Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Ölbeat 347: Amager / Barrier The Mortician a.k.a Ölmönger's Burial

Brewery: Amager Bryghus (Barrier Brewing Company)
Country: Denmark (United States)
Style: Imperial Stout
Abv: 10,5 %
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a finger-thick beige head. Aroma has dark chocolate, sweet roast and coffee. Taste begins with heavily bitter chocolate-flavoured roast. Dark chocolate, sweet coffee and bitter charcoal roast take over with spicy alcohol. Towards the end bitter dark chocolate with sweet spicy mocha tones come out strongest. Aftertaste has strong bitter roast with dark chocolate, liquorice and pine followed by lasting spicy malty dryness.

Powerfully bitter and roasty Imperial Stout. Strong bitter flavours of roast, dark chocolate and coffee supported by spicy, boozy and malty side tones. Simply beautiful, complex and delicious. Amager never lets me down with dark and heavy stuff.

* * *

My mama said that you should finish what you've started. Well said. There are many beer blogs that have died without any last words like bad TV series that get cancelled after the pilot season without the series' final episode. Where all the good and the bad guys get killed, if the series was worth watching even in the beginning. Like there are TV series born dead that just keep on living, there are beer blogs born dead, but that's a completely different story. Or is it actually?

Anyway, the blog's been dead for over four months now. There have been some things like this and some thing like that on the way of writing blog posts. More interesting things like watching the grass grow and catching up the missed/all episodes of Lost. But the cold truth is that the blog stays dead after the burial - this is the final post of this blog. My and Ölmönger the Blogger's paths are separated for good.

Possibly, even though unprobably, there are some people who would like to know why this blog is finished now. Some others might be wondering, why it took me so long to shoot this bastard against the brick wall. Both are people who are looking for reasons for things. Well, let them be looking. Over and out. Bagged and tagged.

Why are you still there looking at this? Live, enjoy and celebrate, sucker!


The author's last wish. May this one be granted?

Ramones: Pet Sematary (YouTube)

From the 1989 album Brain Drain, the song was written by Dee Dee Ramone and Daniel Rey.

And one for the audience.

Faith No More: A Small Victory (YouTube)

From the 1992 album Angel Dust, the song was written by Mike Bordin, Roddy Bottum, Billy Gould and Mike Patton.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Ölbeat 346: Beer Hunter's Mufloni Hermansson Barley Wine

Brewery: Beer Hunter's (in Finnish)
Country: Finland
Style: Barley Wine
Abv: 11 %
What about the beer?
Colour is dark brown with a thin natural white lace. Aroma has nutty chocolate, caramel malts and dark fruits. Taste starts with bittersweet fruity caramel. Malty caramel and sweet fruits take over with spicy bitterness and hints of chocolate. Towards the end sweet caramel malts, spicy pine and bitter boozy citrus fruits come out strongest. Aftertaste has biting fruity-piny bitterness, boozy spiciness and caramel malty dryness.

Malty and sharp-flavoured Barley Wine. Caramel malts, sweet and bitter fruits, spicy pine and boozy kick dominate. Part of me desires for a little more roundness, another one is very pleased with the rough edges. Rather enjoyable, still probably on its way to excellence?

This beer was part of Alko's Finnish artisanal beer selection in spring 2018.


I explain the song choice with the place, the situation and the mood, where I enjoyed the bottle with my parents. The song is about the singer being enchanted by a ghost, while I'm enchanted by the old school my parents live in. Visiting there seems to somehow take me to completely other reality, other time and other place. With this kind of classic style beverage, the trip became even more distancing.

Kings of Leon: Find Me (YouTube)

From the 2016 album WALLS, the song was written by Caleb Followill, Nathan Followill, Jared Followill and Matthew Followill.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Sessio #6 (Mar 2018): Bands and beer brands

This post is a part of Sessio, Finnish beer bloggers' monthly posts on the same topic. The topic is selected by a monthly changing host. This topic was selected by Loppasuut, who will wrap up the Sessio posts in their blog. I will take part in Sessio whenever the subject feels nice and I have time to write a post.

The topic of the month is "Bands and brands". The host gave us some ideas, e.g. to wonder, if a culture or sport brand - an artist/a band or a club, even a movie? - affects the beer's taste, or to write about the rockstar of the beer world, whoever that may be. Thanks for the ideas - I'll follow none of them, because digging deep into the background of the motives behind, say, rock band -labeled beers is far from what I call fun, interesting or meaningful. Most of the band branded beers are made so that the brewers can be laughing on their way to the bank. Examples of those beers can be seen on the photo collage of the assignment post. And that's my five cents on that part of the subject.

