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European Vacation Part II – The Swedish Tale (another long one)

Posted by Cornelia on 10/04/2002 09:28:42 AM

Where were we? Oh yeah, Stockholm. After settling our belongings Ray called Bjorn to find out at which pub the guys wanted to meet. We met a trio of Swedish beer lovers at the 2001 GBBF – brothers Anders, Bjorn and Christian. We saw them again at the 2001 24 Hours where we met other Swedish beer lovers who had made the trip to Antwerp. Bjorn and Ray settled on the Akkurat and we headed back into Stockholm via the metro. After a few wrong turns and directions from a bouncer in front of a pub, we found the Akkurat, brothers A & B and another fellow from the Antwerp connection, Lennert. We spent a few hours drinking some great beers (Jamtlands Heaven, Jamtlands Fallen Angel, Jamtlands Hell, Cantillon Soliel de Minuit – only available at Akkurat, Achel Brune and Nynäshamns Sotholmen Stout. This is a world class beer pub (www.akkurat.se) with close to 20 handpumps, 20 or so other drafts and an amazing selection of bottled beers. They had two beer lists – the regular and the aged beers. The selection was phenomenal (see website even if it is in Swedish) – even more so considering it was in Sweden and not Belgium or England. We traded some American beers and breweriana for Swedish and Danish beers. As we talked about the previous week and things we would do in Stockholm, I mentioned that Ray and I couldn’t come out and play on Friday until we had found a laundromat and gotten the laundry done. Imagine the looks on our faces when we were informed there weren’t any laundries in Sweden. What? It seems that virtually everyone has there own laundry facilities. And sure enough, when we checked our Lonely Planet Stockholm guide the words “virtually nonexistent” were used to describe laundry service. Another plan down the tubes. We decided to meet back at Akkurat at noon for lunch and then we would head over to the Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival. Lennert escorted us back to the metro and we caught the last train to the hotel. Once back at the hotel, we decided to take one pair of jeans each down for the hotel laundry service ($9.50 a piece for cleaning) since they don’t handwash or air dry very well. We then spent 2 hours washing clothes in the sink, hanging them all over the bathroom and enjoying a nicely chilled Fantome. We also discovered that Ray forgot the digital line tester and didn’t want to hook up the PC without knowing. There was a free internet connected workstation in the lobby so it wasn’t a big hardship.

Friday morning we made our way through the wind and rain back to Akkurat by noon. We had a great and surprisingly inexpensive lunch accompanied by cask Isle of Arran Blonde and Harviestoun Navigator. We discovered very early on that Sweden is expensive (a bottled Arabier was 62 SEK or about 6 Euro, a bottled Swedish micro ran 45 SEK or 4.50 Euro – at least the math was easy!) While lunching, the manager, Sten, came in. Bjorn spoke with him a minute and to our surprise he brought out two of the Jamtlands Heaven/Hell stemmed glasses I had coveted as gifts for Bjorn’s American friends. We left Akkurat with Lennert in the lead and made our way to Oliver Twist, a sister pub to the Akkurat. This is another great pub but not in the same league as Akkurat. We shared Wood’s Shropshire Lad Bitter, Dorothy Goodbody’s Golden Ale and Bushy’s Ale of Man. A fellow sitting next to us finally struck up a conversation as we were gathering our coats to meet the bus out to the festival. He had “noticed” we were Americans and wanted to tell us about the beer festival he organizes in Helsinki, Finland. We found we even had a common acquaintance but had to rush off so as not to miss the bus.

