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.



  1. Damn, just when I thought that Alko artisanal beer campaign could be the perfect topic for February.

    1. That'll be all over the Finnish beer blogosphere anyway. So, Master, use the Force and give us some challenge!


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