Almost. One case seems to have some credibility against almost all others' none. In California, San Diego -based Belching Beaver Brewery and Sacramento-based alternative metal band Deftones have "collaborated" with two India Pale Ales. First one, Phantom Bride, was published in August 2016 and it has become part of the brewery's core range. Second one, Swerve City, saw the light of the day in June 2017 and according to the brewery's pages comes out seasonally. Since the beers haven't been actually available for me, haven't had a chance to taste either one. But they're not just lame lagers or British bollock ales like the usual band-related stuff, are they?  

But what if I could plan a beer for one of my favorite artists? Or even a complete line of beers that actually pays homage to the band? Of course, in that case the branded brews would be top notch hipster sipper stuff, not something you would forget in five minutes. Of course, the band's songs couldn't be stuff that you want to forget immediately if it ever catches your attention. You've probably dropped Maku Brewing as a brewery and Amorphis as an artist from the carriage, haven't you? If not, you didn't understand the two sentences starting with words "Of course".

This blog's most frequent artist choice is Black Sabbath with a total of 12 Ölbeats - 13 songs, because of the two songs with Hel & Verdoemenis - so far. No Skitbits on the list, because I respect their music from both the original lineup (with 12 songs on the blog) and the Dio period (one song on the blog) so much, that I forgive their sometimes complete misses of other singers and lineups. With two exceptions all the beers paired with Sabbath songs are dark, and with two exceptions all beers are "double" or "imperial" level heavy, i.e. higher than 8 % of abv. Mostly dark and heavy with Black Sabbath - call that the element of surprise a lá Ölmönger.

From up left clockwise: Osborne, Iommi, Butler and Ward.
So I select Black Sabbath as the band of my beer brand. The timing is perfect, since the band has officially and permanently disbanded in February 2017. Three questions arise:
  1. What are the means for selecting a beer or a line or series of beers - and the name(s)?
  2. What kind of beer(s) should be brewed?
  3. Which brewery in the world would I select for the job?    
And the three short answers are:
  1. The core series would consist of four beers named after the original members of the band: singer Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward. The beers' names would include the band members first name or the nickname, and a reference to one song by the band.
  2. Stupid question. Dark and heavy, of course.
  3. Since this Danish brewery has already branded something strongly associated to the music of the selected artist - that something being The Seven Deadly Sins as The Sinner Series - and since with their brews the brewery has proven to actually pay respect to the people they've worked with (like this one), my first choice would clearly be Amager Bryghus. They also usually brew great tasting big beers in big bottles and belong to my top-something-less-than-seven list of breweries, so I believe I wouldn't be unhappy with the outcome.
If there would be time for occasional experiments later, it would be great to get something connected to the albums or the songs, like Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, an Imperial Red IPA brewed with blood oranges and passion fruits, or Master of Reality, a Wee Heavy aged partly in Hendrick's gin barrels and partly in Aberlour whisky barrels. Sounds strangely attractive, doesn't it? But first, let's introduce the ideas and get the development of the core beer recipes started in the Copenhagen-based brewery.

Bill The Supernaut
(drummer Bill Ward & song Supernaut)

Imperial Cascadian Dark Ale (> 8 % abv) with gentle roast and sparkling citrus fruit presence 

Bill Ward was known as an unorthodox drummer with strong jazz influence, which showed out as not just giving a beat for guitar riffs but rather dancing around them and adding power to the gloomy musical landscape.

Got no religion, don't need no friends
Got all I want and I don't need to pretend
Don't try to reach me, 'cause I'd tear up your mind
I've seen the future and I've left it behind

Geezer The Architecht
(bassist Geezer Butler & song Spiral Architect)

Imperial Brown Ale (> 8 %) brewed with coffee and cocoa beans

Geezer Butler was, in addition to a versatile and skillful bass player, the main lyricist during the 1970's - the genius behind legendary lyrics of songs like Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Into the Void and Black Sabbath, among many others.

Of all the things I value most in life
I see my memories and feel their warmth
And know that they are good
You know that I should 

Tony the Lord
(guitarist Tony Iommi & song Lord of This World)

Imperial Stout (>11 %) with strong flavours, sharp edges and a high potential for aging

Tony Iommi was the only original member of Sabbath throughout the band's history, the primary composer of the band and, according to Ronnie James Dio, the ultimate riff master. Probably the most influential guitar player in the history of heavy metal.

