Newsflash: London Beer Blog is currently in Sweden. So for the next few weeks, the blog will be given over to the primer to Swedish culture I know you’ve all been clamoring for. And also beer.
For lesson 1, I need to explain a simple concept: “Jetty beer”. The explanation has three parts, and since we live in the 21st century, I will be using audiovisual aids (sorry for the lack of Flash animation. For shame!).
This is your average Swedish summer cottage:
In this case, the summer cottage happens to be mine. And my brother’s. And he and his wife do most of the work on it. But still, my name is on the deed and that technically makes it part mine.
Mikkeller I Beat yoU – Part of a Mikkeller six-pack I bought for a song (the kind of song that runs you £24.99) at the Mikkeller Meet the Brewer event at Cask Pub and Kitchen last year. Far from the oldest bottle in my cellar, but I thought it would be good with food (and it was – read on!).
Look: Pours a dark, clear amber with a tiny fizzy head that’s soon gone.
Nose: Heavy, overripe fruit (grape – slightly vinous), a whiff of citrus.
Mouth: Is this the beer for which the term “Hop Bomb” was invented? Because it tastes – and I apologize for this term – paradigmatic. A quick citrus hit gives way to a mix of sweet dried/fresh tropical fruit – think candied pineapple mixed with canned apricot. There’s also some date and banana in there. Then the hop bitterness hits full force with resin and citrus dominating. And yet the alluring sweetness and malt body does not go away but remains the whole way through to balance the hop fireworks. This may be the IIPA to end all IIPAs. 5/5.
Beer review/social networking site RateBeer just released their annual Best-of-lists: the best beers, best breweries and best beer bars in 2011, as determined by their aggregate (and, I believe, weighted) ratings on the site. Being a beer geek who loves lists (but who, strangely, only just recently signed up to RateBeer – I’m HenrikO if you want to friend me), I naturally checked it out first thing. Some thoughts:
For Best Brewers in the world, the dominance of US breweries is clear. There are 33 non-US breweries in the top 100 for 2012 (up ever-so-slightly from 2011 when there were 32 – non-US breweries have in fact held relatively steady at around 1/3 of the list since 2006). There’s always an argument to be had whether this reflects the biases of the community or whether it simply reflects the fact that US brewers in general are better. I’m inclined towards the latter explanation, actually – for a long time, the US was the world leader in craft brewing in terms of innovation and quality, and it’s only in the past five or ten years that the rest of the world has been catching up.