Saturday, January 20, 2007


A Taste of the Midnight Sun

A taste of the Midnight Sun on a winter's night in Stockholm? Well, normally you would think that requires stronger substances than just a beer. Not so if you find your way to the Akkurat Belgo Bar in trendy Södermalm, a stone's throw from Slussen.

It might very well be the best beer café in the world, at the very least the best Belgian beer café. I know it is quite a claim, but have I have yet to see such a well-chosen mix of current and vintage beers, even in Belgium itself. Among the goodies I spotted a geuze from the Eylenbosch brewery, which closed down in 2001. At Kulminator, though still on the menu, its stock has been depleted by American beer tourists years ago. They do not do 2000+ beers at Akkurat, but what they have is great. Of course, this being Scandinavia, you will have to fork out for greatness.

They seem to be especially fond of the lambik family at Akkurat. So it may not come as a surprise that one their specialities, not available anywhere else, is made in cooperation with the Cantillon brewery in Brussels. Freshly picked cloudberries from Norrland, the northern region of Sweden, are shipped to Brussels, steeped in two year old lambik before stored in oak barrels for four months. The end result is bottled as "Soleil de Minuit" - the Midnight Sun- before being shipped back to Akkurat.

The pinkish orange colour and that fine, lingering head makes it look very appetizing, though you would not believe it from my picture. Cheese and farmyard aromas dominate, putting the sharp acidity somewhat in the background. Flavours are more fruity with the lemony lambik character in the lead, though cheese is always there. The mellow character of the cloudberries are only very faint, but what can you expect from an aged bottle of fruit lambik?

As it happened they did not have any cold bottles available in the bar itself at the time of my visit, but the friendly and knowledgable bartender offered to get a bottle from their cellar. Enjoying a 1999 bottle of "Soleil de Minuit", that Monday night in wintery Stockholm seemed quite bright indeed.

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