Your world was made for you by someone above
But you choose evil ways instead of love.
You made me master of the world where you exist
The soul I took from you was not even missed, yeah

Ozzy the Warpig
(vocalist Ozzy Osbourne & song War Pigs)

Rye Wine (>10 % abv) aged in Jameson whisky barrels

Ozzy Osbourne was the band's voice of agony and desperation, a singer with a very unique and distinctive voice and ability to hit painfully high notes among soulful and credible interpretation. 

Day of judgement, God is calling
On their knees, the war pigs crawling
Begging mercy for their sins
Satan, laughing, spreads his wings


So, two of the citated songs (Spiral Architect and War Pigs) have already been paired with beers and other two (Supernaut and Lord of This World) will be left for waiting their turn with something excellent. I selected the song, that I'll hear in the background if any of these ideas will ever turn out as actual brews even close to the description. "Yeah, fairies wear boots and you gotta believe me / I saw it, I saw it with my own two eyes!" And my shrink will tell me: "Son, son, you've gone too far. / 'Cause smokin' and trippin' is all that you do."

Black Sabbath: Fairies Wear Boots (YouTube)

From the 1970 album Paranoid, the song was written by Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Ölbeat 345: Orava Orwellian Nightmare 2018

Brewery: Orava Brewing (brewed at Cool Head Brew)
Country: Finland
Style: Imperial Stout
Abv: 10 %
What about the beer?
Colour is black with quickly vanishing head. Aroma has roast, espresso and dark chocolate. Taste begins with strong and bitter spicy roast. Bitter heavy roasted espresso and vanilla-spiced dark chocolate take over. Towards the end espresso, chocolate and spicy flavours are joined by dry oaky booze. Aftertaste has bitter dark chocolate and warm oaky-roasty dryness.

Spicy and bitter roasty Imperial Stout. Espresso and dark chocolate come deliciously out with roast, spices, booze and oak. Rich and very tasty, the squirrels (Orava means a squirrel) get the job done.

This beer was part of Alko's Finnish artisanal beer selection in spring 2018.


Propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past? Yep, that's Orwellian enough. A case for System Of A Down.

System Of A Down: Hypnotize (YouTube)

From the 2005 album Hypnotize, the song was written by Daron Malakian and Serj Tankian.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Ölbeat 344: Malmgård Imperial Oatmeal Stout

Brewery: Malmgård
Country: Finland
Style: Imperial Stout
Abv: 9 %
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a finger-thick beige head. Aroma has roasted malts, espresso and cocoa. Taste begins with bitter espresso roast. Strong espresso, bitter roast and dark chocolate take over. Towards the end charcoaly roasted malts and bitter dark chocolate get the strongest grip. Aftertaste has mocha chocolate, bitter roast and cocoa-flavoured dryness.

Charred and chocolaty Imperial Stout. Shortly put, a well-made coffee-chocolate-roasty by the book impy, no tricks. Fits my taste almost perfectly. But that's Malmgård.

This beer was part of Alko's Finnish artisanal beer selection in spring 2018.


Sadly, this majestic beer will probably not be added to the regular selection of Malmgård brewery but will only rule for the short availability period this spring. Almost similar case as their great Imperial IPA was, then. Or how will it be?

Battle Beast: King for a Day (YouTube)

From the 2017 album Bringer of Pain, the song was written by Battle Beast.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Ölbeat 343: Tuju Export Stout N:o 2

Brewery: Panimoyhtiö Tuju (in Finnish)
Country: Finland
Style: Foreign Stout
Abv: 8 %
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a two-finger thick beige head. Aroma has espresso, chocolate and soft milky roast. Taste begins with biting bitter roast. Bitter espresso and roasted salty liquorice take over with sharp spicy chocolate notes. Towards the end both coffee and liquorice round up a bit and give space to dark chocolate and spicy booze. Aftertaste has salty liquorice, strongly bitter roast and dry alcohol warmth.

Bitter and spicy Foreign Stout. Strong & sharp espresso, liquorice, roast and chocolate flavours. Me like it a lot. Seems like we have one high quality brewery near the eastern border in South Carelia.

This beer was part of Alko's Finnish artisanal beer selection in spring 2018.


Since the brewery is from Lappeenranta, I gave in to the temptation to pair their beer with a song by the band loved by everyone from the same town. "Ihminen tietää sen, että / maailma ilman perkelettä / on kuin viini ilman humalaa. / Ja valtakunta, jossa / hyvyys kylpee valossa, / ei sellaista ole olemassakaan."* And to complete my assholeness, I chose the remix instead of the original version from the album Kuolleen kukan nimi (2002). Cheers!
Kotiteollisuus: Valtakunta (Tappava pila -remix) (YouTube)

From the 2002 EP ±0, the song was written by Kotiteollisuus.

