under 6.5% ABV, in the latter to find anything over 4.5% ABV.

Just trying to think what I should start whining about? Effing cascades, perhaps.

Could you drop me an email, BTW. I need to ask you something.

The Beer Nut said...

I guess the super-strong American microbrew is its own kind of authentic, stagnated, tradition. It's what that market expects.

We have a worse problem here. Mass-market drinkers won't touch anything below 4.2%, while pubs don't like anything above 5%.