Monday, 8 February 2010

Return to Copenhagen, Day 2: Nørrebro at last!

Day two of my recent trip to Copenhagen was the highlight, business-wise, as I was there to attend a meeting in the city centre. Again, I'd planned to meet a colleague in the evening, but he couldn't make it so, again, I was left to my own devices and, as I had missed Nørrebro last time, I was determined to make it over there, with a stop off at Plan B for one of their apparently famous sandwiches as well as the beer selection. It wasn't too far from the hotel, despite the snowy pavements, and Plan B looked busy and inviting. It's a kinda kooky place, with a big portrait of what might well be the owner on the wall, naked, with part of his face covered by what looked like a 70's porn mag and wearing a pith helmet. Thankfully his pertinent bits are just out of frame, but only just!

It does have a relaxing feel to it though, with sofas, mismatched tables and chairs and a DJ who set some chill-out sounds going before disappearing. I went up to order a big ham and cheese sandwich, and while looking at the taps the barman whipped out a glass and literally slammed a sample of something at me. Turned out to be a Mikkeller Big Worse Barley Wine. This exploded in my mouth but I'm not going to try to describe it based on a couple of mouthfuls while trying to order a sandwich and a beer. And although I was tempted, I decided against it because the bar man said it was 17% -- now that I looked it up apparently it's only 12% -- so I reckoned I'd like to start a little lower so I'd make it over to Nørrebro and maybe pop in on the way back. But he wasn't done. Just before ordering he then lashed bit of Paradox Isle of Arran from the tap.

I'd have happily continued like this, pretending not to be able to decide, but I went for a Mikkeller Cascade Single Hop IPA. This gives off that classic cascadey orange/grapefruit aroma in buckets, and it delivers on its promise in the mouth. It's big flavoured, but more rounded than its centennial sister I had the evening before. Sure, it's loaded with hops, and the finish is definitely heavily pithed in the bitterness stakes, but right in the middle it gives a nice sweetly soft, full-bodied caramel flavour which supports the hops wonderfully. Yep, definitely more to my taste than the Centennial one, but then I wasn't as knackered.

I finished my humongous sandwich and braved the cold again to cross over the Peblinge Sø -- which was completely iced over, so I was tempted to cross over that way -- to get to Nørrebro. It's a bit out of the way, but walking in it had a nice welcoming buzz about it. It's very open, and you have the choice of going up some steps to what i assume id the more restauranty part, or down to the very Scandic-looking bar. You know the type: lots of pale wood, laminates and a couple of white leather sofas to lie in. Of course I made a bee-line for the sofas! At one end is the bar and at the other the brewery, or perhaps part of it.

The  very friendly and helpful bar staff led me to try the Nørrebro Robust Porter. With a nice, rich, roasty aroma, the taste went Pow! It's sweet, roasty, slightly fruity and smokey with a good dose of bitterness, like bitter almonds. There a slight orange thing going on, and it's sticky on the lips. At 7% it also happened to  be perfect for warming up after my short walk.

I then went for the Nørrebro Globe Ale, which is billed on the signs outside as a CO2-neutral-produced beer, in the mold of an English bitter. It's fruity, with a juicy-fruit-like quality, and has quite a yeasty feel to it as well as some marzipan. The finish shows a gentle floral and grassy hop character. Nice and simple, and definitely with low carbonation

The barman had warned me about Pillage and Burn, their smoked porter, telling me it wasn't to everyone's taste. Well, Jesus, what else could I do in the face of such temptation? Like the Robust Porter, this weighs in at 7%, but smells and tastes a lot more fruity than it, or than I expected. It's got pronounced cherry and raisin notes, some roastiness and a light, sweetish smoked flavour. I expected more, especially with a name like that, but overall it was sweet, subtle and highly drinkable. Actually, I really liked it, and in hindsight I wish I'd stayed for one more. As it was, time was marching on, and I wanted to make a couple of stops on the way back.

Unfortunately, Plan B was closed, so there went my Mikkeller Big Worse idea. I shouldered my bag and trudged on to find Charlie's Bar, which had been recommended by a fellow twitterer. This is a kind of bar that goes against my principles when visiting a city, in that it's famous for its British cask beers, and not local fodder. But, it was on the way back, and as I seldom get to try cask beer, I felt it worth a go. I then realised it's not my usual kind of place as it was full of ex-pats and some suits (who were clearly just visiting). There's qiute an array of pumps, but I just blurted out the first one I saw, being Hook Norton Hooky Gold, probably due to the subliminal messages over on Real Ale Reviews. I sat in the corner, half reading a book, half listening to the conversation between the Irish and English guy. That conversation that I must have had a hundred times myself. They were clearly all mates along the tight-packed bar, and it had a nice feel to it. At one point the whole bar went deadly silent apart from one of the suited visitors screeching something at the barman about thousands of millions of Kroner, at which point he stopped, apologised and chatter resumed. The Hooky Gold? Ehh, yeah, it was nice!

I was fading a little, what with my stuffed up head, persistent cough and a few beers inside me, so I finished my pint and trundled off, sad that I wasn't staying another night, but happy to be returning to the family on the morning, complete with more Lego. For my son!

1 comment:

Ron Pattinson said...

plan b is one of my all time favourite pubs.