*Bad translation: Everyone knows that / the world without the Devil / is like wine without intoxication. / And a kingdom where / goodness bathes in shine / there's no place like that.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Ölbeat 342: Ruosniemen Mandarina Lomittaja

Brewery: Ruosniemen Panimo
Country: Finland
Style: Saison
Abv: 6,3 % 
What about the beer?
Colour is golden orange with a finger-thick white head. Aroma has yeast, orange and pepper spice. Taste starts with yeasty spicy sourness. Peppery yeast and sour'n'sweet citrus fruits take over. Towards the end bitter citrus peel and sweetish sour fruit come through. Aftertaste has sweet orange and dry spicy & peely bitterness.

Fruity and spicy Saison. The yeasty and spicy start turns nicely into bitter peely finish. Well made one from the neighborhood brewery.

This beer was part of Alko's Finnish artisanal beer selection in spring 2018.


So, Mandarina Lomittaja means a Chinese stand-in, doesn't it? Bad and cheap, but will do.

Steve Poltz: Chinese Vacation (YouTube)

From the 2003 album Chinese Vacation, the song was written by Steve Poltz.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sessio #5 (Feb 2018): Beer travel

This post is a part of Sessio, Finnish beer bloggers' monthly posts on the same topic. The topic is selected by a monthly changing host. This topic was selected by Arde arvioi, who will wrap up the Sessio posts in his blog. I will take part in Sessio whenever the subject feels nice and I have time to write a post.

For this month's Sessio, Arde selected beer travel as the topic. The topic suits me nicely, even though I'm not an experienced beer trekker. That's just the way it is, and that's the way it'll probably be until the end. Just a couple of little flaws crack my snifter and prevent me from being a keen beer globetrotter.

I don't have the money for beer travel. My monthly pay goes to mortgage, electricity, water, gasoline, home insurance, the Internet cable and the waste disposal. Besides that there's the family with different kind of needs: wife wants to decorate the garden and kids have their hobbies. Plus we all eat food bought from the grocery store - no free lunches nor dinners for the whole family. Of course, someone might consider it rude and arrogant to even propose canceling the family holiday plans - or moving to a smaller house, eating cheaper food or lowering the standard of everybody's everyday life - just because Daddy wants to fly to the States alone to have a pint or two of fresh West Coast IPA. And that would be rather justified to think that way.

I don't have the time for beer travel. When the time is divided between work, home/family and sleeping, I wonder that there is any "my own time" at all. Well, of course there is - at it's best even a couple of days in a row. Mostly though, if I have more than 24 hours of idle i.e. non-programmed time, I like spend it with the people I love most: wife, kids, even the whole family, friends, parents and all other than not-in-law people in the world. Spending time in traveling - moving from the place I am to the place I want to be - presents the lowest quality time for me. The shorter the period spent in the target is, the more useless the time spent in traveling feels. In the rare cases where I travel for beer to participate in a beer festival in Finland, the beer is the necessary excuse to spend time with a friend or to do something completely different in the city where the festival takes place.

I don't find beer an important enough reason for traveling. Of course, beer would surely taste better and fresher if it's enjoyed near the brewing place. Of course, the atmosphere for enjoying beer is more unique and original near the home of that specific beer. Of course, drinking beer in various destinations would expand my experiences of beer to something that can't be achieved without traveling. Yes, but still for me it's only beer. I tend to choose the destinations of my spare time trips by the things that can be actually done or that can be seen in the destination rather than checking out the beer scene. If I'm not too enthusiastic traveler in general, why should beer turn me to a keen one? I don't need traveling to fill up some kind of experience vacuum, since the smaller, cheaper and less distant experiences reserve that space well enough. Why should I travel to California or Vermont for any reason, if I can get a better personal experience e.g. while playing in the local swimming hall with kids, working out on the crossbar in a nearby park or riding my bike in a cold, horizontally draining rain? Life without beercations might sound flat and boring, but for me that's simple and happy life.

However, for some unexplainable reason, during the last couple of years, I seem to have learned to enjoy the short moments of my working trips - couple of hours in the evening or the last hour before the train leaves - in a local beer restaurant or pub. Here are some pictures from the visits in this February, so this blogpost won't be totally dry.

