Swedish culture primer #3: Since our fans demand more pictures of the summer cottage and its environs, I’ll take this opportunity to tell you about a strange Swedish custom. This is what is known as a lillstuga or “little cottage”:
As you can see, this looks pretty much like the regular summer cottage but smaller. Traditionally, when you have a child, you build a lillstuga near your summer cottage – not for the baby to sleep in, of course, but to symbolize that there is a new addition to the family. Then, next year, when the baby has grown, you tear down the old lillstuga and build a new, slightly larger one, to commemorate the passage of time. And so on. Every year, you tear down the old lillstuga and replace it with a slightly larger one. The remains are burnt on a pyre and much aquavit is consumed. This goes on until the child comes of age, which in Sweden is at 26. Then, the whole summer cottage property passes to the child and the parents have to sleep in the lillstuga. Charlotte is four now so we have 22 more years – let’s make them good ones!
A smart idea by Durham Brewery: create a “virtual tasting event” where people everywhere try their favorite Imperial Stout and then tweet about it. CAMRGB (Campaign for Really Good Beer, not to be confused with CAMRA) also supported the event, and from what I’ve seen on Twitter so far it’s been a rousing success. Since I am the first one to jump on the bandwagon of any totally made-up holiday (International IPA Day, anyone?) or event related to beer, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the two bottles I popped open for this global (OK, mostly British) event of virtual beer goodness.
I’ve been on a short trip to Sweden over the weekend (or rather, I’m still in Sweden, as flights to Heathrow have been cancelled because there’s apparently been some snow there) and of course I’ve taken the opportunity to try some Swedish beers. Due to some kind of iPhone malfunction I have not been able to take any pictures so you’ll have to make do with words – I’ll keep it brief, capsule reviews only. I originally planned to do a reverse companion piece to my “10 British breweries you need to get in Sweden”, titled “5 Swedish breweries that deserves wider distribution in the UK”, or something like that – but that will have to wait. View this as a kind of teaser for a longer feature to come.