Sunday, May 28, 2006

 

Danish Micros: Small IS Beautiful

Size matters after all. The biggest beers come from the smallest breweries. That is the first article of confession for any craft beer enthusiast.

It is a message that seems to have stuck in little Denmark. The Mikkeller Brewery states on its labels that "as Denmarks smallest microbrewery" they have been a well-kept secret in the beer world. Meanwhile, also Holbæk Brewery markets itself as Denmarks smallest microbrewery. Braunstein, being slightly more modest, just promises a big beer from a small brewery. And the list goes on.

And small they are, indeed. The Bøgedal Brewery has an output of 20000 big bottles or 150 hecto litres per year. Artisanal Cantillon in Brussels makes 900 hecto litres in comparison.

With small volumes the microbreweries can pay special attention to the raw materials going into their brews. The picture is from the Raasted Brewery stand at the Københavnske Øldage 2006. The brewery is an impressive little business run by a 24 year-old law student, already with a professional web site, yet with parents giving a helping hand at the stand. I tasted their Trippel Special Edition, made with "Westmalle yeast"- a beer that would make any Belgian brewer proud.

Still, the biggest the difference between the big and the small may not so much be just the raw materials- if anything those are more the consequences. What distinguishes the small (at least outside Germany) is a willingness to experiment. Experimenting is inherently small scale and requires a lot of enthusiasm. It is just that sort of enthusiasm that easily gets drowned in a sea of bland mass-produced lager.

Comments:
Hi there,

A while back I started brewing my own traditional english ale, I have really started getting into it and now actually sell beer to friends and family. I wanted to add that extra touch to my beer so I designed my own beer labels and had them printed by a british labels company who did a excellent job. It has made my beer bottles look really great!
 
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