Turku, 8 February 2018
Radbar - Radbrew Total Blackout Porter

Mallaskukko - Amager Bringer of Summer

Tampere, 13 & 15 February 2018

Konttori - Amager/Barrier The Mortician

Konttori - Wylam Jakehead IPA

Konttori - Amager/Barrier The Mortician (2nd take)

Konttori - Maku/Machine Sea Buckthorn IPA

Helsinki, 19 February 2018

Black Door - Cool Head DDH Ipanema

Black Door - Cool Head CITRACITRACITRA

Black Door - Plevnan Tropic Bomb


If it wasn't clear before this post, now it is: I don't know shit about beer travel. And I don't want to. I'm enjoying my life here at Land's Edge. And I know the essential difference between the traveler and the tourist.

David Lee Roth: Land's Edge (YouTube)

From the 1994 album Your Filthy Little Mouth, the song was written by Terry Kilgore and David Lee Roth.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Ölbeat 341: Suomenlinnan Kealakekua IPA

Brewery: Suomenlinnan Panimo
Country: Finland
Style: India Pale Ale
What about the beer?
Colour is hazy golden orange with a small white head. Aroma has pineapple, orange and grapefruit. Taste starts with piny grapefruit bite. Bitter grapefruit and spicy pine take over with sweeter fruity tones. Towards the end piny-fruity bitterness and sweet citrus get on top. Aftertaste has bittersweet grapefruit-orange juice and sour spicy dryness.

Fruity and piny New England -style India Pale Ale. Very nice bittersweet citrus bomb. But. The freshness factor could be clearer. Not excellent nor mind-blowing but still very tasty.

This beer was part of Alko's Finnish artisanal beer selection in spring 2018.


Kealakekua Bay on the west coast of Kona Island in Hawaii is known for being the place, where Captain James Cook was stabbed to death by a native chief. Of course, that was after Cook and his crew had already achieved tension with the natives and tried to kidnap a Hawaiian chief to his ship. Things didn't really go the way they do in The Beach Boys songs, did they?

The Beach Boys: Hawaii (YouTube)

From the 1963 album Surfer Girl, the song was written by Brian Wilson.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Ölbeat 340: Founders PC Pils

Brewery: Founders Brewing Company
Country: United States
Style: India Style Lager
Abv: 5,5 %
What about the beer?
Colour is golden yellow with a vanishing two-finger-thick white head. Aroma has grapefruit, lemon and malts. Taste begins with fresh bittersour citrus bite. Bitter grapefruit takes over with sweetish malty side tones. Towards the end salty bitter malts, sour lemon and tartish peel get on top. Aftertaste has dryish malts and lasting fresh bittersour grapefruit.

Very fresh and drinkable hopped Pils. Certainly elements of fruity IPA are clearly more present than malty Pilsner qualities. But there are malts sticking out from the background. I could drink this as my castaway beer. Excellent stuff.


Summer. Sunshine. Lying relaxed on my hammock. With a beer. Put some reggae on.

Bob Marley & The Wailers: Jamming (YouTube)

From the 1977 album Exodus, the song was written by Bob Marley.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Ölbeat 339: Austmann / De Molen Mannus & Blodøks

Brewery: Austmann Bryggeri (Brouwerij De Molen)
Country: Norway (Netherlands)
Style: Imperial Stout 
Abv: 8,8 %
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a thin beige crown. Aroma has sweet coffee, vanilla, chocolate and alcohol. Taste starts with bittersweet roast with a boozy bite. Smoothly bitter dark chocolate and sweet roasted malts take over with vanilla, black coffee and boozy breath. Towards the end dark chocolate, bitter roast and sweet vanilla melt together beautifully, with layers of coffee and espresso lingering in the background. Aftertaste has bitter dark chocolate, strong espresso and lasting dry roast.

Strong and honest Imperial Stout. Heavy flavours of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, roast and warming alcohol roll over me. I lean back, relax and enjoy the battle between the great German ancestor and the mythical Norwegian king. I'll call this a tie and move over by the fireplace to finish my glass. Simply excellent collab brew from the strong Norwegians helped by the world famous Dutch.


Mannus was, according to Roman Tacitus' writings, a son of the god Tuisto and the father of German human tribes. In the 1800's, his myth was adopted to Aryan beliefs, and later to - what else than - Nazi occult. Oh, that would've made Tacitus happy. Eirik Blodøks, on the other hand, was the king of Norway in the 10th century. The epithet, "Bloodaxe", comes from the later sagas about Eirik slaying his half-brothers to rule Norway and about him being a ruthless Viking raider. And that actually would have made the Norse gods happy, but some others probably not.

