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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Swedish Beer.

Continuing the friends and family theme for July with one of  two beers brought over from Sweden by my friend Karin.

Karin acquired these beers while she was in Stockholm to run the Stockholm marathon (this was her 8th marathon, I think?). She is a close friend who has the annoying ability to both out-write  (her blog, which she recently retired, had a large following and was picked up by Boston.com more than once. Even her emails are exceptionally well written) and out run me. (Except for that one time during the Harpoon 5 Miler when she didn't see me coming down the final stretch and I was able to run by her in the chute for a 1 second moral victory. Sure, I probably broke several rules of running etiquette, but a win is a win, right?) Since I moved to the burbs a few years ago, I've really missed our evening runs through Southie, which were usually followed up by great conversations over dinner and drinks.

Oppigards Golden Ale
Oppigards Brewing,  Sweden
5.2%ABV

Reviewing a beer brewed in Sweden, when the brewers web site is in Swedish and you don't happen to speak Swedish, or know anyone who speaks Swedish, is a bit of a challenge, I will admit. After much digging, I found a great web site called Great Brewers, who had this information about Oppigards:

(The following quoted info is copied directly from Great Brewers.com)

"Oppigårds Brewery sits on the 250-year-old Falkeström family farm, in a tiny wooden building. Constructed in 1696, the space was once used for flax-dressing, and great-grandfather Falkeström also housed a farm smithy there. Today, while the farm is no longer operational, the building is still put to good use. Now, Bjorn Falkeström uses it for brewing. With the addition of a malt crushing room out back, all Oppigårds beers are brewed in the old place. The brewery allows the Falkeströms to make their livelihood on the farm, as they have since the mid-1700s.

Bjorn Falkeström founded Oppigårds in order to revive not only the family farm, but also traditional Swedish farmhouse ales, which were the norm in the 1800s until a wave of generic, modernized, breweries took over. With their efficient labor practices, refrigeration, and yeast cultures, the large breweries made farmhouse brewing unprofitable, and it all but died completely.

Today, Oppigårds Bryggeri uses recipes from these small farm breweries. This doesn't mean Bjorn is against advances that help craft a good beer. His brewery is based on modern technology and quality, combined with old recipes and traditions. He brews a variety of deep, colorful ales and is excited to be an independent Swedish craft brewer."

This beer pours a bright golden, clear, with lots of bubbles and a thick, airy, white head that never recedes. Great head retention on this brew.

Smell is almost non-existent- Some faint yeasty esters is all you get.

Mouthfeel is soft, light and smooth.

Taste is mild- some hoppy bitterness nicely balanced out with malt, with a dry finish that lingers a bit bitter. If I've translated the brewers web site correctly, they used Golding and Cascade hops and Carapils and light caramel malt.

I'm going to assume this a craft beer by Swedish and American standards. Anything being brewed in a 250 year old wooded farmhouse couldn't be anything but craft, right? I enjoyed this beer.

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