Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Ölmönger Special: Suuret Oluet, Pienet Panimot - SOPP Tampere, 25 May 2017

Only in Finland one can give a beer festival an unimaginative name like Suuret Oluet, Pienet Panimot - that's Great Beers, Small Breweries in English. Check the pictures below, if you don't believe. Luckily, the festival is known by its abbreviation SOPP, and the name is probably only thing that's completely wrong with the event. If we try to forget that everything and a little more is wrong with beer festivals.
Looks and sounds stupid but it's good for ya!
The SOPP festivals are organized by Lammin Sahti, best known as a Finnish sahti brewery. The main idea is to have couple of Finnish microbrewery assemblies around Finland during the summer. Traditionally and also in 2017, the tour starts in the end of May in Tampere. Next in the turn of June and July is Lahti - the original city of the event since 2002. Then, in the end of July, the festival hits Jyväskylä first and the next weekend it's time for the "main SOPP" in Helsinki. Turku gets its festival after a couple of years' break in the middle of August, and the newcomer Oulu is last in the beginning of September. Every festival lasts 3-4 days, so there are plenty of chances to attend the event. I wonder, how I've managed to avoid the event so far.

But because Thursday the 25th of May was the Ascension day and the next Friday was a clear out-of-office day, we - the neighbour gaffer and I - had decided to have a non-family trip to Tampere. We arrived to the venue one hour after the opening at 1 p.m. - to avoid the entrance fee (from 6 p.m. 10 €) and the evening crowd. After choosing and buying a decent beer glass with 4 € - not the thick traditional pint and not the "Excuse me, I'm a craftbeer hipster" one deciliter tasting glass - we got our rally started with a handful of other people. No waiting lines in sight - great!

Each of the 30 breweries present had their stand inside the U-shaped serving tent area. The breweries had different number of their beer brands available on tap - some had 3-4, others 6-8. Altogether there were over 200 different brews in the event. There were three kind of serving sizes available: 4 deciliters' "large" (7-8 euros), 2 deciliters' "small" (3-4 euros) and 1 deciliter's "miniature" (1,5-2 euros). Also, there were bottles to be bought, priced around 5-7 euros, and some ciders and sahti available. There was also a food corner with decent-looking and overpriced burgers and snacks available.

Our adventure in SOPP Tampere ended around 7 p.m after ten "small" ones. The venue puffed up from people from 5-6 p.m. and we had tasted enough by then. All in all, the festival seemed well organized. One piece of nagging, though: the shitty substance of Salmiakki Koskenkorva doesn't belong to a beer festival. I don't care who has blended the shit, but it seems pretty awkward to see a waitress dressed like a gypsy tramp walking around the audience selling shots of teenage drinking contest liquid. The contrast between quality beer event and the "getting totally wasted" kinda booze just struck me in the eye. No, I didn't buy any, thanks for asking.

Enough with the crap about the arrangements and other miscellanous stuff. Let's start with my personal top 5 of the few tasted beers - first the brews from #2 to #5 in random order.

Mallaskoski Nemesis 2nd/3rd(?) Edition
Aroma has dark fruits, roast and sweet rye malts. Taste strikes with a fruity boozy kick - sweet caramel malts and fruity roast continue. Strong and sweet cognac barrel-aged imperial rye wine.

Cool Head Brew Summer in Vermont
Aroma has mango, orange and pineapple. Taste is dominated by fresh citrus fruits that turns from bitter to sweet. Some herbal and piny flavours. Powerfully fruity aftertaste. Fresh and very drinkable Vermont/New England style Double IPA.

Sonnisaari Mustasalmi
Aroma has orange, mango and sweet liquorice. Taste lifts off with the union of sweet roast and bitter fruits - grapefruit dominates. Dry, bitter and roasty aftertaste. India Black Ale at its best - heavy roast meets bitter citrus.

Bryggeri Helsinki Colorado Blond
Aroma has yeast, sweet fruits and banana. Taste has yeasty citrus, sweet wheat malts and banana. Finish is fruity sweet. Very nice Belgian-style White IPA - wheat and yeast give the brew some special character.

And then - drum roll - my personal Number One of the event:

Maistila Riutunkainalo
Aroma has sweet roast, black coffee and chocolate. Taste starts with thick and sweet roast. The Belgian yeast shows up, but is drowned under the roast, alcohol bite and chocolate. Aftertaste adds some bitter liquorice. Awesome! Excellent Baltic Porter with a Belgian twist. 

