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Tuesday, 24 May 2011

European Beer #2 - Focus: Sweden

I learnt two things about Sweden at the weekend. 1: Their government appears to have taken inspiration for their alcohol policy from George Orwell's 1984.  2: this hasn't deterred them in the slightest.  Despite strict controls over what beers can be imported, and a relatively recent lifting on the ban of production of strong beers, Sweden has as many beer bloggers as any other country in continental Europe.

It was also the county with the strongest representation (UK excluded) at the European Beer Bloggers Conference.  Below: 2 Swedish brewers with their wares

Top Swedish pick of the night is a close call between the Sigtuna Summer IPA - a really bold IPA at 7%, with overriding Grapefruit notes - proud and punchy, just how I like them....

...and Oppigards' Amarillo (named after the hops).  This beer was both sweet and mellow, but still fresh tasting, with great drinkability.
The theory goes (courtesy of Darren Packman) that the explosion in diversity from some of the continental countries is down to the blank canvas they had to work with.  In countries dominated by a particular style or tradition it can be harder to make an impression with craft beer.  Whereas Sweden almost had a vaccum effect, such that breweries just materialised out of the ether to fill a void.  This has allowed them to be experimental and push the boundaries, because there are no preconceived ideas to battle against.  Certainly if you are ever in Sweden, I would recommend you to check out the beer aisle of the bottle shops, as there are many more treats in store. 

Thanks to all who made the tasting on Saturday possible.


  1. Hello,
    Could you tell me where you had these Swedish Beers? In the US?

  2. Hi ShopSwedish

    Unfortunately for you, I tried these beers at the European Beer Bloggers conference in May. They were brought over by the brewers specially for the event. It was a spectacular of beers I've not seen before or since, and they're possibly quite hard to track down. If you follow the link against "Darren Packman" he may be able to help you more than me. Sorry I can't be more help.