Nørrebro Bryghus: New Menu 2017

A little less than two years ago, when I was still working in Malmö, I had the pleasure of having Logan on the opposite side of the bar I was working at. Logan was visiting from Texas and was staying at the hotel next door. When he was done sightseeing in and around Malmø, I made sure to keep him hydrated. 

Tasting board anno 2017

Tasting board anno 2017

Fast forward almost two years, and Logan is back in Scandinavia, back in Copenhagen (because let's face it, Danes are cooler!), and ready to let me show him the wonders of good danish craft beer. 

I'm tasked with finding a place to eat. As Nørrebro Bryghus recently launched their new menu, it seems like a no-brainer to give it a try. In the basement, brewer, Emil, is having what appears to be his post-work beer(s), although he tries to convince me he's still working. The tanks are getting filled after having a wee rest over New Years. We talk about the successful launch of their new sub-brand Braw and Emil is quick to find a sample of their new Pale Ale - it seems exactly in the same vein as previous outings. Hoppy, crisp and delicious!

Logan arrives and we move upstairs, quickly deciding on the taster menu, consisting of five small servings. We are however surprised to receive a taster glass of the new quadruple from Braw. It doesn't have much going on in the nose, but the flavor is spot on. Sweet, heavy and to the point, just like a good Quadruple should be, but maybe also better suiting for a dessert than an appetizer.

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Before we are presented to our five food offerings, we get some bread with butter - and it brings me right back to Luksus (read more here) as a basic offering that just works - and works even better with the Quadruple (although probably not intentional). 

Then we actually, finally get to our five small servings. Smoked almonds, cod tapioca, tartar, salmon and porter braised pork jowls. 

We both decide to start with the salmon and we both find it to be a bit towards the fishy side, but in a good way. It's soft texture gives a good first impression, but the secret lies with the panko flour and the cress - together they turn it into a whole new serving, that works on all levels. Rich, umami, yet easy enough to not fill me up too fast.

Out of all the beers that was presented to us, finding a good match proved difficult though, most of the regular lineup proved to sweet, and most of the Braw brews proved too bitter.

Moving on to the tartar, which is my first meeting with tartar. I am a Tartar noob no more! None the less, it's apparently nicely paired with Ravnsborg Rød, a Red Ale to the sweeter side. It seems as though I like tartar. It disappeared fast and I blame the truffle purée!

The final "bigger" taster is the pork. It's been braised in beer, and when meat is braised in beer I am fairly certain there's something inexplainable sorcery happening. It's extremely soft! I would've loved it even more as a full dish, served warm, but I guess as a taster menu, this is what you get! Again, none of the beers seems to work for the dish - I would have loved an ESB, or in general something on the softer side. A dubbel could've worked wonders. 

Cod chip and Logan. One flown in directly from Texas. 

Cod chip and Logan. One flown in directly from Texas. 

The last of the five (nuts not included) is the cod chips. It's the weirdest serving on the plate and we both saved it for the end, because we have no idea what to think of it, or what to do with it. It's preferred pairing was the New York Lager, and although decent, we never quite seem to get why most of the "regular" beers seem so sweet. The chip seems mostly like a gimmick. It doesn't taste bad, it just seems very forgettable.

In conclusion, the food and the beers brewed on-site is really good. The pairings need some work and I would prefer some hot dishes next time.  I would - and will - come back to try the beers going under the Braw brand and maybe have a bite to eat if the beers are too good!

Stille Nacht Vertical 2005-2016

I'm not a fan of what most people around here consider a Christmas beer. The supermarket highlights a stronger and sweeter pilsner, while the craft breweries have traditionally opted for the occasional addition of various spices. None of these really call out to me, although I can enjoy a few each year around Christmas.

12 years of Silent Night! 

12 years of Silent Night! 

One Christmas beer serves as the exception though. It's basically the Orval of Christmas beers. Loved by most, and always worth a sip or three...

Although, let's be honest, usually more than three sips!

I'm obviously talking about Stille Nacht from De Dolle in Belgium - and this season I found myself invited to a vertical tasting ranging from 2005 through 2016. We started off with the latest and worked our way backwards to see the evolution of sugar.

It was an interesting journey right from the beginning as we started with a young, pungent strong ale. It's surprisingly hoppy from the Nugget hops and it leaves the beer with an overall floral and herbal feeling. The booze is very present in both taste and aroma.

As we get served 2015 it feels a bit too cold. The aroma and taste are at a standstill. The finish is classical Stille Nacht, but it's hard to find a deeper meaning at the bottle of this particular glass.

As we reach 2014, we're back on track. The booze is still present, but the herbs have mellowed out a bit and let some vanilla and caramel shine through.

