Monthly Archives: May 2012

How I survived Copenhagen Beer Celebration (in 5 easy steps)

As I hinted at in my previous post, Copenhagen Beer Celebration was such a massive event that it was difficult to wrap your head around. Not because it was huge, because it wasn’t – 25 breweries and 1000 tickets sold each day are numbers dwarfed by those at, say, GBBF, GABF or the regular Copenhagen Beer Festival. No, it was overwhelming because of the sheer quality on display – these were some of the world’s best brewers bringing some of the world’s best beer, lots of limited releases and intriguing, out-there stuff (when Brian Strumke of Stillwater Artisanal Ales says he put juniper in a beer, he means the whole juniper bush, berries, wood, needles and all), lots of once-in-a-lifetime beer experiences. I admit I was overwhelmed, but in the end I and my tastebuds came out unscathed (whether my liver did the same if open for debate), and I think my survival was helped by my adherence to five simple principles. I am sharing these principles here in the hope that they may help other fellow beer-geeks survive CBC-type events without collapsing in a beergastic, spasmodic heap one hour into the festival (gasping “Too… much… great… beer…”). Here we go:

One of the beers I didn’t have

1. I just let go.

In the festival programme, I counted 198 different beers on offer over two days – and that’s not including all the beers that were unlisted. Brodie’s Beers had brought many more beers than those listed in the programme, and so had De Struise (and they brought 25-odd beers to begin with!), Cigar City and many others. And as I have said repeatedly, many of these were limited releases – not that I am primarily a ticker (OK then, I am a bit of a ticker), but most of these limited releases sounded so darned good (wouldn’t you want to try a Mikkeller Brunch Weasel Vanilla Cognac Edition?). So in order to enjoy the Celebration to its fullest, I just had to let go and realize that I would not be able to sample all the beers I wanted to sample. I would inevitably miss some rarity or other because I was elsewhere occupied when the cask/leg came on. Some stuff was bound to run out. So I dialed down my ticker madness and decided to just enjoy what I got and not go around with a list of must-drink beers, ticking them in mechanical fashion. Many of my beers were impulse purchases – and I was never once disappointed.

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Copenhagen Beer Celebration: The Lists

Festival bracelets!

I had this glorious plan that I would live-blog from the recent Copenhagen Beer Celebration, with several updates per day, lots of pictures… but I was too busy drinking beer, and hanging out with great brewers and fellow beer geeks from around the world. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say. In fact, ever since I’ve come home I’ve actually wrestled with how to actually approach writing about CBC, as it was so massive, so good, so filled with beer (43 samples in two days at the festival – then there was Sour & Bitter, our night at Fermentoren, the 20+ bottles I bought at Ølbutikken and Barleywine and that my Norwegian colleague brought me) that I have had trouble digesting it all (no pun intended) and wrap my head and my tastebuds around the whole thing. So in the end I decided to take the easy way out and do a couple of CBC-related lists – because we all love lists, right?

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Sour & Bitter: some scattered impressions

Yesterday I was at that beer ticker-event of the year known as Sour & Bitter, a beer-and-food party organized by Drikkeriget as a kind of kick-off/warm-up event for Copenhagen Beer Celebration (which starts today). The line-up was drool-inducing indeed: lots of rare stuff from lambic masters 3 Fonteinen (including a release of their much-anticipated 2010 Framboos), The Bruery, Lost Abbey, and Pizza Port (first time in Europe!). Very high tick factor, in other words – someone even remarked that all the information released by Drikkeriget before the event just emphasised how rare the beers were, with not a word on whether they were any good.

But I mustn’t grumble: the whole thing was excellent, with a very friendly atmosphere. It was very open and easy to chat to the brewers and the fellow beer-geeks. The love of beer and food shone through everything – food was provided by Mmm… Zonen for madkultur, and served in a set of small “stations” where the guests assembled their own nibbles also using components handed out in brown paper bags – very pretentious in a surprisingly un-pretentious way, if that makes any sense.

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Pumpclip Horror

I’m an avid follower of Pumpclip Parade, a blog that collects, as they put it “Aesthetic Atrocities From The World Of Real Ale” – pumpclips and beer labels that are in such poor taste and with such horrible artwork/design that it is enough to put you off drinking for the rest of the night. Or week. I was therefore happy (in a watching-a-train-wreck kind of way) to be able to contribute what is possibly the worst and most offensive label art I’ve ever seen to the blog in question. Head on over and check out the horror – there’s no way I’m posting it here.