Monday, January 18, 2016

Ölbeat 009: Stadin Panimo American Lager

Brewery: Stadin Panimo
Country: Finland
Style: Premium Lager
Abv: 4,5 %
Born American in Finland
Stadin Panimo (StaPa), founded in 1998 for sahti brewing and started in 2000 with beer, is a Finnish microbrewery in Helsinki. The brewery was shut down in 2007 but restarted only one year later - for the joy of Finnish beer lovers. As the top of the success story the brewery opened its own bar in 2015. StaPa has been awarded for many of its brews, both sahti and beer. American Lager has been selected Finland's best "grocery store" (max 4,7 % abv) light lager in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and Finland's best beer in 2014, so it was a natural choice for the first StaPa beer with an Ölbeat.

What about the beer?
Colour is cloudy light yellow with bubbles and a two-finger-thick lasting white head. Aroma is fresh, filled with grapefruit and behind it there's more grapefruit. The first impression of taste is biting dry hops. Then you get distinctive lemon and grapefruit. High level carbonation is present the whole experience. Bitter aftertaste lasts long.

Let's cut it short. One of the first craftbeeroholic rules is: "Don't drink lager. Never. Only in and after sauna, if you can't obey the rule." After having this beer the rule says: "If you want to drink lager, drink this lager. Inside or outside the sauna. Everywhere. There are no other lagers." Now, let's wait for the rule to change again. 

There actually were no other options. The perfect matching song is an American song by a Finnish band:

Hanoi Rocks: Up Around the Bend (YouTube)

From the 1984 album, Two Steps from the Move, the song is a cover song, originally performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival and written by John Fogerty - as we all know. The original was one of the band's rhythm guitarist Nasty Suicide's favourite songs, and it was first jammed in band rehearsals. The record label needed an international hit for the album, so they chose this one to the album. Rest is history: Hanoi Rocks turned the original swamp rock tune into an unforgettable piece of 80's glam rock. Unfortunately, the band's success story was cut short after drummer Razzle died in a car accident in 1984. Nevertheless, the most known lineup with singer Michael Monroe, guitarists Andy McCoy and Nasty Suicide, bassist Sam Yaffa and drummer Razzle had enough time to draw their mark in the rock'n'roll history. Anyway this song by this band was the only possible choice by the side of American Lager.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ölbeat 008: Omnipollo Nebuchadnezzar

Brewery: Omnipollo
Country: Sweden (brewed at De Proefbrouwerij, Belgium)
Style: Imperial IPA
Abv: 8,5 %
Losing sanity Swedish style

Omnipollo, having headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, is a gypsy brewery that makes its brews around the world. Known for both experimental untraditional view on beer and artistic bottles, the brewery has become known worldwide in a relatively short period of time. Nebuchadnezzar, named after the Babylonian king known for massive construction projects and some later life mental issues, is made after an up-scaled home brew recipe and described economically idiotic by the brewery. But that just suits me, sir.

What about the beer?
Colour is cloudy orange with a medium whiteish head. Aroma is rich: filled with fruit salad - grapes, orange, mango - and accompanied by citrus and hoppy notes. Taste starts with medium sweet gentle hops dominating, citrus gets in the game a little after and is strongest on the palate. Mouthfeel is mostly acidic. Aftertaste has warming bitter characteristics.

Somewhat more fruity than hoppy IPA - very smooth experience. This is clearly not an IPA for butt-kicking hop lovers - definition that sometimes fits me. Instead it's brewed for those who want to get rich fruit and hop aromas in the same bottle. It doesn't quite hit the expection of insanity on hoppiness, but it clearly hit my taste buds.


I have to disappoint people who expect something peachy Swedish like ABBA, Europe or Dr. Alban. I rather lean on to the fruity madness:

Green Day: Basket Case (YouTube)

From the 1994 album Dookie, the song starts fast and runs the first verse through with only vocals and guitar of Billie Joe Armstrong. During the first chorus drummer Tré Cool and bassist Mike Dirnt enter the scene. Basket Case is a "Green-Day-labeled" punk rock song with lyrics where the narrator wonders if his behaviour is result of paranoia or being stoned. Singer-guitarist Armstrong has told that he wrote the song about his battle with anxiety, which was caused by later-diagnosed panic disorder. The punk attitude with the intensity and presence of mindlessness in the song was probably the main reason for matching it with Omnipollo Nebuchadnezzar.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Ölbeat 007: Birrificio del Ducato Machete Double IPA

Brewery: Birrificio del Ducato
Country: Italy
Style: Double IPA
Abv: 7,6 %
Striking & slashing Italian job
Birrificio del Ducato, founded in 2007, is an awarded Italian brewery from Roncole Verdi, Parma county. Italy and especially Parma area aren't associated with beer but rather with other pleasures of life. Well, if you get quality food and quality wines from Italy then why not quality beer. Machete DIPA, named after the action film, was nicely available in an online store and got caught first.

What about the beer?
Colour is hazy light orange with a fuzzy white head. Aroma has quite mild hints of malt and citrus. Taste gives first a strike of sharp and sweet hops and then builds up with lemon and grapefruit. In the short aftertaste there is a bite of grape juice.