Metallica: The God That Failed (YouTube)

From the 1991 album Metallica, the song was written by James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Ölbeat 338: To Øl Mochaccino Messiah

Brewery: To Øl
Country: Denmark (brewed in Belgium)
Style: Brown Ale
Abv: 7 %
What about the beer?
Colour is dark coffee brown with a big fluffy tan head. Aroma has roasted malts, coffee and dark chocolate. Taste starts with gently bitter malty roast. Roasted malts take over with cocoa-coffee bitterness. Towards the end dark chocolate and cappuccino get on top with hints of sweetness. Aftertaste has bitter dark-roasted coffee and spicy malty dryness.

Spiced and roasted Brown Ale. Malts and roast play the first fiddle, but different flavours of coffee and chocolate fit nicely in. Surely experimental and far from both too weird and too boring. Slow, tasty and complex brew. Pretty good, I think.


This was easy, there's already a song for this one. You need a machine to make a mochaccino, right? Right!

Sepultura: Machine Messiah (YouTube)

From the 2017 album Machine Messiah, the song was written by Andreas Kisser, Eloy Casagrande and Derrick Green.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Finnish Beer Blog Sessio #4: The Wrap-Up

This is the wrap-up post of my assignment for Finnish beer bloggers' Sessio posts - and especially its execution by the colleague bloggers. So, here are the shortened abstracts of my own and other Sessio participants' posts. Without any more gobbledygook, let's get directly to the business.

As you already checked from the link above, the topic was Finnish vs. foreign beer. What got written about that?
Pick the true Finn from this pack...
Arde arvioi, the good ol' machinegunner of Finnish beer blog troops, started his post by wondering which bad things he could tell about Finland and beer - with a reference to an awful Finn-schlager anthem of being Finnish. Saving us all from already-heard floccinaucinihilipilification (i.e. underestimates), he decides to guide us through to the best parts of beer culture in Finland: the beer bar scene and especially the real ale taps in Finland, the rise and the quality of microbreweries in the 2010's, the quality and demand of Finnish barley, the quality and possibilities of Finnish water and the diversity of beer aficianados. No praise for modern, non-traditional sahti or forest berry beers - I bet no one was surprised. Excellent music choices, when we understand that the first one is meant to be there for contrast.

Helppoa Juotavaa, the honest, direct and untouchable beer rater, started his trek of the decade from the beginning of his beer enthusiasm, when almost everything interesting came outside of Finnish borders. In the middle, during years 2012-2014, Finnish breweries started to pop up here and there, but the quality was a big issue. In the present day, there are still quality issues with Finnish breweries but there are good and trusted breweries available. But even today, the traditional European breweries produce the best standard quality beers. In the end, there's some unnecessary praise for sahti, but some pity points don't save Finland from 0-3 loss in this 3-set match.

Loppasuut, the treacherous part-time wine-sippin' couple, took Estonia as the representative of the world in the beer bout between Finland and the world. First, there was the "Humulus Lupus" set: Finnish Hiisi Humulus Lupus Double IPA against Estonian Saku Antvärk Humulus Lupus IPA - ended as a season-depending tie. Then it's time for the biggest difference between beer in Finland and Estonia: the price, which is remarkably lower in Estonia, especially with bulk lagers. There are more microbreweries per capita and more bottle shops in Estonia than in Finland, so for now the game seems to be turned at Estonia's direction. But the match continues.  
Olutkoira, the all-smellin' story-catchin' beer hound, seems frustrated about the lack of knowledge about Finnish beer. There's not so much documented history on Finnish beer brewing in the 1800's. The quality of beers made by Finnish microbreweries seems not to be the thing blocking them from international success of Danish Mikkeller and Swedish Omnipollo - it's rather a question of marketing and image planning. There's not too much analytic writing about Finnish brewing scene and its trends compared to international journalism and blogs, even though there's a lot of people writing and reviewing beers and breweries. Possibly the difference can be explained with the fact that there are only a few people making a living out of writing about beer. Personally, Olutkoira often prefers foreign beers because many of Finnish beers are not of the style he likes to drink - and many of the styles he prefers are well-available classics from foreign breweries. In the end, he thinks that the situation of Finnish beer has gotten a lot better in recent years, thanks to professionals and aficianados in the field.

Tuopillinen, the unprejudiced father of Sessio posts and several other great beery ideas, starts his post with deep thoughts about the definition of "Finnish beer" and the connection of Finnish and nationalism. Buddy, that was your association, not mine. He crushes the idea of sahti as the obvious beer of Finland, because there are similar kind of traditional local brews all over northern Europe and because as a "fresh product" it could never make it internationally. There's no national beer phenomenom - it wasn't born when it could have - and there are no traditional nor modern classic beers made in Finland. There's a similar craft trend going on around the world and the beer styles are similar everywhere. Especially good/bad brewing is not just a Finnish thing, because there are great/shitty breweries (shitteries?) everywhere - the beer importers just work as filters. In the end, the blogger doesn't care where the beer comes from as long as it's good - and that's usually foreign.

