Two years ago I had honestly given up on many of the new Swedish made beer hitting the market. Not naming names, but many were faulty, either infected or with pronounced off-flavors from diacetyl, sulfites and so on. In English that’s butterscotch and burnt rubber.
« We want to do more collaborations, more barrel-aging… »
A year later things started changing. Malmö Brygghus got their act together. The beer scene in Gothenburg got back on track with Dugges on their feet again. Trailing were two newcomers, All in Brewing and Beerbliotek. In late August I had my first Beerbliotek, Black Ale Chilli, and was surprised by the balance and subtle yet increasing chili burn. It was not infected, it was actually great.
Old homebrewing mates Adam Norman and Richard Bull were running a café and through it, they became friends with Darryl de Necker and Anders Hedlund. They teamed up, bought a 1000 liter BrewFab system from Scotland and so Beerbliotek was born. This is less than a year ago. Since then they’ve brewed a staggering 44 beers, that’s 44 different beers. That’s IPA, pale ale, stout, porter, saison, barleywine, lagers, wheat ale, wheat wine…
« …thinking that’s fucking cool I own a brewery… »
Beerbliotek’s philosophy is one-offs. Brew a beer and get on with the next one. It’s a frightening and impossible concept if you expect to have one of their beers more than once. It’s a refreshing and addictive idea if you like their beer and get tuned into the concept. “With our beers flying off the shelf there’s no way of knowing if we have it in stock once someone decides to order it. Our Imperial Mocha Stout sold out in less than a week”, Adam confidently adds. And rightfully so, last month renowned beer temple Mikkeller Bar in Copenhagen saw a 22 keg shipment of Beerbliotek coming their way.
It’s all hard work though. Between the four of them, they perform all duties themselves. Brewing, bottling, kegging, cleaning, delivering, designing and selling adds up to 100 hours per week. Going to work Saturday morning, flicking on the light, thinking that’s fucking cool I own a brewery, makes it worth the effort though”, Adam proudly reflects.
The name Beerbliotek is wordplay on Beer and Bibliotek (Swedish for library). The analogy of the name is closely connected to the brewery’s experimental philosophy. “A library is a source of knowledge, you take out a book, read it and learn. The same goes for Beerbliotek, but with beer. We’ve learnt heaps from constantly brewing new beers.” Darryl company marketer/designer says.
« …We’ve learnt heaps from constantly brewing new beers… »
Oh, I almost forgot the beer we had this evening. First out was Saison Peach, a modern hoppy farmhouse ale. The peach had faded a tad, but it was a tasty and dry interpretation of the style. Really wondering what their Saison Sockerbruket at 3.5 ABV is like. Our second sample was Wheat IPA. Not exactly on par with Malmöbrygghus Canned Wheat. A great beer though, I only wish I’d had it fresher.
Halfway through we stumble upon Smoked Porter, a viscous black ale packed with delicious chocolate, soy sauce and vanilla notes. My favorite no doubt. Damn what a smooth sipper. Number four was an old acquaintance of mine, Black Ale Chili. Fermented with Thai chilis this old friend proved equally delicious this time around. The chilis imparting a delayed and slow chili burn. Last and the most was a Triple IPA brewed together with veterans Dugges. A heavy and sweet but not cloying malt base at 12 ABV meets lovely funk and strawberry hops. No way this tastes like the 12%.
With 2013 being a startup year and already 44 individual beers under the belt there’s going to be an even more productive year as the brewery shifts gear, going from professional hobby to full-time. “We want to do more collaborations, more barrel-aging and use other yeast strains than we have so far”, Adam foretells. Man am I anticipating this beer year. Beerbliotek is good, Beerbliotek is great. Their playfulness and meticulous scrubbing is resulting in some of the best national brews available. 2014 is looking very tasty indeed.