Trends for 2015!

hapanolut

Sour Grapes

I got a little surprise when I saw this month’s Ruoka & Viini magazine. Right there on the front cover, sandwiched between ice-cream soda and kefir, was hapanolut–sour beer–picked as a coming dining trend for this year. Continue reading Trends for 2015!

Enter the Lizard

Walking into Oljenkorsi last night, it was immediately obvious that something was Going On. All the staff were decked out in matching t-shirts, and the latest thing to come out of the wellspring of innovation in Espoo was already on tap: Fat Lizard‘s 101 California Pale Ale. Is that a good metaphor? Would a lizard come out of a spring? Who knows..

Before long, a van pulled up outside and sent forth a bunch of energetic-looking people, who carried with them some not-so-typical accessories. A frying pan. Bunch of coriander. Ok, cool, we might get some snacks. Is that a worm farm? Yes. Yes it is. Continue reading Enter the Lizard

Craft Beer on *ihan* Nyt

There was a pretty nice article in last Friday’s Nyt about the beer scene here. Using the opening of a couple of new craft-focused bars as a hook, it dug into the history of beer and brewing in Finland and came up with a few interesting things. Continue reading Craft Beer on *ihan* Nyt

Beware of the Dog?

Brewdog Helsinki opened its doors shortly before Christmas, but for various reasons I haven’t managed to visit until now.* Fashionably late, I am here now to answer the question that I asked myself a year ago: is this something new that will shake up the local bar scene, or just more of the same? Continue reading Beware of the Dog?

Shock as Sensible Comment heard from Finnish Parliament

In a rare departure from the norm, a member of the Finnish parliament has come out in support of not only small breweries, but beer culture in general. Continue reading Shock as Sensible Comment heard from Finnish Parliament

Keep the Change

The Helsinki bar ‘scene’ has seen some changes recently, with Viisi Penniä closing its doors for renovation over the summer, and most of S-Group’s Czech-themed bars undergoing a Nordic rebranding. But is this actual progress, or mere facelift? I wandered up Mannerheimintie last weekend to find out. Continue reading Keep the Change

Co-Brewing

This post contains water, malt, hops, yeast.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

I started homebrewing about a year ago, mostly out of curiosity, but also mostly because of the ridiculous price/quality ratio we have to put up with here in Finland. I bought as little equipment as I could get away with, and so far I’ve made a few small batches (weizen, pale ale, stout) that ranged from reasonable to very tasty, and at a cost (ingredient-wise, at least) below even the most tasteless cheapest commercial beer.

I still consider myself an absolute beginner at this, but I’ve realised that even an absolute beginner can quite easily make a quality beverage, and learn something about what beer actually is at the same time. I wondered, then, if my self-proclaimed beginner status could make it easier to encourage other people to try brewing for themselves. Continue reading Co-Brewing

Ruosniemen Panimo interview, part 2

Ruosniemen Panimo

“For the love of beer”

In part one of my interview with Antti from Ruosniemen Panimo, we discussed the brewery’s origins, the Finnish brewing scene, and the value of collaborations. Here in part two, we talk about being a craft brewery, beer festivals, the power and responsibility of bar staff, and the Alko situation. Continue reading Ruosniemen Panimo interview, part 2

History in a Glass

A Question

I recently introduced a friend to imperial stout–specifically Thornbridge‘s Saint Petersburg Russian Imperial Stout. This event led to a not-unreasonable question:

“Why is the name so long?”

I proceeded to explain what little I know of the history of the style: back in the 18th Century, Catherine the Great was a fan of the then-new porter/stout/entire style from England, and began ordering it in large quantities from English breweries. To better preserve it on its long voyage, the beer was brewed stronger than for the domestic market—something around the 10% mark—and lo, a new style was born. Or something like that, anyway..

This episode reminded me of a thought I’d had, how a beer like this is a history lesson all by itself. At least, it is when there’s someone at your table prepared to give you a long-winded explanation. And why is the name so long? There’s a whole lot of conjecture and misinformation surrounding this,  and at the risk of adding to that, I shall now attempt to break it down: Continue reading History in a Glass

A Note on Conviviality

Prologue

I have only been in The Gallows Bird once before; me and a drinking buddy decided to go west instead of east for our semi-regular beer/cycle trip. It was August, it was mid-afternoon, and the place was pretty quiet. We had a couple of halves of something decent, served by a perhaps slightly gruff barman (not that there’s anything wrong with that), before saddling up and, if I recall correctly, stopping by Viisi Penniä and Janoinen Lohi on our way home. Good exercise..

For a place on the edge of a dual carriageway, sandwiched between a fire station and a couple of burger joints, Gallows Bird seemed relatively impressive. Still, I came away without any particular desire to hurry back. Continue reading A Note on Conviviality