BeerCast #28 – Swedish Special

Posted by on Mar 16, 2009 in BeerCasts, Swedish Beer | No Comments

At heart, we’re a British beer website that tries to get through as much local real ale as we can. Of course, when we get the opportunity to stretch our collective legs we’re away like a shot. Over the recent New Year period, a small band of BeerCasters took an hour long flight over to Stockholm to see how the Scandinavians do beer. As it turns out, they do it quite well, although somewhat expensively. While there, we recorded an impromptu podcast – so after a trip to the state run Systembolaget on Klarabergsgaten we ended up with four homegrown Swedish real ales. On the testing table were Oppigårds Golden Ale (5.2%) from the brewery of the same name in Hedemora, Nils Oscar’s India Ale (5.3%), Åbro Sigill III (5.2%) from AB Åbro in Vimmerby, and Carnegie Porter 2008 (5.5%) from, erm, Carlsberg. The lucky foursome on site were Richard, Shovels, Andy and Jess.

1. Oppigårds Golden Ale (5.2%abv)
Oppigårds Bryggeri AB, Ingvallsbenning, Hedemora.
330ml glass bottle

Oppigårds brew in the small city of Hedemora in central Sweden. The Golden Ale we got hold of was the first beer they produced in the range, which includes stouts, IPA’s and winter ales. This particular one – not exactly suited for a -14°C January evening – contains Target hops for bitterness, with Goldings and Cascade hops for aroma. Or at least, that’s what I think the Swedish paragraph below says. One minor point – Oppigårds Golden Ale is the 100th beer sampled on the BeerCast…

What They Say“Oppigårds Golden Ale är ett utmärkt puböl men har också blivit en populär matöl. Golden Ale karktäriseras av en ren maltsmak och medelstor kropp med medelstor beska och utpräglad humlearom från Goldings och Cascade. Denna öl säljs i Systembolagets ordinarie sortiment.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Richard – Different to British golden ales, although it’s light
Shovels – I like the hoppiness, it doesn’t taste as strong as 5.2% 8
Jess – Smells very nice, this is definately my kind of thing 7
Andy – Looks light but tastes strong, I’m not really sure what to make of it 5

2. Nils Oscar India Ale (5.3%abv)
Nils Oscar Company AB, Nyköping, Södermanland.
330ml glass bottle

Nils Oscar were founded in 1996 and named after a distant relative Nils Oscar Sunderberg, who was born in 1865 and has his picture proudly displayed on each bottle. They put out a huge and varied range of different beers, such as IPA’s, dark porters, barley wines and a festive Kalasjulöl. Back in mid-2008 Lagerboy discovered their God Lager and was rather taken with it. Will our panel similarly enjoy their India Ale?

What They Say“Förutom att efterfrågan varit stor och alla lovord från våra högt värderade ölkonsumenter så har Nils Oscar India Ale även erhållit en rad utmärkelser. India Ale passar utmärkt till alla typer av mat men kan givetvis även drickas enbart för njutningens skull!” [Official Website]

What We Say
Shovels – Darker and with more body, it’s just as good 8
Andy – More body and flavour with a nice aromatic smell 7
Richard – The strength overwhelms other aspects of the beer
Jess – I find it a bit heavy on my palate but I don’t hate it 6

3. Åbro Sigill III (5.2%abv)
AB Åbro Bryggeri, Vimmerby, Småland.
330ml glass bottle

Founded in 1861 by Per Luthander in Småland, Åbro Sigill produce beer, water, cider and soft drinks. They are currently managed by the fourth generation of the Dunge family – under whose leadership the brewery increased market share from 1% in 1988 to 10% today. Their website lists the sixteen different brews they currently produce, most of them light and hoppy European beers. Sigill translates as ‘Seal’ – which explains the old-style wax seal picture on the label, if not exactly why it is there.

What They Say“Åbro Sigill is a flavourful, quality beer where we have made a thorough selection of raw materials in order to create a well balanced lager. We have taken into consideration the quality and taste experience in the beer, which is balanced in sweetness and bitterness.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Richard – Not much at first, then a bland lagerish aftertaste 5
Andy – I don’t smell or taste much apart from an odd aftertaste 4
Jess – Awful smell and it tastes strangely of cheap wine 3
Shovels – It smells of stale sick and is really awful 3

4. Carnegie Starkporter 2008 (5.5%abv)
Carlsberg Sverige AB.
500ml glass bottle

Carnegie Baltic Porter was first produced in 1836 by the Pripps brewery of Gothenberg, and was a stronger Scandinavian take on the British porters that made it over the choppy seas. Baltic Porters are ‘deep, dense, thoughtful beers’ according to this article in All About Beer magazine, as they are a hybrid of different styles of dark beer. The one located by our panel is now brewed by the Danish giants Carlsberg, as they bought out Pripps but continue to brew their beers using the trademark.

What They Say“Carnegie Starkporter är Sveriges äldsta ännu använda varumärke. Smakrik, fruktig och med en tydligt rostad ton och stor beska. Inslag av karamelliserat socker, kaffe och choklad. Carnegie Starkporter kan lagras upp till 10 år. När den lagras mjuknar smaken och aromenens komplexitet ökar.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Jess – I really like the almost earthy taste, it’s fantastic 9
Shovels – Sweeter than most porters, it’s a dark winter taste
Andy – Smoother than UK porters as there’s no burnt caramel 8
Richard – Almost tastes like a lagered-down porter, but it’s nice 7

BeerCast panel verdict
Carnegie Starkporter 2008 (32½/40)
Oppigårds Golden Ale (28½/40)
Nils Oscar India Ale (27½/40)
Åbro Sigill III (15/40)

Panellists – (from top left) Andy, Jess, Richard, Shovels

Please bear with us for this episode – it was recorded on an iPhone and is rather scratchy quality-wise. We’ll be back in a couple of weeks with our second BeerCast Beer of the Year Show for 2008 – as our London panel get to grips with last year’s final foursome. Stay tuned for details…and please leave us comments on the blog or iTunes, or emails. Cheers!

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