“You are not really supposed to like ABBA in Sweden. It’s nerdy.”
Tuesday, 25 September 2018 19:57

Sweden – the country which produced the Vikings who brutally raided Britain and France, and ABBA who launched a harrowing assault on popular music

that lives on even to this day. It is the nation which produced the culinary wonders of a Swedish meatball, but also the abject frustration of an IKEA flat pack coffee table which always has too many screws or, worse, not enough screws.

For me, the country should be celebrated for producing two of the finest actors of all time – Max von Sydow (Never Say Never Again, Game of Thrones, The Exorcist and Ghostbusters II), and Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV, Expendables I, II and III, A View to a Kill, and Masters of the Universe). [1]

Sweden is now coming to Malthouse in the first ever Swedish Invasion! Tap Attack at Malthouse! This seems to be a distinctly un-Swedish thing to do from a country that openly disapproves of even boasting in conversations, but it is happening on Thursday 4 October 2018 and Friday 5 October 2018.

Sweden has a surprisingly vigorous craft brewing industry despite a high level of Government control on sales and excise taxes which dramatically inflate the prices. In 1985 Sweden had just nine regular breweries. Now they have close to two hundred. In their 3rd Edition Pocket Beer Book, noted beer writers Stephen Beaumont and Tim Webb describe the Swedish beer scene:

“The sometimes shocking cost of beer in Sweden has not dampened the enthusiasm of its brewers, who have created one of the most dynamic markets in Europe despite the price hurdle. Certainly of some benefit is the state liquor store system which is supportive of craft beer breweries, although the rest is all grit, determination and apparently boundless imagination.”

In another fun fact, the Swedish government run liquor stores stock exactly two New Zealand beers. According to my Swedish correspondent and former flatmate Doctor Nic, [2] the two Kiwi brews are the small sports drink like cans of Steinlager Pure and 500ml bottles of Epic Armageddon. I think we are sending mixed messages to Sweden about our beer culture but they appear to be (rightly) loving the Armageddon IPA.

In the other direction, Swedish beer is landing on our shores. At the recent Brewers Guild of New Zealand Beer Awards, a chance conversation between Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor of Malthouse and the good people at Beer Jerk eventuated in the upcoming New Zealand launch of five Swedish beers from four Swedish craft breweries.

Obviously, I have not tried them. Heck, I am not even sure they are in the country yet but here is what I have managed to find on each of them:

Electric Nurse Winter Brown Ale (5.6%) - This is a dark, spicy and warming ale. There are notes of chocolate, caramel, nuts and nutmeg. However, I cannot better the description of RateBeer user alkolas510 who wrote: “kolsvart med ljusbrunt skum.  Doftar och smakar rostat, kaffe och humle.  Väldigt humlad brown ale med mycket Cascade! Riktigt bra!” [3]

Dugges All The Way Session IPA (4.2%) – A very balanced English style IPA. The dominant flavours are citrus, caramel and herbs.

Radanas Bourbon Mash Beer (6.7%) – Disclaimer: There should be all kinds of dots and circles above letters in the brewery name but that is far beyond the abilities of my keyboard. Sorry for the cultural insensitivity Kingdom of Sweden. It calls to mind a smoked bourbon with notes of caramel, toffee, vanilla and wood over a strong body.

Beerbibliotek Some Men Just Want To Watch The World Burn Imperial Stout (11%) – I am legitimately worried my spell checker is going to go on strike and/or organise an intervention but that is really the brewery name. I like the beer name too though I doubt the actual beer would be to my taste.

The SMJWTWTWBIS (as it known to its fans) is an oily imperial stout with strong notes of chocolate, liquorice, peat smoke and defiance. It was initially brewed to mourn the inauguration of President Donald Trump in January 2017. It is still around... but then so is he...

Beerbibliotek Whoop Ass Orange Peel Berliner Weisse (3.5%) – There must be a translation issue here because no Berliner Weisse (sour wheat beer) has ever legitimately been described as “ass whooping”. It is a lighter and more subtle style. This version uses orange peel and gains points from me for referencing the catch phrase of professional wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin who repeatedly opened cans of whoop ass on his opponents and often his boss.

Reluctantly returning to the beer, it is a hazy brew with notes of orange and grapefruit before a mild tart/sour finish.

The title of this blog is from Izabella Scorupco, a Polish-Swedish actress, singer and model. In a fun fact, she played Bond girl Natalya Simonova in the 1995 James Bond film GoldenEye. With both Max von Sydow and Dolph Lundgren also appearing in Bond flicks, Sweden appears to be punching well above its weight in the genre. I don’t think a Kiwi has ever graced a 007 film though Cliff Curtis may have snuck in there somewhere playing a foreign baddy...

Next time we drink to Fork Brewing AKA Fork Brewcorp, being crowned Champion Small Brewery of New Zealand. Congratulations to brewer Kelly Ryan and the entire team on this awesome win.

[1] Masters of the Universe is easily one of the worst films ever made. It had a huge budget, big stars but unfortunately no real plot and cringe worthy special effects.

[2] Not a real doctor. Do not let her tell you otherwise.

[3] Childhood years watching the Swedish Chef on the Muppet Show means I can basically understand this beer review. Television is awesome.

Cheers

Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine

Links

Malthouse Swedish Invasion Facebook Event - https://www.facebook.com/events/476939019449769/

Beer Jerk - https://www.beerjerk.co.nz/

Malthouse Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/malthouseNZ/

Malthouse Twitter – www.twitter.com/#!/malthouse

Malthouse Taps on Twitter – www.twitter.com/#!/MalthouseTaps

Neil Miller on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/#!/beerlytweeting

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