Other good or at least decent brews I had were Hiisi Maailmojen Sota II, Tornion Panimo Pilsner and Beer Hunter's Mufloni CCCP IPA. The two mandatory misses were Hopping Brewsters Thora (too much berries and "natural additive" sourness for me) and Ruosniemen Baltic Porter Cuban Coffee Edition (otherwise OK BP but there was an unpleasant side flavour - oldish keg?).


Great beers, small breweries. Good times? Definitely.

Chic: Good Times (YouTube)

From the 1979 album Risqué, the song was written by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Skitbit May 2017: Ruosniemen Porvari Oloroso Barley Wine

Brewery: Ruosniemen Panimo
Country: Finland
Style: Barley Wine
Abv: 11 %
@RateBeer (it's a 10,5 % version with a different name, hmm...)
What about the beer?
Colour is dark brown with a small tan head. Aroma has caramel, sweet berries, orange and mango. Taste starts with sweet fruity and boozy kick. Sweet cherry liquor and piny booze take over. Towards the end rough sweet and boozy bitterness kicks strong with fruity undertones. Aftertaste has piny bitter booze and lasting oversweet cherries.

Bitter and unrounded Barley Wine. Don't know if it's got something to do with the barrel-aging but rough booze and bitter cherries kick in too hard. No signs of expected smoothness until the finals sips. Damn, what a disappointment after nice anticipation. Sadly, in addition more than one bottle from the brewery have been clearly spoiled - Turisti, Lomittaja, Piirimyyjä, Pikkupomo and Koodari, at least one of each. But this was simply barrel-aging gone bad. Hoping the couple of others are much better.


If this was a bad brew from Pori, it has to be followed by awful music from Pori. When the Finnish word 'porvari' means a burgess, a wealthy inhabitant, its opposite is a beggar, 'kerjäläinen'. The brew didn't make me feel wealthy. On the contrary, I felt like traveling to the kingdom of beggars.    

Dingo: Kerjäläisten valtakunta (YouTube)

From the 1985 album Kerjäläisten valtakunta, the song was written by Neumann.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Ölbeat 266: Founders Azacca IPA

Brewery: Founders Brewing Company
Country: United States
Style: India Pale Ale
Abv: 7 %
What about the beer?
Colour is dark orange with a large natural white head. Aroma has mild citrus, tropical fruits and caramel. Taste begins with slightly piny citrus. Piny grapefruit bitterness dominates over dry malty flavour. Towards the end sweet orange and spiky menthol flavours make an appearance. Aftertaste has piny dryness and herbal citrus bitterness.

Shortly put a decent India Pale Ale. The fruits of the aroma are out-shadowed by pine. The herbal flavours in the end aren't bad but I prefer stronger citrus in this style. Anyway, a small disappointment from the brewery but an alright brew.


The brew is named after a hop variety used in brewing, and the hop Azacca is named after the loa i.e. the spirit of agriculture in Haitian voodoo. Some sources claim he's the spirit of thunder but all the same - it's still about the ancient Caribbean belief. 

Godsmack: Voodoo (YouTube)

From the 1999 album Godsmack, the song was written by Sully Erna and Robbie Merrill.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ölbeat 265: Hiisi Kyyttö

Brewery: Panimo Hiisi (in Finnish)
Country: Finland
Style: Stout
Abv: 5,5 %
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a large tan head. Aroma has roasted malts, sweet coffee and dark chocolate. Taste starts with roasty bitter dark chocolate. Charcoal-roasted malts and mocca-spiced chocolate take over with gentle bitterness. Towards the end sweetish charcoal-liquorice bitterness rises above coffee and chocolate flavours. Aftertaste has malty sweetness, roasted bitterness and some coffee.

Tasty Milk Stout. Was afraid of overwhelming sweetness, but instead got excellent roast, malt, liquorice and chocolate flavours. Once again Hiisi didn't let me down.


Kyyttö is used as the nickname of a rare Finnish cattle breed called Eastern Finncattle. For that reason and that reason only, I chose a song whose name includes the word cow. Not the worst choice, I think.

Foo Fighters: For All the Cows (YouTube)

From the 1995 album Foo Fighters, the song was written by Dave Grohl.

Ölbeat 264: Lervig Lucky Jack Grapefruit Edition

Brewery: Lervig Aktiebryggeri
Country: Norway
Style: American Pale Ale
Abv: 4,7 %
What about the beer?
Colour is hazy orange with a two-finger thick white head. Aroma has superfresh grapefruit and sweet orange. Taste begins with fresh sweetish grapefruit. Light and fresh grapefruit takes over with sweet orange notes. Towards the end citrus lemonade flavour becomes distinctive.  Aftertaste has lightly bitter grapefruit and mild dryness.

