Monday, 18 May 2015

Copenhagen day one

I like getting early flights. Ones where I can get up at my normal time. It’s just like going to work, except when I get off the 15 bus at Amsterdam Zuid, I jump on a train to Schiphol rather than a tram to Amstelveen.

Even though I’d allowed plenty of time, when I’ve got through security and walked all the way to the gate, it’s about time to board. I picked up a sandwich in the Albert Heijn landside. A snip a just 3 euros for a broodje gezond. I want something more substantial than the small packet of cheesy biscuits KLM gives you.

As I queue to buy a train ticket into town, I wonder at the direct services from the airport to Malmö and beyond. Thanks the new bridge/tunnel connection between Denmark and Sweden. Must go over in sometime.

It’s too early to check in, so I dump my bags at the hotel and head out for beer. Many of the beer places don’t open until later in the afternoon. But War Pigs, the new Mikkeller/3 Floyds brewpub opens early. And it’s just around the corner. I get there at 1 PM.

Time for a first beer:

Real Estate Mongol Pale Ale 6.9%
In a pretty inelegant glass. Almost like a jam jar, wide and low. Smells just like a US Pale Ale – peach, passion fruit and orange peel. Tastes much the same. Quite pleasant and only 60 crowns (about 8 euros) for 40 cl. At least it’s 6.9% ABV.

Looks like this was some sort of wholesale meat market. Now it’s full of trendiness. Though opposite still seems to be some sort of meat wholesaler.

20 draught beers in all. It’s pretty quiet. Almost as many staff as customers.

I nipped into a cheap supermarket and got myself some rolls, cheese and water. And 2 bottles of Limfjords Porter. It’s a cracking beer and only 17 crowns for a half litre.

It’s great – not one thing I need to do today. I’m free to wander around and drink as I please. And to take notes and snaps. Though when will I use the notes? I haven’t finished writing up my last US trip yet. Doubling the length (unwittingly) of my blog posts hasn’t helped. Insisting on a real post each day is killing me.

Seem to be some Americans working here. I guess that’s the 3 Floyds connection.

I’m surprised that I could understand some of the Danish announcements on the train. Really should practice reading Danish more. I’m going to need that skill tomorrow at Carlsberg. You can’t believe how excited I am at a day with the run of their archives. They seem a friendly bunch there from our email conversations.

Cry for Help, Rick (Robust Porter) 7.4% ABV, 70 crowns
Can’t see if this is clear or not – it’s as black as a fascist’s heart. Not much head. Bit of roast in the aroma. Very ashy in the gob. Tastes like it’s packed with black malt. But I shouldn’t play the dangerous game of guess the ingredient. Too easy to end up looking a twat. Should I tell them Robust Porter is a made-up style? Best not. I’ll only get blank looks.

I’m writing this on the back of a pub guide I put together for myself. Some taken from my Copenhagen Pub Guide web page. But that’s getting dated, so I nicked some places from RateBeer.

Just remembered that I forgot to email my next BeerAdvocate column yesterday. Have to wait until Monday now. The 2nd 1,000 words about Berliner Weisse. And that only took me to the 1970’s. I could easily have written another 2 – 3,0000 words. Just as well, because I need to do that. For my B rettanomyces Festival talk next month.

Shit. More stuff I need to write. Shouldn’t think about stuff like that. I’m supposed to be relaxing.

The brewkit looks about 20 hl to me. Only the brewhouse is in the pub. The fermenters are in another room. Looks like the conicals are 20 hl, too. In the US the fermenters are usually double the brew length.

Big Black Bicycle (Black IPA) 6.3% ABV, 65 crowns
Has the roast/citrus I’d expect in the nose. Quite creamy in the gob. Bitter, but not very aromatic. Had better ones in the US.

On Beer Advocate they noticed I get a name check in the new BJCP guidelines. Some thought it odd – had I turned to the Dark Side. Not really. I was asked politely for my opinion and I gave it. I like to think that I helped improve the Czech styles.

Beards and tattoos – do they define this decade? I’m proudly clean-shaven and uninked.

Mustard Tiger (Belgian Pale Ale) 6.9% ABV, 70 crowns
Took ages to pour. So it has to be dead fizzy. “Because it’s fresh and full of hops” the barman said. Not sure I believe that. Another murky one. Smells very like the Pale Ale I kicked off with. Aagh – I get where the Belgian is coming from. Some funkiness in there. There’s rhe serving problem – the beer is “fretting” with the bugs.

Quarter pound of brisket, quarter pound of pork shoulder, small potato salad. I’m stuffed – for about 20 euros. Not too crazy.

I think this is about my sixth time in Copenhagen. The beer scene has changed so much. Back in the 1980’s draught beer was almost unknown. Almost everything was 33 cl bottles of Carlsberg and Tuborg. Thankfully the Porter was tasty, strong and, for the ABV, not that expensive.

It’s 14:40. Time for a final beer before going back to my hotel to check in.

Smouldering Holes (Imperial Stout) 9.6%
I’m up for a happy ending – and what better way than with an Imperial Stout? Slightly darker than ink during a blackout. Smells like any ashtray with a shot of bourbon. The perfect end-of-lunch drink. But I’m a pisshead, as you already know.

Time to head back to my hotel.

After checking in, I rest a little and check my email. It seems a reasonable enough hotel and the location is dead handy, just around the back of the main station.

18:30 and it’s time for more beer. This time my destination, Taphouse is in the other direction, but still pretty close. It’s another pub that wasn’t around when I last visited the city.

It’s pretty empty inside. Both in terms of customers and decoration. There are 61 draught beers, displayed on screens behind the bar. It claims to be the largest tap selection in Europe. I can’t believe that’s true. But it’s still a load. Hopefully not too many for them to handle. I’m not a huge fan of ridiculously long tap lists. I prefer a smaller number of well-chosen ones. Like, say, at Deep Ellum in Boston.

Amager/Goose Island Rye King 7.3%, 55 crowns for 40 cl
Nice and black., loads of head. Nice tan colour head. Pretty nice. A stack of malt complexity and loads of malt bitterness. I really like this. Best beer today.

Beer Here Harwood Brown Porter 7% ABV, 55 crowns
Black. Smells like black treacle. Good start. Doesn’t taste much like my idea of a Porter. But what the hell, I’m on my holidays. It’s brown, alcoholic and in front of me. Tastes quite nice, too. Though it does taste old. Definite twang of oxidation in there.

Weird the UK election I feel more and more estranged from it. I know I’ll never live there again. All seems irrelevant. Unlike Dutch politics, where I have no say. Bit pissed.

19:25 I shouldn’t stay out too late. Big, big day tomorrow. The big C.

Rocket Zero Gravity (IPA) 7.7%. 55 crowns
Not too murky. Good fruit salad aroma. Really very good.

WarPigs Brewpub
1711, Flæsketorvet 25,
1711 København V, Denmark

Lavendelstræde 15,
1462 København, Denmark


BryanB said...

You can get Limfjords Porter in 50cls now? Wonderful! I'd only seen it in 33s, I think.

Ron Pattinson said...


dead handy, isn't it? A really great beer in a larger package.