Sunday, August 20, 2017

Ölbeat 296: Ruosniemen Lomittaja (4,7 %)

Brewery: Ruosniemen Panimo
Country: Finland
Style: Saison
Abv: 4,7 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is hazy straw yellow with an overwhelming white head. Aroma has sour apples, yeast and sweet wheat malts. Taste begins with yeasty citrusy sour bite. Fruity biting sourness and yeasty funk take over with wheaty and spicy side flavours. Towards the end sweet fruits get in front with sour lemon and spicy yeast. Aftertaste has salty lemon sourness and malty dryness.

Mild but tasty Saison. Everything's where it should be: sour and yeasty aroma followed by sour, funky, wheaty and spicy taste. Great summer brew from the local brewery.

Ölbeat

"Hip hip." The name of the beer, Lomittaja, means stand-in and is in Finland used especially from a person to takes care of the farm when the farmer is sick or on holiday. So, we're imagining the farmer to a distant sunny island when his stand-in is working and sweating on the countryside.

Weezer: Island in the Sun (YouTube)

From the 2001 album Weezer, the song was written by Rivers Cuomo.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Ölmönger Special: Pub Winstonin Pienpanimo-olutjuhla, Pori, 11-12 August 2017

Suddenly the weekend in the middle of August was here again. The point of ending summer when the beer gods have decided to organize two beer festivals in Finland at the same time.

The funny thing is, that both of these festivals - Pub Winstonin pienpanimo-olutjuhla (Winston Fest) ja Kymijoki Beer Festival (KBF) - are organized in two remaining colonies of countries that don't exist anymore. KBF is held in Kouvola which is a colony city of the Soviet Union - or SSSR, Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik, which I prefer. Winston Fest takes place in Pori that still mentally belongs to East Germany - or DDR, Deutsches Demokratische Republik, which I prefer.

This year in KBF they decided to take the festival feeling very near the perestroika, since they cut down the electricity and shut down the festival at around 8 p.m. on the second day. I chose Winston Fest, since I knew that things like electricity, clean water, food and personal hygiene could be hard to find under the Soviet rule. To be honest, probably the arriving thunder storm had something to do with the sudden closing of KBF but it's fun to play with the idea that there could be cities worse than Pori.

Actually, Winston Fest was my choice because of all the hip things DDR was associated with, whose spirit you can still sense in Pori, Finland. Like true freedom showcased by people transported to the other side of the city inside Beetle, Trabant and Wartburg engine compartments and clean sports showcased by female runners with baritone voice and chin moustaches and male discus throwers with four boobs and two dicks. If you miss the 80's and especially the fore-mentioned things from East Germany, Pori could be just the right place for you. Please visit our city in October-November or February-March to get the right feeling.

Enough with the crap. I picked my Seamchip card from where I had left it after the last year's festival and started my two-day visit. The rules and conditions were simple:
  • Twelve Finnish microbreweries and one whisky importer were present - three breweries less than last year and no imported beers. The breweries had been changed a lot: some of the traditional visiting breweries had been changed to fresh breweries. There was also a food truck by the local restaurant Torero. The complete beer lists were available in Facebook and couple of days before the event.
  • You could pay only with a Seamchip card, which cost 2 € - if you didn't have one from last year like me - and could be loaded with hop cones worth 1 € each. Prices were usually 3-4 € per 2 dl dose or 6-7 € per a bottle or a can (0,33-0,35 l). The card was still simple to use. The only problem (not mine!) was that the currency left in the card last year was missing though it was told to stay in the card.
  • There was no actual entrance fee to the area and you could go out and get back in as many times as you wanted.
  • You were given a new small pint with each dose, bottle or can you bought. No need to wash your glass after every beer, no useless souvenirs or returnables.
  • The weather was sunny and warm on Friday and warm but cloudy with showers on Saturday, so the place was packed at 8 p.m. on Friday and rather quiet at 9 p.m. on Saturday.
So, pretty nice setting for spending two days in the festival area.
Making a long story short, the company - friends, neighbour dudes, workmates and beer fanatics - were all great. Started many good discussions and finished most of them. Also had surprisingly many great beers. Overtly shortened list of the best ones I had on either of the days for more than a sip is, in no particular order:
  • Cool Head Better Hops Than Sorry: Starts with fresh citrus, some caramel malts in the middle, ends with dry piny bitterness. Excellent more West than East Coast IPA. 
  • Linden Black IPA: Very fresh stuff with roasty start, biting citrus and bitter pine. My kinda India Black Ale.
  • Moose On The Loose / Linden / Reittausblogi PoRa Sahti: Sweet banana hits it off with juniper. Some wheaty, yeasty and citrus hoppy flavour fits nicely in. Don't know anything about good sahti but this tasted great.
  • Mufloni Azacca Pale Ale: Fresh grapefruit, some sweet citrus, too. Aftertaste has fruity and spicy resin. Worked with me.
  • Mufloni HopfenWeizen: Yeasty bitter, some wheat and banana sweetness, citrus bites in the halfway. Better than the Schneider-Weisse version? Sure.
  • Radbrew Argus: Sweet fruity malts with flowery honey-flavoured citrus. Strange IPA but the first beer from the brewery I liked to drink from start to end.
  • Tuju Stout Export N:o 1: Heavy roast, strong malts. Cocoa, espresso and bitter finish. Tasty strong Stout.
  • Tuju Idän Samee: Biting bitter start. Orange, grapefruit, lemon - a complete fruit juice. Pine in the finish. Very nice Finnish New England style pale ale.
By only one small sip, the four-brewery collab Cool Head / Maku / Pyynikin / Fat Lizard Can Can seemed really promising NE style brew. Unfortunately, they ran out of cans before I could have one full, so no notes taken. Last ones of Saturday were two superb Scotch single malts, Port Charlotte and Octomore 10, but they were ordered "for enjoying purposes only" - no notes taken.

