For a long time Denmark has been well known for producing the very iconic Carlsberg Pilsner. It is a brand that has sponsored the FIFA World Cup and has created some pretty cool marketing campaigns over the years.
But Copenhagen isn’t just Carlsberg anymore. Thanks to Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, a high school teacher, and journalist Kristian Klarup Keller, everything has changed. Back in 2006 these two homebrewers created Mikkeller, which is a “gyspy” brewery with no real bricks and mortar facility to call their own. They wanted to “challenge beer friends with intense new tastes”, drawing inspiration from the American breweries that “aren’t afraid to play and break all the rules”.
Mikkeller has a couple of pubs in Copenhagen, which serve as a home base, but continue to brew all over the world, collaborating with many well know brewers. The beer they make really does push the limits and they aren’t afraid to try new and different things such as a black imperial pilsner or a sweet and sour naturally fermented beer they call “Kung Fu”.
Thanks to the world wide success and recognition of Mikkeller beer, Denmark now has well over 100 new micro breweries, with many new brewers hoping to cash in on the current craft beer trend sweeping the world.
One of the other early entrants into the craft beer scene in Copenhagen was the Nørrebro Bryghus, which opened it’s doors in 2003. They shared a similar philosophy of creating new and unique beers that weren’t readily available in Denmark. Their Bombay Pale Ale is a Danish take on the American IPA and it is well balanced with plenty of grapefruit and citrus hop flavours. Their original brew pub is still one of the coolest spots in the city, with a laid back vibe, excellent beer and food with very attentive, but not intrusive service. It’s a place that you can really experience the Danish concept of “hygge” (pronounced hugh-ga). In essence hygge means “creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people”.
Fermentoren in a formally industrial section of the city is another great place to experience hygge. They have a very warm and cozy environment, great for the often cold, grey and rainy northern European days. The draft list is unbelievable with offerings from many of the smaller, harder to find, Danish brewers. While they don’t have a kitchen providing food, they do encourage you to buy food from the numerous vendors in the surrounding area and bring it in.
The love of craft beer in this country has even influenced brewing giant Carlsberg. They have created a very popular line of Jacobsen beers, which are named for their original founder, JC Jacobsen. They are edgy, interesting and high quality beers that are widely available at grocery and corner stores throughout the city.
Copenhagen is a great place for beer, but in typical Danish fashion they don’t brag about it, they just let everyone come and discover it for themselves.