This is a beery one. Recently , as suggested in my last post, I found myself in Sweden. Jämtland in winter. When could conditions be better to try a few local brews. Don't even need a fridge. Just stand them outside for a bit and then bring them in to warm up a little.
I've posted previously about some of the beers from Jämtlandsbryggeri but fairly recently a few smaller enterprises have sprung up in the area producing brews in smaller quantities. One such establishment is Östersunds Nya Ångbryggeri (ÖNÅ) which translates as Ostersund's New Steam Brewery.
For a few years Jesper Jemtehed and Love Brande have been brewing small volume beers in a 500 litre set up under the imaginative brand name of Jemtehed & Brande. I recall having one of their brews, Östersund City Lager, a year or so ago, but honestly can't remember much about it. They have since bought a 2000 litre plant and have moved into a former slate works near Brunflo, about ten miles south east of the city of Östersund itself. The brewery has a tap room which opens occasionally to allow for the sampling of their wares, but as of yet I haven't visited. The pair aim to produce traditional styles under the ÖNÅ brand and be a bit more experimental with Jemtehed & Brande.
The ÖNÅ range does sometimes include some more traditional British-style brews, but my visit to the local Systembolaget (the state-controlled booze monopoly) failed to produce any. I did however manage to pick up four brews of a more continental nature and have since sampled them.
It wasn't a deliberate decision, but I happened to try them in decreasing intensity of colour. The first was their Vinterlager. I doubt if you'll need much assistance with the translation.
A Bayern Dunkel-inspired brew, at 5.6% it poured clear but showed little condition. That seems to be a common feature with most Swedish beers that I've tried. Sweet, malty with a hint of rye bread. I eat a lot of rye bread. I can't say that I picked out any Seville oranges that other tasters have suggested I put it down to my palate - perhaps the product of too much rye bread. Or IPA. I consume a lot of IPA too.
In case you were unaware, the word ale originates from the Proto-Germanic aluth- which is also the source of the Old Saxon alo and the Old Norse öl. The Old Norse word hasn't changed much as the Swedish word for beer is still öl. It hasn't altered much in other parts of Scandinavia either. Both the Danish and Norwegian equivalents are øl whilst the Finnish is olutuuiiiiiuuiuiuiuiiii. OK, I lie. It's not. It just seems to me that all Finnish words are full of multiple vowels, especially i's and u's. It's actually the similar olut. Which brings me to the second brew, ÖNÅ's Bayerskt Öl. You probably won't need much help with that translation either.
Certainly a hint of redness about it, this 5.2% brew was definitely malty. Apparently mainly Pilsner and Viennese malts. Sweet, slightly honeyed even, but I still didn't get any Seville oranges. A pleasant, drinkable beer, if nothing to rave about.
If you need any assistance with translating the name of brew number three then I doubt that you've managed to get this far.
The 5.0% Modern Lager is, well, a modern take on a Helles Märzen lager. And a refreshing take it was. Hops. Hops on the nose and a slight hoppy bitterness too. I liked it. I liked it a lot, but I still didn't get any oranges. It was my favourite of the four.
If the Modern Lager was my favourite of the four offerings, then the fourth, a Klassisk Pilsner (You don't need any help with this one either, do you?), was the most disappointing. A 4.5 % Czech-style Pilsner it didn't offer much at all. I was expecting a nice wall of hoppiness to assault my nose, but there was no real sign of any of the expected Saaz. No great hints of the promised toast, straw or honey. And certainly no oranges. No great hints of anything. All in all, I found it disappointingly almost tasteless.
To sum up then. All four beers poured clear and bright. Whether they are bottle conditioned - probably not judging by their lack of it - or simply unfiltered I'm unsure. There was a yeasty deposit in all bottles which stayed pretty much put on pouring. The Vinterlager and Bayerskt Öl were pleasantly drinkable and the Modern Lager was great. I wouldn't go far out of my way to get another Klassisk Pilsner though. I will, however, be on the lookout for some of Jemtehed & Brande's IPA varieties and more experimental brews on my next trip to Systembolaget.
STOP PRESS! STOP PRESS! STOP PRESS! STOP PRESS! STOP PRESS! STOP PRESS!
Towards the end of my Jämtland jaunt a bottle of Jemtehed & Brande's The Great Adventures of Mofaza presented itself to me. Sometime soon I will present to you my views of this American-style pale ale. You have been warned.
If you've read this far then thank you. If you've read this far hoping for a bygone boozer, then I'm sorry. There'll be one next post, I promise. It's already in preparation. If you haven't done so already, you can subscribe to ensure that you don't miss it or any future posts. Simply click here to return to the home page (opens in a new tab), follow the 'Subscribe' link and complete the form to receive an email notification of any future post. Or you could just follow the link at the top of this page.