All in all, the local festival felt great again. They should organize these smaller nearby beer events more often. But as long as Winston Beerfest takes place in Pori and I'm not somewhere else in the middle of August - like the Soviet colony town of Kouvola - I'm a sure visitor.

Ölbeat

After three great beer festivals this summer, started from SOPP Tampere, continued at Craft Beer Helsinki and ended here, and having an odd but fun Sober June, there's a long dark fall and probably a cold sunless winter ahead. Even though the summer wasn't especially warm, I'll be missing the summer sun. Only the East German landscape of Pori will stay.

Rammstein: Sonne (YouTube)

From the 2001 album Mutter, the song was written by Rammstein.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ölbeat 295: Põhjala Must Kuld Colombia

Brewery: Pôhjala
Country: Estonia
Style: Porter
Abv: 7,8 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a large beige head. Aroma has strongly charred roast, espresso and cocoa. Taste begins with sweet and bitter roasted malts. Charcoaly malts and sweetish espresso take over with bitter dark chocolate. Towards the end sweet espresso roast and dark chocolate bitterness get on top with coffee taking the upper hand in the end. Aftertaste has malty coffee, bittersweet chocolate and dry roast.

Excellent roasted Porter with Colombian coffee. Deep charcoal roast builds a solid base for espresso and dark chocolate. Growing bitterness fits in the picture, too. Great amplified version of the excellent basic brew.

Ölbeat

Every song with a reference to coffee seemed to be too light for this one. Both in colour and in flavour everything light seems to be stolen away from the brew. And there came the idea.

Triosphere: Steal Away The Light (YouTube)

From the 2014 album The Heart of the Matter, the song was written by Ida Haukland and Marius Silver Bergensen.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ölbeat 294: Rocking Bear Kuukkari Kreippi IPA

Brewery: Rocking Bear Brewers (in Finnish)
Country: Finland
Style: Session IPA
Abv: 4 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is clear light yellow with a large white head. Aroma has grapefruit, mango and pineapple. Taste starts with gently bitter citrus peel. Grapefruit juice with gentle bitterness takes over. Towards the end slightly sweet lemonade flavour takes over, otherwise it gets a little thin. Aftertaste is mildly citrusy bitter and sweet.

Citrus dominated Session IPA. Better than expected - easily drinkable, fresh summer beer. No challenge but not much else than citrus juice. Not exactly my cup of tea, but it's nice to another new brewery in Pori.

Ölbeat

Just tried to pick a light summer song that doesn't disturb nor get the party started. Fits in the picture, since Jamiroquai visited Pori Jazz festival this summer. 

Jamiroquai: Seven Days in Sunny June (YouTube)

From the 2005 album Dynamite, the song was written by Jay Kay and Matt Johnson.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Ölmönger Special: The Long Road to Winston - Brewery Tour de Pori

The annual Microbrewery Beer Festival at Pub Winston (in Finnish: Pub Winstonin pienpanimo-olutjuhla) is held this weekend, on Friday and Saturday 11-12 August. I visited the event last year on both days and will be there this time, too.

Couple of days ago I thought about how to get there on Friday. Because thinking doesn't help in moving person X from place A to place B, I jumped on my bicycle and rode to the sunset to find out. The result was, of course, unobvious and far from a shortcut: I decided to make my way to the festival venue via all five active breweries in Pori.

Because combining drinking beer and riding a bike is stupid and dangerous, I didn't stop at the breweries for a pint. I didn't even go inside any brewery, because I don't (need to) learn a shit about brewery equipment and because breaking in to a locked building is a crime in Finland. Nobody seemed to be there - except the last two stops.

Actually I left for the tour spontaneuosly and didn't have time to contact the breweries at all. I just picked to route from Google Maps, cycled around the city for a while and took some bad pictures on the way. I'll leave the development of the actual beer tourist tour of Pori to professionals or craft beer activists.      

Brewery Tour de Pori  (on Google Maps)


With this you'll only get lost.