All the way down to 2010, we seem go the same route. Everything gets a little softer, a little smoother and a little more subtle. I guess it's called well rounded. Oddly enough 2012 seems more herbal and boozy than its fresher counterparts from 2013 and 2014.

2010 also marks the clearest of the Stille Nacht from tap. From here on out, we're drinking vintage bottles. Slight changes are expected...

However, as we let out 7 year old oxygen from the bottle, we can tell we're in for something very different. 2009 gives notes of toffee, oak, prunes and raisins; it makes it seem like a completely different beer. In a blind tasting I would guess it was a barley wine.

Dig in... 

Dig in... 

As we dive further in we're again looking at something unlike our previous glasses. 2008 is much clearer and lighter in color; it almost resembles a whiskey more than a beer. Both the nose and taste bring similar notes to 2009, but it comes off a bit thinner and my mind wanders towards a good port wine.

As we're starting to see the end of our journey, so is Stille Nacht. 2007 and 2006 both seem to have faded past their peak. It could be due to storage, but they seem dustier and lighter. The booze seems to have returned as well and they generally don't seem as well rounded anymore.

At the final stop, the grand finale, 2005, we're sipping one of the easiest drinking 12% beers. It could be that we've been through ten other vintages, but it seems easier on the palate. Less booze and more mild vanilla, prune and oak characters than we've adjusted to by now, although still with a little dusty edge to it.

So, what's the moral of this story?

I have great friends?

Stille Nacht is a great beer?

Probably the biggest Stille Nacht fan in the world. Thanks for inviting me Tony! 

Probably the biggest Stille Nacht fan in the world. Thanks for inviting me Tony! 

I'll go with both! And then I'll advise to go for either a three year old Stille Nacht if on tap or a seven year old in bottles.

Next year I hope to try 2008-2010 to see if I'd still pick the same as my favorite. For science, of course!

2016: Best New Beer

For the second year now, the danish beer bloggers are doing a "best of..." series. Started by Stovt last year, it's being done all over again, with some minor changes in the titles, but still with a view at the difference in beer bloggers views and experiences.

There's no denying that my tastebuds have evolved over time. A good solid 5 gets rarer and rarer by the year. Usually when I do my yearly tally I get a bit of help from Untappd, where I pull all my data from. There's simply no other way to keep track.

I've decided to divide the Best New Beer award into one foreign and one Danish. It just made more sense that way.

My non-danish favorite list has a bunch of different styles, although mostly leaning towards imperial stouts. At an almost perfect score there's Anagram from Omnipollo, that I had when I did a Tap Takeover with them back in May. Then there's Saison Melange and Broken Truck No. 2 from de Garde, Black Magick (Rye Whiskey Barrels) from Voodoo Brewing and Wednesday from Cycle Brewing, which was all consumed during Copenhagen Beer Celebration.

The winner however, and the only 5-star rating (of a new beer) this year goes to Cloudwater with their DIPA v2, which I traded with a british guy back when it was only days old. Nothing but amazing, and they deserve all the praise they get for the continoud DIPA lineup - it's now at version 10!

I do however find it much more interesting to see which beers from Denmark, makes the top spots and not surprisingly, my two favorite breweries from last year is well represented. Alefarm, last years "best newcomer" is at three spots with their Old Creation and their Collab with Bad Seed and off course Kindred Spirits, which may be the IPA I've consumed the most during 2016.

Courtesy of Alefarms Facebook page. 

Courtesy of Alefarms Facebook page. 

But my favorite brewery from last year also snuck their way in with their NE IPA, The Bastard Princess, appropriately named after The Editor. Alongside Gamma Brewing and their Ionize DIPA they're the last ones to make top spots before announcing my apparent favorite beer of 2016.

Black Luck from Beer Here takes the top spot alongside Kindred Spirits from Alefarm are my duo for the best beer released in 2016. One is sweet, heavy, roasty and toasted, while the other one is hoppy, funky and smooth as silk. Both of them warms my soul and I smile when I think of how spoiled we are here in Denmark sometimes.

2016: Best Beer Bar

For the second year now, the danish beer bloggers are doing a "best of..." series. Started by Stovt last year, it's being done all over again, with some minor changes in the titles, but still with a view at the difference in beer bloggers views and experiences.

On a cold winter night, this is the view that greats you.

On a cold winter night, this is the view that greats you.

Choosing the best beer bar seems counter intuitive, since I've been managing a bar for most of the year. After all, "my bar" would have to be my favourite, right? In Copenhagen, there's a lot of competition and some of these bars have been around for years and years. Fermentoren and Ølbaren are old favorites, but newcomers such as Himmeriget and Bootleggers are ready to steal my attention.

