Sociable Innovation

Things have been quiet on the Scoop lately; I’ve been working on my MA thesis, which is finally finished. (Spoiler alert: it’s about beer.)

It’s called Examining Craft Brewing as a Social Innovation Process, and while it’s an academic work (or it’s supposed to be, at least), I’ve tried to make it readable. There’s a big chunk of theory, but I’ve also gathered a bunch of nice examples of beer and brewing having a positive effect in the world – including some bits from Finland, and that’s why I’m sharing it here. You can grab the pdf if you’re interested.

Tavastian Tapas

After lamenting the lack of good pub snacks here, and bragging about all the great tapas elsewhere, some sort of karmic event brought me to Olutravintola Birger in Hämeenlinna last week. Thirsty after a long bike ride, I made straight for the bar, and didn’t notice the trays of tapas until I was ready to leave.

Tray of tapas?

Turned out it was Tapas Thursday. Three or four options, 2 euros apiece. I didn’t get the chance to taste, but I have to applaud the effort. Nice pub, too. You don’t need any “service concept” nonsense to have good beer and atmosphere.

Return to Tallinn

I was back in Tallinn recently, and thought it worth mentioning a couple of new things I noticed since my last visit a few months ago, including beer in unexpected places and beer in unexpectedly convenient places.

Continue reading Return to Tallinn

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

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

Do we need a BrewDog bar in Helsinki?

or, What have the BrewDogs ever done for us?

So the nice people at BrewDog made an announcement today: they’re looking to open a bar in Helsinki to complement their existing establishments, which are mostly in the UK, with one outpost in Stockholm that opened a year or so ago.

Interestingly, most of the comments on their blog post centre around whether Finland is or is not a part of Scandinavia – the post asks “why don’t we expand our presence in Scandinavia?” (incidentally, Finns never seem to mind being included when Scandinavian design is being praised)

Anyway, nobody has yet questioned what a BrewDog bar might actually bring to the city, so I thought I might as well give it a shot. Continue reading Do we need a BrewDog bar in Helsinki?