Guru's guide: The best beers in Sweden right now

The Local
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With so many unconventional Swedish and imported beers currently filling the shelves at your local Systembolaget it’s sometimes difficult to know what bottles to buy and try. Darren Packman, one of Sweden’s leading beer experts, give his tips on what you should (and should not) be pouring into your beer glass.


Given that only one place in Sweden is allowed to sell you these brews, we've also included their Systembolaget article numbers. And now, without further ado, the brewers and their beers...

Sigtuna - Vårweizen: A good example of how brewers are ‘bending’ the beer rules these days, taking a German wheat beer and throwing in some American hops. Typical wheat beer aromas of banana and band-aid and a nip of bitterness on the finish. Pleasant if a little ‘out of season’.

Systembolaget article number:11552

Oppigårds - Amarillo Spring: An outstanding take on an American Pale Ale. I don’t think I’ve ever smelt such an uplifting green hoppy nose on a Swedish beer. If proof was needed that Swedish beers are catching up with our friends over the Atlantic this beer is it. Go home, throw all the food out of your fridge and fill it with this beer. Seriously, it’s that good.

Systembolaget article number: 1440

Sierra Nevada - Harvest 2009: Produced every year by one of the most environmentally-friendly breweries on the planet, Harvest is made using local ‘wet’ hops thrown into the brewing kettle less than 24 hours from being picked. The result is a grassy, piney, herbal tasting beer with a deliciously long bitter aftertaste.

Systembolaget article number: 11714

Spendrups Bryggeri - Pistonhead Hot Roddin’ Lager: Spendrups made the beer world stand up recently when it announced the launch of this US-inspired lager. Unfortunately everyone quickly sat back down again when they realised it didn’t really taste very different from most of their other beers. Edgy branding on the outside of the bottle but little of interest on the inside.

Systembolaget article number: 1432

Nynäshamns Ångbryggeri - Sotholmen Extra Stout:

A big beer in a little bottle. Imagine Guinness on steroids and you’re getting close. At 7% ABV this powerful stout is a chocolate drink for grown-ups. Packed with coffee, brown bread and nutty tones it is not as overwhelming as other strong stouts out there so if you’re new to the style this might be a good place to start.

Systembolaget article number 11723

Dugges Ale & Porterbryggeri - 1/2 idjit Imperial Porter: The adage ‘buyer beware’ nearly always applies to beers with the word ‘Imperial’ in their name. Imperial style beers are invariably extreme, both in terms of flavour and alcohol strength. At 7% ABV 1/2 idjit doesn’t disappoint, with a huge hit of bitter chocolate, liquorice and cold coffee rounded off with a dry, cigar ash finish.

Systembolaget article number 11729 (but hurry as it is only available until the end of April while stocks last).

Darren Packman is founder of


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