Light American Pale Ale with a genuine grapefruit juice flavour. The taste is very near to Finnish long drink - lonkero, in Finnish. Clearly a summer beer that stays a bit thin behind the citrus. Well made brew, still. The Stavanger brewery has shown it can manage the low abv limits of the Scandinavian countries (as we all know as a fact, Denmark is just a peninsula of northern Germany).


The beer and its moment probably don't deserve this song, but having this - and many other - kind of beers available for me to drink and enjoy makes me feel lucky. And the last time I checked, I was a man. Whether I have any balls or not, doesn't make a difference - I'm a lucky man.

The Verve: Lucky Man (YouTube)

From the 1997 album Urban Hymns, the song was written by Richard Ashcroft.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Ölbeat 263: Pühaste Dekadents

Brewery: Pühaste
Country: Estonia
Style: Imperial Stout
Abv: 11,2 %
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a two-finger thick beige head. Aroma has milk chocolate, vanilla, sweet liquor and roasted malts. Taste begins with roasted sweet and bitter chocolate. Milk chocolate and sweet roast take over with some spiked coffee and vanilla. Towards the end fruity bitterness and boozy raisins join the sweet chocolate. Aftertaste has fruity liquor, vanilla-spiced raisins and sweet chocolate.

Sweet and delicious dessert Imperial Stout. Chocolate, raisins, roast, alcohol, some bitterness, a hint of coffee - wide spectrum of flavours. The sweetness is present but doesn't get overly dominating. Damn strong and tasty.


Definition of decadence: "moral or cultural decline as characterized by excessive indulgence in pleasure or luxury". Moral decline - check. Excessive indulgence in pleasure - sadly, not quite there yet.

Sirenia: Path to Decay (YouTube)

From the 2009 album The 13th Floor, the song was written by Morten Veland.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Ölbeat 262: Ôllenaut Rukki Kuningas

Brewery: Ôllenaut (in Estonian)
Country: Estonia
Style: Old Ale
Abv: 7,7 %
What about the beer?
Colour is dark reddish brown with a huge cream white head. Aroma has sweet rye bread, dried plums and raisins. Taste begins with grainy and fruity sweetness. Sweet rye malts and dried dark fruits take over with lingering bitterness. Towards the end malty sweet, fruity bitter and warming boozy flavours get on top with some burned sugar. Aftertaste has burned bready dryness and fruity-boozy bitterness.

Beautiful and complex Old Ale. Rye malts show clearly up as malty strength and sweetness. Dark fruits, bitterness, alcohol, some burned sugar in the end - everything's at its right place. From my point of view Ôllenaut has so far succeeded extremely well with their unordinary brews.


Since the brew is named "the king of rye" in Estonian, having a taste of it is riding with the king. So, the choice was between the Eric Clapton & BB King cover and the original. I chose the original.

John Hiatt: Riding with the King (YouTube)

From the 1983 album Riding with the King, the song was written by John Hiatt.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Ölmönger's Lair: Beer Meets Whisky - Part 3, Founders Dirty Bastard

After some extra waiting, we've reached the last part of the trilogy. First part was good, second part showed some surprises, so this should be the disappointing unnecessary sequel. But in the end the truth can be that "your feeble skills are no match for the power of the Dark Side. You have paid the price for your lack of vision!" So, let's see and have a taste.

Wasting 0,5 cl of each fine dram...

Third beer to be disgraced by my obsession to mess things up is Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale. It's Wee Heavy. Well, yes, "way heavy", but as a beer style a strong pale ale from Scotland. Sweet caramel malty, moderately bitter and slowly spicy-growing great brew.

Since there already is a bourbon barrel-ged version - also excellent Backwoods Bastard - available, I didn't mix the beer with Maker's Mark. Instead I picked two whiskies from the second part, Auchentoschan Heartwood and Glenmorangie The Quinta Ruban, first one being sherry and bourbon barrel-aged Lowlander and the latter being partly port barrel-aged Speysider. For the part of the wild card or the joker I picked Ardbeg Corryvreckan, heavily peated cask strength Islay dram.

...but here everything seems to be fine...

The test

Since the arrangements and the amounts of whisky per dose were exactly the same as in the second test, we'll get straight to the notorious table:

Dirty Bastard
Whisky Whisky volume (l) Whisky abv (/1) Beer volume (l) Beer abv (/1) Total abv (%)
Ardbeg Corryvreckan 0,005 0,57 0,12 0,085 10,47
Glenmorangie The Quinta Ruban 0,005 0,46 0,12 0,085 10,02
Auchentoschan Heartwood 0,005 0,43 0,12 0,085 9,90

Then comes counting the costs. You get a bottle of Dirty Bastard from Alko with 3,99 euros. Price of 0.5 cl of whisky is 27 cents (Heartwood), 50 cents (Quinta Ruban) and 71 cents (Corryvreckan). Mixing one bottle of DB with 1,5 cl of one of these whiskies costs 4,70 - 6,22 euros. Is it a lot or not? The answer is once again a question: who gives a f**k?

...until the bastard did it again!

Tasting notes

Every mix is mahogany brown in colour and because of the slow pouring, there's only a thin tan lace.

Dirty Bastard vs. Ardbeg Corryvreckan

Aroma has peaty smoke, tar, roasted caramel and stingy alcohol. Taste begins with smoked sweet malts. Heavy, peated smoke and sweet burned caramel take over with bitter salty liquorice. Towards the end sweet tar-caramel, fruity bitterness and spicy alcohol step in front. Aftertaste has tar-flavoured liquorice, smoky-piny bitterness and oaky dryness.

In this case Corryvreckan comes out first with peaty smoke, tar and liquorice. But the peated Islay whisky seems to fit Scotch ale's caramel and bitter flavour much better than a roasted porter or stout. The result reminds recently tasted Nøgne Ø Sunturnbrew, which was a superb beer. Excellent and delicious.

Dirty Bastard vs. Glenmorangie The Quinta Ruban

Aroma has sweet berries/grapes, caramel malts and spicy booze. Taste starts with sweet fruity caramel. Sweet caramel malts and fruit-berry juice take over with spicy-fruity alcohol. Towards the end fruity liquor, spicy caramel and sweetish bitterness get on top. Aftertaste has a boozy kick, spicy-fruity bitterness and lasting oaky-peppery dryness.

Quinta Ruban hits the goal again. Fruity-spicy whisky supports the brew's malty sweet character beautifully. In the end oak comes out by giving the aftertaste a lasting spicy-dry ending. Superbly delicious.

Dirty Bastard vs. Auchentoshan Heartwood

Aroma has caramel malts, sweet dark fruits and alcohol. Taste starts with spicy fruity malts. Caramel malts and sweet dark fruits take over with spicy bitter alcohol kick. Towards the end oaky-spicy whisky comes out with fruity bitterness and malty sweetness staying by its side. Aftertaste has oaky-fruity bitterness, piny-malty dryness and spicy alcohol warmth.

Heartwood's oak, fruits and spices fit to the fruit, caramel and bitter flavours of the beer beautifully. Especially oak rounds the sweet elements of the brew very pleasantly. This is an excellent treat. 


The result is a pleasant surprise: every Scotch single malt whisky seems to work beautifully with Wee Heavy. Auchentoschan Heartwood's spicy and oaky fruits match with the fruity caramel brew in a delicious way. Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban supports the brew's sweetness and gives it a tasty lasting oaky finale. I have to share the silver medal with these two. The gold goes to the union of Ardbeg Corryvreckan and Dirty Bastard, since in that combo the beer is the one that rounds the peat spike of the whiskey with the deep malty character - the result is a very unique but exquisite flavour.


For the last and probably the best part of the trilogy I pick my personal favourite version of this title theme.

Thin Lizzy: Whiskey in the Jar (YouTube)

Released originally as a single in 1972, the song is a traditional Irish song.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Ölbeat 261: Mufloni Saison de Randonneur

Brewery: Beer Hunter's (in Finnish)
Country: Finland
Style: Saison
Abv: 6,5 %
What about the beer?
Colour is hazy golden orange with a large white head. Aroma has fruity yeast and sour-sweet fruits. Taste starts with sour fruity bite with strong yeast. Fruity sour citrus and funky yeast flavours take over. Near the finish some raisins and sour apple is added. Aftertaste has fruity dryness and sourness.

Fresh, balanced and delicious Saison. The sour yeasty citrus flavours remind me of the warm summer days in the countryside. Can imagine at least one cyclist picking this from his picnic basket on a break. Absolutely beautiful beer.


Since this brew at least almost has the reputation of a classic in Finland, the natural choice for a classic cycling track gets picked.

Queen: Bicycle Race (YouTube)

From the 1978 album Jazz, the song was written by Freddie Mercury.