Denmark is one of those countries that just bleeds beautiful people; the best way of summing up the Danes is German efficiency meets a bit of Irish craic. We flew to the capital city, Copenhagen, for a look at a fascinating new initiative by the guys in Carlsberg, who give a huge amount back to the city and indeed Denmark.
The impressive guys at the Carlsberg Research Laboratory have rebrewed the world’s very first quality lager, having stumbled across a bottle in storage from 133 years ago. Taking a sample of the yeast that has somehow managed to survive since 1883; we were present as the first new brew from that sample was tasted by head honchos at Carlsberg and passed around the room. Yes, it was very nice and yes we would like some more please.
How big a deal was this? Well in the growing circles of beer lovers and bloggers, a pretty big deal “Without it, we wouldn’t have the type of beer that is now 90 percent of the world’s market”, says Britain’s leading Beer Historian Martyn Cornell. So, you could say that that bottle of Carlsberg was The Bourne Identity of 1883, because it's been fairly consistently ripped off since then.
We were brought through the different laboratories and told in detail how the larger was brewed - at a hefty 5.8%. When you think of certain beers in Ireland, you're rarely looking at more than 4% alcohol - depending on if you're a craft lover or not. The issue, sometimes, with the craft beer is that it's difficult to find your favourite bar-to-bar, so if you aren't settled in one destination, you're inevitably mixing beers, which obviously you want to avoid.
We'll allow Carlsberg themselves to explain what exactly they do in their laboratory:
"The Carlsberg Laboratory was set up in 1875 to advance the scientific understanding of malting, brewing and fermenting processes. It is renowned for a number of extraordinary scientific discoveries of the past century, ranging from Professor Dr. Emil Chr. Hansen’s method of purifying yeast to the development of the pH scale, the concept of protein structure and the characterization of enzymes that now enables low temperature clothes laundering."
It really is an artform, and when you're that close to it, it's genuinely fascinating to learn about. The Danish take their brewing seriously and the amassed beer enthusiasts from around the world that were also on the trip were incredibly impressed.
Carlsberg HQ is enormous and almost feels like a small town, as they continue to build onto it. While the history of their brewing is fascinating, especially for the growing masses of craft beer nerds.
For more info check out rebrewproject.com