Friday, 5 February 2010

Return to Copenhagen, Day 1

It was almost exactly a year ago that I last visited Copenhagen, and I was happy to be sent over for another visit, despite the snow that seemed to be getting heavier as I travelled. I had a couple of meetings arranged over the next couple of days, but the schedule was fairly relaxed, which was good as I'd been stuffed up and tired with a lousy cold that just wouldn't shift. I arrived on Tuesday about 5pm, and went straight to my hotel, the Kong Frederik. It's nice enough, and although my room was tiny and a little worn, it was comfy and a fine place to lay my head at night. That and it had free wireless Internet access, although the free mini bar consisted of a bottle of coke, a bottle of diet coke and a bottle of Carlsberg. I drank all the coke both nights. The hotel is located close to the main train station and is just around the corner from BrewPub København, where I had planned to meet with a colleague. As it turns out, he was delayed on the way back from Jutland because of the snow, so I was left to my own devices. I'd visited the previous year and really enjoyed the beers I'd had then, so was eager for more, and some food.

Straight in the door, and without delay, I ordered an Armstrong IPA and the BrewPub Burger. The IPA has a firm, hoppy aroma, faintly grapefruity, but leaning more towards earthy handfuls of fresh hops. They're certainly forward in the flavour stakes, with definite orange pith and mandarin-like flavours. It's a touch watery, and the malts just about make a showing as a slightly biscuity sweetness. The finish leaves you with more pith, increasing grapefruit tones and a white-pepper spiciness. Overall quite nice.

The Burger, by the way, was also quite nice, except for the fact that the centre of it was quite raw. The thick-cut chips were delicious with a lemon mayonnaise. Damn, I'm getting hungry typing this...

A group of English-speakers arrived in and were ordering lots of the Red Xmas, which is described in the menu as an Extra Special Bitter. It looks the part, being a rich, ruby-tinted dark amber, or at least it looked good in the candlelight. The aroma is mild and slightly fruity. To be honest it felt very cold, so not much was escaping the glass. As it happens, the flavour is also kind of nondescript. Nothing really stands out, although that fruitiness is there, like dried apricots, with a touch of toffee and gentle, grassy hops. As it warms it deepens a little and the finish begins to reveal that kind of East Kent Goldings floral character, but gently. It's no ESB in the Fuller's sense, but a pleasent enough 4.8% beer all the same.

At this stage I was quite happy with my own company, reading a book and sipping away, but I wanted to move on to another spot. Well, after one more. Although I was tempted to try their Coletrane Stout again, I opted for the Schlager, a dark Dansk Lager, a crisply malty lager with light toffee and toasted notes. Hops are to the fore, bringing a nice balance with a slightly floral spiciness and adding a defnite drying bitterness to the finish. This is complimented by more of that roasted malt and toast. As it warms it does sweeten, but in a fuller malty way. No extremes, no big wowsers, just a nice simple dark beer.

I quite like Brewpub København for it's relaxed atmosphere, and I think the beers are quite well crafted. I wasn't as impressed as the first time, but still, I enjoyed them all. Time to spread my affections though.

I had been advised to try The Lord Nelson, which wasn't too far away, although I did walk past it on the other side of the street as it's down a set of steps. For your convenience, the photo to the left shows what it looks like in the daylight. This felt like quite a different place. Dark, with a small bar, four customers, two at the bar, two at a tall table close by, and the English bar woman, or girl, whichever is most PC. One of the chaps at the bar was a musician, and he was begging the girl behind the bar to play one of his songs. Kinda Dylan-ish, and some interesting lyrics like “I'll take a shower for you... I'll brush my teeth for you so you don't have to learn what it's like to kiss a pig”. Inspired!

While I listened to them chat and argue about who should choose the next set of songs, I got a Mikkeller Single Hop Centennial IPA, quite a heavy hitter. It tastes fruity, yeasty and hoppy in that sorbet with orange-pith supreme. A medium body supports tis, but to be honest, I felt I was being a bit bludgeoned. I love really hoppy beers, but I was struggling with this. I blame my cold and full belly.

I chatted with the musician a bit, but after his companion left, the remaining patrons and the bar girl (whose boyfriend was one of those at the tall table) coalesced into a little group, and it really felt like I was intruding. I had a smoke, finished my beer and headed to bed, tired and happy.

I still get shocked when I think of the price of beer in Copenhagen. Bloody hell!


Paul Bailey said...

How much were the beers then? Would like to visit Denmark, but not if I need a mortgage to buy a pint!

Barry M said...

For a little perspective, a 300ml glass of beer in the Brewpub cost 38 Kr, which is a touch over €5, or about £4.45. I'll have to find receipts for other places (if I got them!).

Beer Sagas said...

Nice travel report. I will be back in Copenhagen in July, and am ready to visit the brewpub again. I have been there once, but that day I was driving, so I did not try any beers.

Beers are expensive all over Scandinavia, and also in brewpubs. I was recently in Trondheim, Norway and paid 57 NOK for 0.45 litres of IPA at the local brewpub. That is nearly 7 EUR.

Barry M said...

Thanks! I tried not to think about the price too much, and I think I have some sort of mental filter, as I instantly forget the price after paying. I got an English cask ale the next night, and I think it cost me about €6.70 for a pint of the stuff. Counting the cost after a couple of days makes me wince. Still, I'm always happy to visit there. Hopefully next time it won't be February again! :D

I've yet to visit Norway. Gotta see if I can arrange a business trip there :D

Nice bit of travel and stuff on your own blog! Am now following :)

Beer Sagas said...

Thanks for the kind words about my blog. I really appreciate it.

Norway can be great, and I believe your mental filter will be neccessary to use if you come here.

Myself, I am off to Prague next month. I am really looking forward to it.