Ölmönger, that's me, the disgusting limping yucky taint of beer blog heaven, wrote about the importance of comparing Finnish beer to foreign beer. Why? Because losing the original idea for the post. Really, why? Well, the importance of comparing starts from the longer international tradition in brewing. (Sahti was mentioned.) Especially the Finnish breweries benefit from aiming to the level (= quality = experience = taste) of the world-known great breweries. And basically, there it was.

"On to the next one!" Well, February 2018 is Arde's month. Hopefully the topic has nothing to do with the upcoming Alko artisanal beer period.


The question between national and international is with beer as with any other subject an unnecessary one. Since language is in most cases separating cultures, I picked one great classic instrumental for this one. Peace.

Santana: Samba Pa Ti (YouTube)

From the 1970 album Abraxas, the song was written by Carlos Santana.


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Sessio #4 (Jan 2018): Finnish vs. foreign beer

This post is a part of Sessio, Finnish beer bloggers' monthly posts on the same topic. The topic is selected by a monthly changing host. This topic was selected by me, Ölmönger, and I will wrap up the Sessio posts on this blog. Since I'm the host, taking part in Sessio was kinda mandatory.

When I selected the topic for this Sessio - which by the way occurred under the disclaimer "If you're ever forced to host Sessio" when Tuopillinen presented the idea of these postings in fall 2017 - ,  I had a brilliant idea of what I was going to write about. Like most of the brilliant ideas - not just mine - that idea didn't get written down. So I lost it somewhere on the way. And now I'm putting together a piece of crap instead of a quality Sessio post. I'm pretty sure that I'll remember the idea after this continuum of bad excuses is finished but will not write this post again.

Instead, I'm writing about how important it is to compare Finnish beer to its foreign competitors. Why? Because it's the first thing that popped into my head after the actual first idea had vanished and because I have no motivation for looking back at the blog and pick some boring statistics about "what are the differences in the number of styles represented in a) Finnish beers and b) foreign beers". In addition, the Finnish beer fanatics often seem to be pretty critical especially towards Finnish beer and at the same time praising towards foreign stuff. So comparison happens - and it's actually good for Finnish beer.
What's the point of this?
First of all, we have to admit that continuous brewing tradition has lived longer elsewhere than in Finland. Yes, we've brewed sahti in Finland for centuries but why should it count. Sahti is a brew for the freakiest of the beer freaks, and it's only one narrow local style in the world of beer. Based on my very narrow experience, one hell of a style when well brewed, though. Yes, Finland had around one hundred small local breweries from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. But prohibition (1919-1932) basically killed that tradition for decades. After that until the 2000's the Finnish beers were mass-produced pale lagers that represent no brewing tradition whatsoever. So, it's fair to say that there's more experience-based brewing skill outside Finland than in Finland, and based on the common knowledge experienced people tend to have better routine for basic things and therefore better base for experiments.   

Brewing is no exception from other human activities in the sense that there has to be development to keep the activity alive. To keep things developing, it's necessary to aim for better results than those already achieved. What could be better goals than those they've already reached for Finnish breweries? Better sales, of course. Better quality and taste, more critical acclaim, more demand, of course. To deserve a similar reputation of the foreign brewery they secretly admire - or at least a Finland-scaled version of the reputation? Hopefully. To be compared to that brewery in a positive way? "This beer reminds me of my visit to Russian River - just a notch or two missing from Pliny the Younger, I think." No, no one in a Finnish brewery would like to hear that kind of stuff. They'd surely be glad to hear praising like "Not that bad. Almost as good as Karjala." Get the difference? Surely not, but we'll continue.

Secondly, the majority of beer is produced outside Finland. "Oh, really?" Yeah, really, and actually Finnish beer's stake of the world's beer is almost nonexistent. Looking only at the locally produced beer and making comparisons inside that category would be like settling to play football inside a less-than-one-square-meter (< 10,67 sq ft) closet and enjoying it. Even though that's the space where any Finnish men's football team could probably somehow manage, we shouldn't settle for that with beer, since there's a much larger space for the game easily available. If you like watching football, a Champions' League game is much more interesting than a local 4th division match, isn't it?