Future additions seems to make it even harder to chose my favourite for next year, but more on that later...

A certain memory keeps popping into my brain when I try to pick a favourite. It stands out because it was a combination of so many things, that just worked in perfect unison. And the fact that I wasn't working there might've been factor for it winning the title.

Beer is in focus, but add in the share-friendly dishes from the kitchen, the amazing view and of course the wonderful presence of some great, passionate people behind the bar. You got yourself a winner! It doesn't make it worse that my wife was on the other side of the table, the first time i visited.

If the above picture hasn't given it away yet, my favorite bar in 2016 is Penyllan Bar & Kitchen...

And the reason is mainly because of the first visit I had there. It was my wedding anniversary and I was having dinner with my wife. The food and beer was perfect, but the detail was in the pairings. Most beers on tap came from Beer Here, which is one of the few breweries I'll order with no hesitation, but rumors have it that Penyllan is launching soon... Perhaps? Maybe...? Hopefully... 

Either way, everything just works and I would recommend anyone to go there if they want an experience beyond amazing. Especially, but not limited to, beer drinkers.

Food connoisseurs will find a menu bringing you directly to heaven. I'm still dreaming about the chocolate cake paired with the Imperial Stout (Black Luck with Ghost Brewing).  

If you're more into cocktails you'll be treated great too. With barrel aged Negroni and Old Fashioned, you're in for a special treat although the Gin & Tonic worked as a perfect nightcap for us. Made with homemade tonic, there's simply not anything like it out there!

Add the carefully selected beer list and highlight the view one last time and I wish I could never leave Bornholm! 

2016: Best Beer Experience

For the second year now, the danish beer bloggers are doing a "best of..." series. Started by Stovt last year, it's being done all over again, with some minor changes in the titles, but still with a view at the difference in beer bloggers views and experiences.

The experiences in 2016 has been many. So many that I've had trouble actually telling anyone about them, if not face to face. Traveling, hosting tap takeovers, meeting brewers, importing my own beers. One travel was especially on my mind, yet I'd rather wanted to save that for the best beer bar. More on that later this week!

But then it hit me, I'd been traveling to a certain brewerys location twice mere months. Maybe it's the second visit that made me forget i ever had been there - considering the amount of beers and the high quality, mixed with some hype in vintage form - it doesn't seem unlikely!

Of course, it's one of the breweries that's been on everyone's lips the past six months, Stone Brewing!

With their newly opened factory/beer garden/restaurant opening up in Berlin, there's a good chance they'll shake up the scene, produce some fresh and hoppy beers and finally let the can make it's way out to the consumer, break down some barriers on the way. Good beers can also be in a can.

But not only do the have a great hope for the future of craft beer, in Berlin as well as in Europe, they also threw one hell of a party. Food enough to feed a couple hundred of people, beers enough to get them all drunk AND have leftovers, but also setting up extra bars, with incredible beers everywhere on the premises. For the lucky people there, you never had to walk more than 10-20 meters to get your glass filled.

... and the winner is! 

... and the winner is! 

And I haven't even started on some of the amazing beers that was present. W00tst00t in all of it's vintages, Imperial Stout on Bourbon barrels from 2008 are the ones that stand out the most, and the ones that made me forget most of the trip home. I still have dream about those beers and I very much look forward to trying the next batch of w00tst00t - the first one to be brewed in Berlin.

2016: Best Foreign Brewery

For the second year now, the danish beer bloggers are doing a "best of..." series. Started by Stovt last year, it's being done all over again, with some minor changes in the titles, but still with a view at the difference in beer bloggers views and experiences.

Personally, 2016 has been a very different year, than every previous one I've had as a beer writer. Mostly because most of my time has been spent running a bar, but also because I've come to know a lot more breweries around the world during my run as mayor president manager. That also makes it a lot harder to choose a candidate for this year.

I've considered a bunch of breweries, including the one I deemed the winner last year (Omnipollo, for those who didn't know).

Cloudwater come to mind, because they've made some incredible hoppy beers over the last year. They've now made it to version 10 and from the rumors they haven't slowed down a single bit

In keeping in line with last year, I also feel like it was appropriate to keep a Swedish brewery on the list. After all, Omnipollo was the winner of best non-danish brewery last year. Stigberget has been making some of the best IPA's I've ever had on danish soil. Westcoast IPA, Business as Usual (with All In and O/O), but more so Amazing Haze and the now world famous GBG Beer Week - all beers worthy of putting them permanently on my beer map.

