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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

An Evening of Swedish Beer

Back at the Beer Bloggers Conference I picked up some rare bottles from Sweden. They’d been sitting in the fridge quite happily, but with the other-half out for the evening and me with nothing much on, I thought I’d grab them out and see what they’re up to.

Thinking it best to start with something subtle and then move onwards, first up I had Sigtuna Brygghus East River Lager. Labelled handsomely in industrial chrome and with a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge, it looks great before you even reach for the bottle opener. It’s a Vienna lager and therefore on the darker side of golden. The aroma is big and bold, shouting American hops at the top of its voice. This follows through to citrusy notes in the flavour, backed by caramel and chewy, sweet malt. There’s a slight metallic element to it that distracts and I’d call this an APA (American Pale Ale) if I didn’t know better; very enjoyable all the same.

Game plan incited, we now hit full-on lager craving. Slottskällans Bryggeri St Eriks Pilsner might do the job.

Maybe not. American hops again. Aroma and flavour packed with overripe oranges, blossom and tinned mandarins. There’s a subtle sulphur in the background - flinty, minerally, like concrete when its just started to rain - enough to make me think pilsner, but not enough to compete with those hops. Closer to the beer I was expecting but still some way off; very tasty though.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Up next is St Eriks IPA, and as soon as I take a sip my brain screams EAST COAST. Lots of crystal malt in the flavour profile, tannic, slightly chewy, loads of caramel and toffee. There are hops there too but they seemed muted, fruity but indiscernibly so. The body is very thin and that results in an astringency when combined with the crystal malt. If you’re into East Coast IPAs (think Dogfish Head) then you’ll like this, it’s a personal thing but I just prefer it from the West.

And to round things out with a lovely symmetry, we say “hello best beer of the night” to Sigtuna Brygghus Summer IPA. More of those tinned mandarins, some peaches and some citrus and maybe a little pine in the background too. How this beer is 7.1% I do not know. It romps home with beautiful balance, sweetness up front and then the softest bitterness in the finish that just sweeps everything away. Very well brewed, a really fantastic beer.

Bravo Sweden.


David B said...

Pete brought home some of the Sigtuna (including the East River Lager and Summer IPA) from Beer Bloogers. Was really impressed, particularly with the IPA.

David B said...

"Beer Bloogers" - sounds better than "Beer Bloggers" anyway. I regret nothing.

Mark said...

Bloogers all the way! The summer IPA is a fantastic beer, really enjoyed it. Shame that we'll probably never see it again.

Leigh said...

They look really, really interesting. And yeah - doesn't look very lager-y!

Mark said...

Fingers crossed they start making it over to the UK. I'd but the Summer IPA all the time if I could. :)

KTNK said...

Beer Bloogers cool! It's like you've let a drunkman spelled the word "Beer Bloggers" hahaha!