Tag Archives: Finland

Day 12 – Browar Wososz and Humalove Brewing – Pukki

Well folks, we are half-way through this year’s advent calendar. It’s been a pretty good one this year to be honest. The beers have been good, the styles interesting and the locations pretty spread out. I’ve really been enjoying the first half and looking forward for the second.

Today’s beer is a collaboration between a polish brewery, Browar Wasoz, and a Finnish brewery, Humalove Brewing. It’s a smoked “grodziskie” beer with spruce coming in at a whopping 3% ABV. Talk about a light beer.

The first brewery in this collaboration is Browar Wasoz, located in Konopiska, Poland. Founded in 1994 as one of the first modern small brewhouses, this brewery has grown in brewing capacity since it’s founding. While they did run into some difficulty along their journey causing an interruption in their brewing, in June of 2014 they ramped things back up with an even bigger capacity. Currently they have a 35hl brewhouse and 6 fermentation tanks capable of taking 70hl each. They also have 15 lagering tanks, each with a 70hl capacity and 2 other tanks with 40hl capacity each. Needless to say, they’ve got room for a lot of beer. They currently brew 12 different beers ranging from a classic Pils to a gooseberry sour.

This space has allowed for them to collaborate and offer space to other breweries who may be in need. This is something they’ve done with this beer, working with Finnish brewery Humalove, to create our special advent calendar beer.

Humalove is a very small brewery located in Helsinki, Finland.  Currently they only produce two beers, an 80 IBU IPA called “First Love” and a Lingonberry Rye Ale coming in at 60IBU. Besides the fact that they don’t have a set brewery and tend to brew at other breweries (hence the collaboration) there isn’t much more detail than that about them. So, let’s get to the beer.

Grodziskie is a historical polish style of beer that is made from oak-smoked wheat malts. This style is unique to Poland and is typically a very clear golden colour with a very low alcohol content. Grodziskie was brewed from wheat malt that was dried by circulating oak smoke through the grains. The smokiness of the grain and the mineral profile of the water used to brew the beverage gave the style its characteristic flavor. Breweries will tend to use whatever local hop they are able to source. The beer was originally produced by brewers in the town of Grodzisk Wielkopolski in the 14th or 15th century. A brewers’ guild was established to maintain high quality standards and the product developed a good reputation in the surrounding cities and neighboring countries. At the peak of its fame, it was exported to 37 countries and was regarded as an exceptionally good beer.

This one has also had the addition of spruce, one of my favorite things to play around with in beer, and so I’m excited to see how this turned out. Let’s get to it.

Appearance – Pours a slightly hazy golden with a white head that fades quickly.
Smell – Smells of smoked wood with some notes of citrus zest.
Taste – Tastes lightly smoked with a subtle hint of citrus fruit and some very subtle piney notes from the spruce.
Mouth feel – Light body, light carbonation, smoky all the way through with a subtle bitter/smoky finish.
Overall – First time trying this style. First the description of it to a T. Light, smoky, crisp.
Do I like it?
– I’m don’t always like smoky beers if the smoke is overpowering. I’ve had some rauchbiers that taste like inhaling a campfire. The subtleness of this beer is quite refreshing and I enjoyed it.

 

 

Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 2

Beer 2

I could hardly sleep last night.  It’s going to be a long month of excitement as I anticipate what the next beer will be.  It’s like getting to open a little gift every morning that is something I know I will enjoy.  Today was not different.  As soon as I woke up I ran downstairs, opened day number 2 and pulled out my beer.  Today’s beer is the Hippa Heikki Extra Special Bitter from Panimo & Tislaamo Teerenpeli in Lahti Finland.

This brewery is located 107 km inland from Helsinki in the town of Lahti. Lahti is the capital of the region and is located on a bay at the southern end of Lake Vesijärvi.  The work Lahti in Finnish actually means “bay.” They are a microbrewery that produces over 20 different styles of beer.  Sadly their website is in Finnish, a language I have yet to learn, and so I was unable to garner much more information on them then that.

Extra Special Bitters are essentially more aggressive and balanced bitters.  Bitters are the British term used for Pale Ales and so are typically on the hoppy end of the beer spectrum.  ESBs tend to blend better the bitter hoppy notes with the sweet malty notes while not being too overpowering on one side or the other.  Despite having the word bitter in its name, ESBs are actually not that bitter as the key to a good ESB is balance.  Colors range from dark gold to brown and alcohol content is usually between 4%-7%.  The one I am tasting is right in the range at 4.7%.

Rating: 63/100

Appearance: Dark gold in colour with about 1” of head that quickly dissipates leaving small amount on the surface.
Smell: Citrus notes with hints apple and earthy tones.  Malty, toasted caramel with moderate hop.
Taste: Crisp bitter front with some hints of sweetness from the malt.  Bitterness lingers and is somewhat unpleasant.
Mouth feel: Body is medium with oily mouth feel and soft carbonation.
Overall: Not overly pleasant.  Bitterness is there but does not move into the sweetness.  The finish on this beer is one of an unpleasant bitterness that isn’t overly appealing. This particular ESB is not overly balanced and is not very strong beer for the style.
Do I like it: I am a big fan of bitterness in my beers.  I love the lingering bitterness that comes with hops.  I do not, however, like this beer.  The overall beer reminds me of a bitterer Molson Canadian.  It is a bit too light on flavour for me and doesn’t have much complexity.  It’s not a “bad” beer, but I don’t like it.

This is the second beer from a Scandinavian country in as many days. This one was not as strong as the first, but I suppose they aren’t all going to all-stars.  I wonder if the locations will be grouped together like this as the calendar continues.  We shall see.