A third contender for the title comes from my trip to New York. Other half have been slaying the beer scene, including my own pallet. The IPA's I've had on my trip was nothing but amazing and has earned them a spot on my list.

Before hitting the final spot, and winner of my list, I do need to turn my head to the other side of America, to a brewery that blew my mind on all scales. But a beer that really struck the high notes was Double Stack - an American Stout brewed with coffee and maple syrup. I'm obviously talking about Great Notion, the new west coast experts in IPA's, Stouts and Funk!

... and the winner is! 

... and the winner is! 

But one brewery that has crossed my path several times during 2016 and has kept surprising me, must be Brew by Numbers. It's not because they have the same weird relationship with numbers as I do, but because their beers have kept the same high level all through the year - many times even exceeding my expectations. The duo of double IPA's 55|01 and 55|02 was especially high hitters for me, but also their more subtle styles such as Oatmeal Stout (08|06), Red IPA (35|01) and White IPA (25|05) has peaked my tastebuds.  

Berlin: Greatest Hits

After two visits to Berlin, both being focused on Stone Brewing and their European invasion I've found a couple of gems among the jungle that is the Berlin beer scene. Not the most advances scene, but one that seems to be blossoming and probably will grow with the addition of Stone. These here are my favourites.

Lager Lager

Lager Lager

Lager Lager functions as both tap room, growler station and bottle shop. Despite it's small looks from the outside, it can seat a good amount of people. I was pleasantly surprised during my first visit, with a well coordinated tap list and a massive selection of bottles from near and far. The place is driven by to passionate people and it shows. The selectionincludes BRLO, Beavertown, Heiden Peters, The Kernel and of course Stone.

Moneterey

Moneterey

Where Lager Lager had a more relaxed atmosphere, still seeming like a hidden gem, Monterey could be the exact opposite. Rock music blaring from the speakers, a showcase of beers enjoyed in the bar, some suggestive pictures on the walls and even an arcade table in the back. This place seems to have it all. Seemed to be heavily focused on American breweries during my first visit, but settled back on some locals during my second. Well worth a visit!

Kaschk

Kaschk

I'm still not entirely sure what shuffleboard actually is, or at least, I don't know how you play it. None the less, this is something as rare as a shuffleboard/craft beer hybrid. The service was very laid back, almost too much, but the beers they had on tap seemed carefully selected, although for me a little disappointing, as there was quite a few 'To Øl' beers on tap. Not that it's a bad thing, I just get them so frequently in Copenhagen. None the less, the vibe and location speaks loud for Kaschk. In the middle of the city and seems to attract a crowd bringing their computers to work.

An American comes to Europe

When you take a good look at Stone, it's hard to combine that with the words micro brewery. But 'craft' is still deeply ingrained in their DNA. With several outlets in the US, they're the first American brewery to open their own facility overseas. Something like that doesn't go un-noticed. With such a name and brand behind you, there's bound to a grand opening party. And as a participant, I can guarantee they succeeded.

Part of the restaurant.

Part of the restaurant.

This is my second visit to Stone, as I was there only two months ago. Back then there was still a lot left to be done, but everyone pulled through and out of seemingly nothing an enormous beer garden rose. My partner in crime for the opening was Andrew and according to him, the Berlin chapter looks and feels quite a lot like the one in Escondido - in a really good way. Big, open, spacious and playful comes to mind, but organic and friendly shouldn't be left out. This place is massive, even if I tried to not count the outdoor area, which seems to be taken directly from California and planted in Berlin.

Andrew with our first couple of beers.

Andrew with our first couple of beers.

But what makes this so special, is not only the restaurant and beer garden. If not even more important, the brewery. The corner stone (pun intended) is the beer and all of the flagship beers will now be brewed in Berlin, with local, fresh ingredients. And that's important, especially for Berlin!

A city that seems to be in it's infancy when it comes to craft beer. Double IPA's are a rare sight, Imperial Stouts are far between, and craft beer places are in general hard to come by, spread across the city. With a giant production like Stone, the small brewers have got some serious competition on their hands.

One of the out door bars. Notice the Stone Farking W00tstout.

One of the out door bars. Notice the Stone Farking W00tstout.

Previously mention w00tstout posing for the camera

Previously mention w00tstout posing for the camera

I won't go into too much detail about what was present at the opening, mostly because I didn't take notes, but also because that list would be massive. I believe to have heard there was 88 different beers on tap during the opening night, where most was in the main bar located in the restaurant, some were in the library bar and yet some more were located outside at smaller stands. 

Fresh hops.

Fresh hops.

My hope is for Stone to bring their Enjoy By series to Berlin and start putting some much needed focus on freshness. Whether that'll be the case or not, Stone is here to stay and I'll be on the sideline, watching, waiting. Anticipating!

