Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thirsty Pilgrim Roundup: Danish-American Elite Edition.

Question for those who have been to both the Great American Beer Festival in Denver and the Kerstbierfestival in Essen, Belgium: To which would you rather go?

GABF starts today. Long lines for beers and hundreds of people with whom I'd love to chat. Sounds like a lot of work to me. Thirsty, thirsty work.

Hey: It’s nearly time for you to take that long-dreamt-of trip to Denmark. By “nearly” I mean that your trip is approximately eight months away. May 11 and 12, 2012, to be exact. That’s when itinerant international-but-Danish brewer Mikkeller is organizing the first Copenhagen Beer Celebration. Says Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, "Our intention is to make a small, cozy festival where the main priority is quality." Laudable, I say even if it's tough to agree on what is quality. Interestingly (or not), the brewers lined up so far are mostly American. They include Jolly Pumpkin, Cigar City, Struise and Brewdog, among others. The announcement refers to them as the “absolute elite of the international beer scene” (again, according to whom? Ratebeer?). Anyway, “Mikkeller and Friends” would be a sitcom at least as interesting as that Dogfish Head show.

What we missed last weekend, along with the Beer Nut: The All-Ireland Craft Beerfest. (Is it weird that I'd rather be there than in Denver?) Among the participants: Eight Degrees, which I mention mainly because it will also be at that Mikkeller fest I just mentioned. An Irish craft brewery, run by an Aussie and a Kiwi. They appear to be pretty much brand new. Any reports?

Just south of DC, the old Shenandoah Brewing Co. -- where anyone could come and brew their own -- is gone (we made a couple of batches there ourselves there back in the day). Now the space will house a local edition of the Philadelphia-based Farmers Cabinet. Upscale comfort food and house-made beers. Brewmaster Terry Hawbakers says he’s into farmhouse styles, and that article mentions a funky, 3.8% abv grisette. “I think we want to focus on session beers,” he says. Promising.

From the Baltimore Sun, a visit to the Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia, Md. Apparently the monthly beer tasting dinners there catching on (as they are in spots all over the country these days) and the chow is serious. Something to put on your Baltimore-Washington area to-do list. Let’s overlook the fact that the Sun writer referred to Lagunitas as “boutique” beer. That’s the sort of perfumey word that will send everyone running happily back to “craft.”

In Hoboken, N.J., a beer lover raves about the Gemütlichkeit at the new Pilsner Haus beer hall. Twenty-one taps with strength in Continental European beers and grub. Large mugs of lager. Everybody happy.


  1. Yeah, here's a report: re-read the list of brewers at the Copenhagen gig.

    Some day Irish breweries will be among the rate-bait élite. Not today, though, nor in May 2012.

  2. Oops, wrong 8. Cheers, Nut. Working too fast today. Correcting.

  3. Taking a screenshot, just so I can remind myself what it must be like living in a world-class brewing nation.

  4. Absolute elite, I tell you. Absolute elite.

  5. Further clarification: The "8" that will be at Copenhagen is 8 Wired. From New Zealand. So I accidentally had the Kiwi part right.

    What is it with Kiwis and the number 8?

  6. I like to limit my drinking to the beers of the "absolute elite of the international beer scene" because that is how I like to think of myself. Not amongst the elite. Amongst the absolute elite. We of the absolute elite spit upon the mob that is the mere elite.

  7. Absolut Elite is a barrel-aged vodka with brett and cherries.