I first encountered Hell back in 2004. We'd been on a cycle tour in Jämtland with our folding bikes and had arrived at Sandviken, on the shore of Storsjön, for our penultimate night, before heading back into Östersund and our flight home.
The bar offered all the usual fare but the barmaid suggested that I might like to try Hell, with it being a bit darker and more like an English beer. It was neither! It was nice though and I certainly had more than just the one.
Jämtlands Bryggeri was established in 1995 when the brewing equipment from a microbrewery in Gothenburg was moved up to the small town of Pilgrimstad in Jämtland. Its first brew, President - a light lager, appeared the following year and is still in production today. 1996 also saw the arrival of English brewer David Jones and his offspring, Hell. Back in the day it would have been considered pretty well-hopped and it sold very successfully.
Following on from the success of Hell came Heaven, a dark lager/Schwarzbier – very dry with roasted malts and Fallen Angel, a premium bitter. The sales of Hell began to fall and its production ceased a few years ago, along with that of Fallen Angel. Heaven, however, still makes the occasional appearance. (I love the fact that Hell is light whilst Heaven is dark!) All of the brewery's bottled offerings are unpasteurised and generally have very little condition, which suits me fine. I'm not a fan of fizzy beer.
Meanwhile, at some point, David Jones returned to the UK and was with Redwell Brewery in my home county of Norfolk for a while before the allure of Jämtland saw him make a return and with it a return of Hell. Not the same Hell, but a modern successor – or two.
Åre, the venue for the 2019 Alpine Ski World Championships, is Jämtland's premier ski resort and it gives its name to one of Hell's two successors and appeared on the scene in late 2018.
Åre is reminiscent of Hell (especially in high season!) but, with with its Cascade and Amarillo hops, it certainly seems to have been brought up to date. The suggestions of crispbread I can't find, but the citrus... yes.
David Jones' thoughts regarding Hell's successor? He reckons it's the brewery's Dry Hop Helles. I can't comment as I've yet to track some down. Still looking though.