One pic helps in telling the story without thousands of words. I started the tour from Pori railway station or SAMK Campus Pori, and headed for the long straight of Pori airport. I stopped by or near the breweries in this order:
  • Rocking Bear Brewers (Kuriiritie 12)
  • Moose On The Loose Brewing (Ojantie 37)
  • Beer Hunter's Herralahti (Korjuuntie 24 - in the map: Helmentie 6)
  • Ruosniemen Panimo (Eetunkuja 6)
  • Beer Hunter's Restaurant (Antinkatu 11)
Finally, from the last stop I walked across the street to the door of Pub Winston (Gallen-Kallelankatu 8). The distances of each stage can be picked from the map.

Cycling the 20 kilometres' route took me a couple of hours with planned and unplanned stops and a couple of "Where in the f**k is the brewery?" wondering situations. Faster cyclists would ride the route through in less than an hour (but why?), and for scenery dreamers it could take up to three hours (again, why?). With brewery visits and something to eat and drink on the way, I'll leave scheduling the tour and counting the time to those who make money out of it or to those who have more idle time in their hands than me.

Pori railway station

SAMK Campus Pori

Pori airport terminal


Stage 1: Rocking Bear Brewers

Homepage (in Finnish) * Facebook * Ratebeer

The right name of the road...

...the brewery is there somewhere.*
Rocking Bear Brewers was founded in 2015. First commercial brews came available in summer 2016. The thing of the brewery is naming their beers according to the districts of Pori. Also there seems to be some rocking bear spirit involved, at least the labels give that impression.


Above the Pori - Helsinki freeway


Stage 2: Moose On The Loose Brewing Company

Homepage (in Finnish) * Facebook * Ratebeer

The correct address...

...and doors to the brewery on the right.
Moose On The Loose Brewing Company was founded in 2016. First commercial brews came available during spring 2017. The brewery is a family business of husband and wife. According to the homepage they want to make people, story and community stronger in Finnish beer culture.

Along the path to Herralahti...

...it's nice to take bad scenery pics!


Stage 3: Beer Hunter's, Herralahti

Homepage (in Finnish) * Facebook * Ratebeer

There it is - in the hall that says Nostorent!
Panimoravintola Beer Hunter's started brewing in 1998. This brewery in Herralahti was started in 2014. It is the brewing company's larger brewery of the two existing ones, where the core products and larger batches are brewed. The brewing company had another brewery called Ravintola Panimo, previously Karhupanimo, from 2012 to 2014 in the riverbank, but it was shut down when Herralahti brewery started.

Kokemäenjoki eastward from Kristiinansilta...

...and the same river westward from the same bridge.


Stage 4: Ruosniemen Panimo


"What was the name of the brewery...?"
Ruosniemen Panimo was founded in 2011 and the company is registered to Espoo.** The company's only brewery, however, started in Pori in 2012. The slogan of the brewery, "Insinöörien panemaa", translates well to "Brewed by engineers". Their brews are named after working titles, occupational qualifications and other human/group-connected common nouns, like Lomittaja (Stand-in), Insinööri (Engineer) and Turisti (Tourist).

Groovy-looking Ruosniemi church...

...more Kokemäenjoki and more bridges!


Stage 5: Beer Hunter's, Restaurant

Homepage (in Finnish) * Facebook * Ratebeer

I think I've been here before...
Panimoravintola Beer Hunter's started in 1998. The same year brewing was started in the restaurant premises. The company's small brewery is still functional and it's used for special and small batches. There's a small scale distillery, started in 2001, is located there, too. The restaurant specializes in malts: there are 24 taps, over 200 different bottled/canned beers and around 300 different whiskies available. My favourite place in Pori, for sure.


Goal: Pub Winston


...and after picking the road left: the goal!
Pub Winston started in 1983. It's known for being a true sports bar - e.g. every Porin Ässät ice hockey home match has its pregame and aftergame sessions here. For a sports bar, their beer selection is very good, especially bottlewise. Since 2014 the bar has been a venue of yearly microbrewery festival, Pub Winstonin Pienpanimo-olutjuhla. 

And the festival is the reason why I head there tomorrow and probably the day after, if it was still unclear to anyone. For those who are actually coming to the festival, I suggest a bit shorter route from the stations or from the parking lot. Both Beer Hunter's and Pub Winston are near to the market place, so both the festival venue and the afterparty bar are very easy to find.

A long, long road
All in all, local breweries are surely one thing I like in Pori. I hear somebody saying: "Like? I think you love them." Love? Lord above. Now you're tryin' to trick me to love. Don't you know that love is a long, long road.


Ölbeat

Of course, I should pick a true Pori song here. From Dingo, Yö or Mamba, for example. Well, I don't. It isn't Monday, so it isn't the time for those songs. Instead, I give you two good songs to stop the whining.

Free: All Right Now (YouTube)

From the 1970 album Fire and Water, the song was written by Andy Fraser and Paul Rodgers.

Tom Petty: Love Is a Long Road (YouTube)

From the 1989 album Full Moon Fever, the song was written by Tom Petty and Mike Campbell.

* I have to admit that I didn't remember the full address and that I didn't bother to check it out from my phone.
** So, is Ruosniemen Panimo the oldest active brewery in Espoo? Not Fat Lizard? No, it's not, but who cares?