Initially a brutal India Pale Ale attack mellowed a bit down by citrus and the fruity aftertaste and gave some character to the beer. There were some rough attributes but nothing disturbing - decent stuff. After this first date I might keep the number of the brewery and get in contact later. Meanwhile there's time to get acquainted with the other competitors.


Well, a violently named but nice beer might match with a violently named but nice music. Some power ballad from Slayer? Something worth listening from The Killers? Err, let's see what we found:

Alice in Chains: Rooster (YouTube)
From the 1992 album Dirt, the song launches off with a quiet but eery guitar-bass intro with some high "ooing" notes. After vocalist Layne Staley starts to sing, the song slowly builds angst and restlessness to the aggressive chorus: "Here they come to snuff the rooster... You know he ain't gonna die..." The lyrics were written by guitarist Jerry Cantrell for his father, a Vietnam veteran nicknamed "Rooster". Cantrell wrote the song without ever hearing about war experiences from him personally, but succeeded in capturing and wrapping up the father's feelings in the war. Thus, through a song with heavy anxiety a healing process started within the family. Something pleasant inside the rough shell, like in Machete DIPA.  

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Ölbeat 006: Pyynikin Sessio White IPA

Brewery: Pyynikin Käsityöläispanimo
Country: Finland
Style: Session IPA
Abv: 4,6 %
Cold, hoppy and refreshing
Pyynikin Käsityöläispanimo, which operates in Tampere, was founded in 2012 and has already made its mark among Finnish microbreweries. The brewery is the first and yet only one to have a bottle tasting pack of different beers commercially available in Finland. The Sessio tasting pack has six under 4,7 % abv beers: American IPA, Bitter, Red Ale, Stout, Wheat and White IPA. The last on the list was my favourite, so it ended up here. Of course, there are many other quality brews in the brewery's beer selection, so this probably won't be the last Ölbeat about their products.

What about the beer?
Colour is cloudy yellow with a medium white head. Aroma has sour fruits, mainly grapefruit or lemon. Taste comes first with some dry hops and is followed by some grapefruit. Bitter and fruity aftertaste last somewhat long. Fresh package, I'd say.

The freshness and hoppyness of a wheat ale is a pleasant surprise. I'm not much of a friend of wheat in beer. Because of the usual over-the-top orange peel taste I find wheat ales very summerish and seasonal. And seasonal beers are not my pint of brew. 

The freshness of the beer requires something fresh and funky besides it. Since the brewery has had its say in Finnish beer culture and doesn't have problems in using the public word, the choice was this Finnish funky jazzy swingy tune:

Ricky-Tick Big Band & Julkinen Sana: Julkinen sana (YouTube)
From the 2013 album, Burnaa, the song was the first public sign of collaboration of the big band and three Finnish rap artists Paleface, Redrama and Tommy Lindgren (from Don Johnson Big Band). Julkinen sana got a lot of radio airplay at the time, though the song is somewhat far from mainstream pop and rock. Personally I felt it was nice to hear something fresh and funky from the radio: Finnish rap lyrics and big band come together well, although these collaborations aren't so usual in the Suomirap scene. Redrama and Tommy Lindgren usually rap in English, so another surprise was that the switch of language didn't sound artificial.

Overall very refreshing, like Sessio White IPA is.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Ölbeat 005: Amager/Grassroots Black Nitro

Brewery: Amager Bryghus
Country: Denmark
Style: India Black Ale (instead of the usual Black IPA)
Abv: 7,5 %

Danish-American Heavy Fuel

Amager Bryghus, a Danish brewery located in the island of Amager by Copenhagen, had convinced me to arrange a second meeting. I had a bottle of The Sinner Series Envy (IPA) at Mallaskukko in Turku and enjoyed it. So a brew made on a recipe by Shaun E. Hill (the brewmaster of Hill Farmstead/Grassroots Brewing) caught my eye in an online shop and was the next victim.

What about the beer?
Colour is black as the night with a thick bubbly beige head. Aroma has a hoppy headnote with some roasted malts on the side. Taste attacks with a dry hops in the foreground, then given some citrus fire support - mainly grapefruit and lemon. Palate adds a very mild taste of roasted malts to the picture. Long aftertaste is dominated by hops with a hint of citrus.

I am positively surprised by the absence of roasted malts in the taste. Kinda used to get some stout-and-porter like burned notes even with a hoppy black ale. A very tasty American IPA with unusual colour. The brewery maintains its exceptionality and attractiveness.  


Choosing a performer and a song from the same country where the beer was made is rather an exception than a rule, so with this exceptional beer I stay inside the country borders:

Volbeat: Sad Man's Tongue (YouTube)
From the 2007 album Rock the Rebel / Metal the Devil, the song was written by the singer-guitarist Michael Poulsen. The country-style intro and 1st verse with banjo, acoustic guitar and Poulsen's "Elvis-mode" singing explode to a full heavy metal beat for the 2nd verse. The lyrics - with the start - show out the inspiration from Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues. The song tells about a man who in the end has refused to join the army and ended up in prison "with a pocket full of real tales, and a broken guitar mode". A rockabilly-tuned heavy metal song with a country twist matches the mood of Black Nitro. Well, for me, at least.