The happiest man at the opening

The happiest man at the opening

On a sidenote, I got to meet Greg (the happiest man at the opening) while he was in Copenhagen only a couple of weeks later. I even got to serve him food at Banksia, before bugging him about various beer related geeky questions at Taphouse.

Stone Brewing, welcome to Berlin and welcome to Copenhagen. 

Great Notion, Portland OR

It's never a surpsise that there's still places in Portland I haven't yet been to. I do feel like I've found my favorites, but this time around, I can add an extra stop to my "usuals". Before even setting a foot at the premises I talked to my sister-in-law about the lack of IPA centric moguls in Portland, despite the massive amount of breweries. Not many of the breweries known outside of Portland have hit the IPA goldmine yet, but Great Notion is about to change that.

Lumberjack

Lumberjack

Located in Alberta, where the Mash Tun used to reside and filled to the brim with lumberjacks from various artist. One of them happens to a favorite of mine, Timber, whose shirts I am wearing as I'm writing this. The place is fairly big, yet quite spacious, with the bar taking only a small part of the area, surrounded by tables of various sizes. We're quickly seated and handed menus.

Highlights from the menu

Highlights from the menu

The first thing that catches my eyes are what you see above. House dry hopped Bourbon, but more about that later. I needed to work up some courage for it.

Great Notion, Juice Jr.

Great Notion, Juice Jr.

But beer was what we came for, and the beers did not dissapoint. Juice Jr. was my first choice, as I was still trying to work up to that Bourbon, a six percent IPA seemed like the right choice. The juice part was spot on, with a huge amount of fruit and a mouthfeel thicker than most. Meanwhile Sister-in-law picked a heavier IPA called Ripe. Good, but Juice Jr. was a hard act to follow. The Editor picked a Blueberry Muffin (beer, not actual muffin!) - a sour ale, that delivered exactly what it says on the tin. Tons of blueberries on the nose, but a light and refreshing sour aspect, that balances everything so perfectly!

Sister-in-law and Bourbon

Sister-in-law and Bourbon

And with the lighter beers out of the way, we're ready for some dry hopped Bourbon - and some fries. The bourbon was... interesting. Unlike anything I've tried before, I might not order it again, but it did give me great ideas for some cocktails. More on that later.

Bourbon, hops and fries.

Bourbon, hops and fries.

Beer menu.

Beer menu.

Funky Brewster and Double Stack we're last on the list. While Funky Brewster was an excellent beer it paled in comparison to Double Stack. Most things will though. An 8.5% Stout with loads of pancake, maple syrup and a mouthfeel that's rarely seen in beers this "easy". Might even have been on of my favorite beers on my whole trip to Portland this time around.

My only concern was the amount of taps. It seemed like a lot of them were left empty and that cut our visit a bit shorter. But the quality of the beers is enough to warrant another visit next time i arrive in PDX.

De Garde, Corvallis OR

I've been to Oregon a few times, and I've been close to Corvallis enough times to almost smell the brewery. Fourth times seems to be the charm as I finally made my way to the warehouse that holds one of my favorite sour breweries.

Carved in wood.  

Carved in wood.  

Up there with Castillon, on the top shelf in my cellar, is where I stash my De Garde beers. As they're hard to come by around these parts, I try to spread it out as best I can. Going to a brewery feels as close to unlimited supply as it ever gets - it's like heaven... 

Taste the rainbow.  

Taste the rainbow.  

Everything in the taproom seems so well thought out. The tables, all the memorabilia on the walls, the neat shelfs in the top and the backdrop of the bar. It's exactly what you'd expect from de Garde. Classy without being overly flashy, yet still cosy enough to easily let people spend several hours on the premises. 

We ended up trying the whole menu on the board alongside a couple of bottles, and we of course ran in to some new favorites.  

Cantillon, artwork and a guy with a donkey on his head. 

Cantillon, artwork and a guy with a donkey on his head. 

Avenue no. 2 was probably the most interesting that day. A farmhouse sour with Marion berries aged on oak, already sounds intriguing on paper, but the taste was nothing but amazing. Dry, tart but deliciously fruity, almost like jam. Definitely a highlight on an already phenomenale tap list!

Tap list

Tap list

And as mentioned we also made our dig into some of the bottles on hand at the brewery. A very fine selection of some of their best stuff made is available. Prices are a bit steep, but for a Dane, not unheard of it. We tried to keep to a decent budget, but could've easily splurged if we'd let our hearts choose. 

The editor and the bottles

The editor and the bottles

Thank you de Garde. Keep up the good work (and start shipping to Copenhagen)