Unlike in football, since there's a chance for it, international competition is better than just national recognition. Comparing Finnish beer not just to other Finnish beer but also foreign beer helps to consumer to see - or rather taste - what's the actual state of Finnish brewing skill at the moment. For the consumer, only the taste means quality. For the breweries, knowing what's going on outside the country borders, is probably necessary: not just for widening the view for mew ideas but getting some spectrum for developing the process and the quality. And as a no-brainer, also the earlier mentioned tradition of brewing certain beer styles in certain places should offer if not the best but still a rather suitable area for comparison.

In the end, drawing strict country borders for experiencing beer is for assholes. If it's not that clever for a Finn to drink just Finnish beer, the same goes with Belgians, Brits, Germans, Czechs and even Americans. It's allowed to prefer certain countries, styles or even individual beers, but having a pint of something completely different helps you know - not just assume - what you really like. On the other hand, categorical principle for automatically considering a beer good or bad because of the country where it was brewed - "American beers are always better than Finnish ones." - is for assholes. But that's a slightly different story.

So, what does the picture in the beginning have to do with the subject - Finnish vs. foreign? Well, the beer in the tasting glass happens to be a collab brew called We'll Always Have Paris by Sori Brewing and Brouwerij Kees. I enjoyed it one day in Sori Taproom, Helsinki. What about the Finnish-foreign thing with it? First, Sori is from Estonia and Kees from the Netherlands, so the beer is a product of international co-operation. That happens pretty often nowadays. Second, the founders of Tallinn-based Sori Brewing are Finnish, and the brewery is considered to be at least "having the other foot" in Finland, which is at least partly shown true by the fact that their taproom is in the capital of our country. The beer was excellent, by the way.


Many nationalities mentioned - check. Unnecessary association to football noticed - check. "And if I catch it coming back my way / I'm gonna serve it to you / And that ain't what you want to hear / But that's what I'll do" - check.

The White Stripes: Seven Nation Army (YouTube)

From the 2003 album Elephant, the song was written by Jack White.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Finnish Beer Blog Sessio #4: The Assignment

I am honoured to have been selected as the host of the fourth Sessio of Finnish beer bloggers. Thanks to the previous host at Helppoa Juotavaa

Shortly the idea of Sessio is that the host gives the bloggers a beer-related general topic and a couple of week's time to write and publish their post. The participating bloggers - the host, too - write their posts from a point of view selected by each blogger and publish them in given time window. When the time is up, the host wraps the Sessio up and links each post to the wrap-up. Understood? Excellent.

Previous Sessio assignments and wrap-ups (in Finnish)

Sessio #1: Keskiolut * Assignment - Wrap-up
Sessio #2: Beer and sports * Assignment - Wrap-up
Sessio #3: Beer and Christmas * Assignment - Wrap-up

This will be a special - hopefully not the last - hosting, since the language of both the assignment and the wrap-up is English. Most of my Finnish colleagues have naturally their blog in Finnish - as an unnatural freak I selected the modern lingua franca as the language of my blog. This difference was the easy path to this Sessio's topic, which is:

Finnish vs. foreign beer

The background? Like probably in most of the civilized countries in the world, the diversity of beer available and beer made in Finland has grown massively during the recent years. The number of active Finnish microbreweries has more than doubled during the last 10 years. At the same time more and more international beers have come available for the beer drinkers, since the restaurants, online shops, grocery stores and even the Alko monopoly have expanded their selection. Also at the same time, people travel abroad and in Finland for beer, beer events and brewery visits.     

New Year's Eve beers that have nothing to do with the topic
As the nature of Sessio goes, I'm just blurting out the topic without giving any directions about the point of view or the content of the post. 

"So, no suggestions at all?"

Well, giving out a few probably doesn't hurt anyone. Here are some points of view to consider or to be left out of consideration:
  • Do you intentionally drink more Finnish or foreign beer? Does the origin of the beer make a difference? How and why?
  • How well have Finnish breweries managed to brew internationally acclaimed styles?
  • Which foreign beers or styles don't meet their match in Finnish beers? Which Finnish beers beat their international competitors with a distance?
  • What has been your best/worst experience with Finnish beer? And with foreign beer?
  • What are your thoughts about Finnish beer in the world of beer?
In the end, I'll give you time to write and publish your posts between 24-27 January 2018. The wrap-up will be published by 31 January 2018.

If you aren't sure about your blog's Sessio post being noticed by me, please contact me about your post through Facebook or Twitter or leave a comment below.


This topic should take the bloggers out of Finland, at least beer-wise. Hopefully, some will even go around the world.

Daft Punk: Around the World (YouTube)

From the 1997 album Homework, the song was written by Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo.