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...'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.


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?