• Sweden edition
 
Beer in Sweden: Looking beyond the lager

Beer in Sweden: Looking beyond the lager

Published: 24 Mar 2011 10:33 GMT+01:00
Updated: 24 Mar 2011 10:33 GMT+01:00

Imagine I offered you the choice of only eating one type of food – let’s say a cheeseburger – for every breakfast, lunch and dinner for the rest of your life.

Unless you had one serious fast food addiction you probably wouldn’t agree to it would you?

The funny thing is a lot of people do exactly this when it comes to their beer, with a majority of beer drinkers stubbornly sticking to the same style of beer (and often the same one or two brands) for most of their drinking lives.

Very often these beers are the pale yellow lagers that represent the vast majority of beer consumed around the globe. Brands such as Budweiser (the planet’s largest-selling beer brand), Corona, and closer to home Carlsberg and Falcon Export, are often the only style of beer many people ever try and thus define it.

The great news is that fizzy yellow lager is only a single page in the very thick book about beer.

In this month’s article I’m urging you to turn that page over by asking you to try five different styles of beer that are all easily available to buy at the (Swedish state alcohol monopoly retailer) Systembolaget.

In doing so I’m hoping you’ll give beer a better chance to impress you, to flirt a little with your taste-buds and to show you that the earth’s favourite alcoholic drink is everything but a one-trick pony.

Let’s start off with something that’s probably pretty familiar to most of you:

LAGER

Yes I know I said that lager is the sort of beer I’d like you to break away from once in a while but the truth is lager is the world’s most popular beer style for a reason – it’s very refreshing to drink!

Try Pilsner Urquell – recognised as the first golden beer created back in 1842, with a deliciously subtle malt body that hides a spicy bitter backlash from the famous Saaz hops used to brew it.

BITTER

Once the UK’s national drink before the arrival of fizzy Euro-lagers, bitter is as British as the Queen, William Shakespeare and David Beckham all rolled into one.

By definition bitter beers have a medium to high level of bittering hops in them but come with an almost endless choice of supporting flavours and qualities.

Bitters are generally low to mid-strength in alcohol, making them the perfect drink when out socializing.

If you want to go ‘old world’ try Spitfire Premium Kentish Ale or Adnams The Bitter. However for a more contemporary spin try Bedarö Bitter from Nynäshamns Ångbryggeri that uses US hops to add layers of pine and zesty fruit flavours.

WHEAT BEERS

When wheat is added to beer the effects can be spectacular. The beer itself takes on a lighter colour and the distinctive top-fermenting yeasts used to make them often throw out smells of bananas, cloves and band-aid.

In Germany weissbier (white beer) or weizenbier (wheat beer) is served in huge ‘flower vase’ glasses and is often drunk with food. Belgium has developed its own style, witbier, often seasoned with curacao orange peel and coriander.

Go German with Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier or Belgium with Hoegaarden Witbier.

INDIA PALE ALE

If you like your beers to pack a stinging hoppy punch then this is the beer style for you. First developed by the British in the 1800s to withstand the long sea voyage to India and to quench the thirst of the Raj.

Classic IPAs use hard water to deliver a refreshing mineral quality, while a boat-load of hops provide grassy aromas and a tongue-curling finish.

US brewers helped revive IPA in the 1980s and it is today one of the most brewed styles of craft beer in the world.

For a more traditional style IPA try Marstons Old Empire. If you want to ramp up the hop hit then give Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA a whirl.

PORTER/STOUT

The boundary between these two beer styles is so blurred it’s sometimes hard to tell them apart. What we do know is that porter came first around 1720 and that stout grew out of it as a stronger, often darker, more roasted version.

Today’s porters and stouts are often an orgy of malts producing chocolate and coffee character while US versions also boast lots of pine and grapefruit action from the aggressive use of hops.

You shouldn’t miss trying the highly rated Fuller’s London Porter or indulge in the chocolate orange decadence of Slottskällans Imperial Stout

While enjoying the malted delights outlined above, remember that there are dozens more beer styles out there to try, so why not grab a glass and start exploring!

