Yep, you heard right, Danish beer. It’s the next big thing, or at least, if it isn’t now, it probably will be soon. “The new Belgium” is what a lot of people are calling Denmark.
I’ve just returned from the European Beer Festival in Copenhagen, and while it was a spectacular international fest in its own right, it was the Danish component that got my attention. This is a country of a mere 5 million souls with over one hundred and, by some estimates, up to 130 breweries! To put that in perspective, the U.S would need about 6,000 more breweries just to equal Denmark in the number per capita.
And what these brewers are doing is nothing to scoff at, either. Solid brewed-to-style efforts in everything from pilsners to American-style pale ales often sit tap-to-tap with “out there” interpretations of all manner, from smoked Imperial porters to low alcohol “table beers” to double IPAs and the two most expensive beers in the world – Vintage 1 by the Jacobsen Brewery at Carlsberg and the new Egvedpigens Bryg from the Søgaards Bryghus, each of which retail for about $400 a bottle!
(I might add, too, that neither are gimmick beers with gold leaf or hand-blown glass decanters or other such silliness. They are each solid, extremely complex and fascinating brews, which depending on your state of finance, may or may not be worth the price.)
I’m still sorting through the copious notes I took during my two days at the fest, but if you want to get some idea for yourself as to its shape and scope, check out the 330 page (!) program here.