Darren Packman (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

17:33 March 24, 2011 by Åskar
If we are really technical Czech beers are generally not lagers at all.
19:00 March 24, 2011 by mojofat
And if we are really and truly technical, swedish beer isn't really beer at all...maybe more like watered down cat urine.
20:06 March 24, 2011 by BeerSwedenDarren
Åskar - actually the lager definition does incorporate Pilsner (which is the style I believe you're referring to in your comment).

To quote the wonderful Wiki:

Lager (German: storage) is a type of beer that is brewed and stored at low temperatures. Pilsner, Bock, Dortmunder Export and Märzen are all styles of lager.
21:56 March 24, 2011 by Dazzathethird
"And if we are really and truly technical, swedish beer isn't really beer at all...maybe more like watered down cat urine."

I'm sorry mojofat, but have you actually tried anything other than pripps or spendrups?

Närke Kaggen Stormaktsporter is currently one of the best beers in the world (www.ratebeer.com) , Oppigårds is a fantastic brewery (peronal opinion), and there are fantastic beers coming out from Eskilstuna, Gothenburg, Västerås and Sigtuna, cupled to that the new "craze" of micro beer bars, Pict, OT , Akuraat and the bishops Arms (yes, they are great for beer) the Swedish beer scene is one of the best around.

and I'm not a biased Swede, I'm an englishman with years of around the world beer drinking experience
06:05 March 25, 2011 by technoviking
Nils Oscar makes the best beer in Sweden...
10:18 March 25, 2011 by HYBRED
There is a IPA by West Coast out this month that is really good. I was hoping that Oppigårds would come back with their Amarillo Spring this year, one of the best American Pale Ales ever.
11:03 March 25, 2011 by Åskar
@BeerSwedenDarren "Lager (German: storage) is a type of beer that is ... stored at low temperatures"

Sorry, but that is exactly what the typical Czech beer isn't. What happens when you store it for a while at low temperature is that a chemical compound (the name of which escapes me at the moment) that gives the beer a "fudgey" (smörkola in Swedish) taste disappears. The Czechs, however, like this taste so they drink their beer without putting it aside for a while first.
15:24 March 25, 2011 by Borilla
To quote Monty Python - Why are Swedish beer and American beer and making love in a canoe alike? They are f*&%#$@ close to water.
16:45 March 25, 2011 by HYBRED
Always argueing over beer. Just shut up and drink!
09:44 March 26, 2011 by cornpone
Pilsner is named after the Czech city of Pilsen.

The microbrew trend and high gravity beers has continued to grow in the states and drawfs anything going on in Sweden or Scandinavia.

Also the growth of wineries in the USA is astounding. 15 years ago the choices of American wines were very limited now high quality wines like pinot noir are everywhere.

I have always wondered why Swedes don't produce any real mead. They do in Poland, Russia, Ukraine, etc... Why not here. A good honey wine would be just right for Sweden after all it was Odin's drink and gave him wisdom.
13:33 March 26, 2011 by mojofat
The swedish beer scene is the best around? I doubt that...but I expect there has to be something better than the swill I've had thus far. The problem is trying to find anything in System Bolaget. I don't want to have to order something and wait for weeks...just stock it.

BTW, there are american microbrews that are in leagues of their own. If you all know of american beer is budweiser, miller, etc., then you don't know much about beer.
14:01 March 26, 2011 by Rick Methven
@mojofat

Are you old enough to drink?
23:43 March 28, 2011 by Sarzparella
fun campaign that carlsberg just launched .. http://unbottleyourself.com/
Today's headlines
Dad jailed for assaulting his infant twin sons
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Dad jailed for assaulting his infant twin sons

A man in central Sweden was sentenced to prison for aggravated assault on Friday after doctors noticed that both his twin sons had sustained serious and unexplained injuries. READ  

Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Clocking in. File photo: Shutterstock

Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial

Officials finalized plans on Friday for the "Gothenburg guinea pigs" who will test out the six-hour workday, a move it's hoped will cut down on sick leave, boost efficiency, and ultimately save Sweden money. READ  

Armed royal guards caught drunk on the job
Photo: Gunnar Lundmark/TT

Armed royal guards caught drunk on the job

Three Swedish soldiers risk prison after they were found to be drunk while guarding Stockholm's Royal Palace. The men, who were all armed at the time, were charged on Friday. READ  

Stockholm
What do the Swedes do when summer's over?
Photo: Isabela Vrba

What do the Swedes do when summer's over?

The heatwave is well and truly over, the days are getting shorter, and winter is coming. With this in mind, The Local's Isabela Vrba chatted to ten Stockholmers about how they plan to tackle the autumn. READ  

Swedes spend fortune on nail polish trend
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Swedes spend fortune on nail polish trend

Swedes are spending more than ever on makeup - and a growing chunk is going directly to their fingernails, new figures showed on Friday. READ  

Sweden mulls stripping paracetamol from shops
The pharmacy section of a grocery store. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden mulls stripping paracetamol from shops

After a drastic increase in the number of paracetamol poisonings in Sweden, authorities have said the drug should only be available in pharmacies. READ  

Listeria fears prompt meat recall in Sweden
File photo: Andreas Hagerman/Flickr

Listeria fears prompt meat recall in Sweden

After finding traces of listeria in ham sold in Sweden, food companies decided on Friday to recall several Danish cold cuts. READ  

Sweden Floods
More rain expected as floods hit day four
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

More rain expected as floods hit day four

UPDATED: Sweden's floods showed no signs of abating over Thursday night, with highways closed, emergency teams working overtime, and more rain on the way. READ  

Ikea opens first store in the Balkans
An Ikea city centre store in Hamburg. Photo: TT

Ikea opens first store in the Balkans

Swedish furniture giant Ikea has opened its first store in the former Yugoslavia, near Croatia's capital Zagreb. The move marks the company's first step in an expansion to the Balkans market. READ  

Elections 2014
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'

With national elections around the corner, political scientist Stig-Björn Ljunggren says there's a hive of activity behind the scenes, and that the right-wing nationalist party could end up being the key player. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Politics
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Society
Swedes celebrate first day of smelly fish season
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching August 20th
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Blog updates

17 August

Sea Fever (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I’m going to keep this post short and sweet as its not something I take any pleasure in writing. After much deliberation I have made the heartbreaking decision to abandon my trip after 1200km due to reoccurring injury. It is not a decision I have made lightly and it is one that has been truly devastating..." READ »

 

17 August

St. Louis strong (Blogweiser) »

"It’s typically a bad sign when my hometown makes news in Sweden. St. Louis was in the headlines here a few years ago when a tornado struck the airport. The city also caught attention after a politician talked about ‘legitimate rape’. Now, shooting and riots this week in Ferguson, a part of St. Louis, are..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
"Iraq reminds me of the Yugoslav wars. It's the same story."
Society
Swedes slam Danes for 'racist' art
National
Majority of Swedes favour more or just as many refugees
Society
Lock your bathrooms: Swedish toilet invader on the the loose
Politics
'Assange will not leave until safe'
Gallery
See more images from the southern Sweden floods
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Society
Serial chicken smuggler caught at Norway border. Again.
Society
This gold coin may be the key to solving a Swedish massacre
Shutterstock
Lifestyle
The Swedish mentor (and why you may need one)
Politics
Reinfeldt calls for tolerance to refugees
Gallery
People-watching August 16-17
National
Sweden celebrates 200 years of peace
Society
Top ten literal Swedish words
Politics
'Terror training should be illegal': Liberal Party
Gallery
Swedes talk about 200 years of national peace
Politics
Islamic extremist shakes Sweden with TV threat
National
Teacher fined for 'Hitler salute' in German class
Features
Kiruna residents talk life in a town on the move
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

706
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se