We made it to the festival right at opening time, paid the admission, secured our tasting glasses (full size glasses with different size pour markings) and programs and began sampling at the Nynäshamns Angbryggeri (means steam brewery) stand. Beers here were Landsort Lager, Bedaro Bitter (my favorite), Indianviken Pale Ale, Alo ale, Yttre Gaarden (average Belgian wit), and Malsten Mild. Ray and I were very impressed at the setup for this festival. Each stand was like a mini-bar in itself – not a couple of tables with plastic cloths like so many American festivals. Stands were sponsored by breweries, distilleries, distributors or bars. We made our way through to the Oliver Twist bar as they were serving a wide selection of Scottish craft beers. We had samples of Inveralmond’s Ossian's Ale and Lia Fail. While the guys talked, I wandered through the next room to look at the setup. Suddenly, a fellow is waving across the room as if he knows me. It was Lasse, another fellow we met in Antwerp. After wandering back to the main hall, we run into Benny, one more beer tripper from Antwerp. It was starting to feel like home (actually we run into fewer people we know when going out at home). We followed Benny over to the Swedish Homebrew Federation’s stand and sampled some great homebrew. Ray even bought a t-shirt to wear to homebrew meetings back home. We’re all standing around talking when Kim Anderson (the Danish fellow traveling with the FOSSILS earlier) rounds the corner, sees us, sees brothers A and B and comments “these are the guys you know?!” The beer world is pretty small it seems. Getting hungry, Ray and I decided on the highly recommended ground moose pitas. Pretty good and certainly the first time I have eaten moose. The homebrewers’ stand was directly across from the Nils Oscar stand. While there we sampled Nils Oscar Kalasol, Imperial Stout, Barleywine and Julol 2002. Some other beers I have checked in the program were Jamtlands Barnsten, Jamtlands Pilgrim Ale, Jamtlands Postiljon, Jamtlands Mammut, Gamla Stans Farskol. I’m sure there were others that weren’t checked off as there was much sharing about of samples. After about three hours, we decided to head out as it was getting very crowded. We had sampled quite a few of the Swedish micros as was our goal. On the way out we stopped and purchased a beer festival pin and grabbed some free stickers. With Lennert once again in the lead (he has now become the tour guide), we catch the bus back into Stockholm. Lennert led us to a Czech pub called Soldaten Svejk (soldier) Ostgotagatan – this is missing some of the umlauts so prevalent in Swedish. Ray and I ordered a Primator (brewery unknown) thinking doppelbock only to find it was an ordinary Czech lager, nothing to get excited about though the group decided it was the best choice among us. It was a very basic bar and with no available seats and smoke almost thick enough to count as fog. Though interesting, definitely a one beer stop. Lennert led us next to The Bishop’s Arms. I neglected to write down what we drank here but the glasses were neat. They were straight Imperial pints marked with Ladies at about 1/3, Gents at about 2/3 and Pigs at the rim. While Bjorn was off to the toilets, he stopped by the bar and asked if he could have two for his American friends and they gave them to him. What a guy! In the space of about 10 hours we’ve acquired 6 full-size glasses to get home. At least they were lighter than beer!

We made our way back to Akkurat following the intrepid Lennert. I found us a table in non-smoking (yeah!) and we got a couple of orders of nachos. Ray and I had a Traquair Jacobite 1995 (awesome) and Traquair 1000th brew (also awesome). While sipping on those, a glass each of Jamtlands Heaven and Hell appeared on our table compliments of the management.

During the evening’s conversations we discovered that Anders was a big fan of many of the same American music artists that we were. He is very partial to the musicians from Austin. Ray had burned copies of six CDs (Southern Culture on the Skids, Marty Jones and the Pork Boiling Poor Boys, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Candye Kane, Dan Baird and Moxy Fruvous) for us to use in the rental car just in case it had a CD player. We decided to pass them on to Anders the next day along with a copy of the Louisiana music magazine, Offbeat, I had finished reading.

We discussed the next day’s activities and decided that we wouldn’t try to coordinate anything. The way we kept running into the guys in London and Antwerp, we knew it was inevitable we would see them the next day. Once again, Lennert escorted us back to the metro to catch the last train out.

Saturday we slept in - not like we didn’t almost every other day. We started the day with a Carling Honingbeer Lennert had brought us - pretty average but a new beer nonetheless. We lunched at Oliver Twist enjoying a Jamtlands Postiljon ESB (Cascade hops) and Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted. After lunch we strolled about the Old Town looking into shops as we headed towards the canal tour area. We took the 90 minute canal tour around the main Stockholm islands. There were quite a few buildings pointed out and some history imparted. The most impressive thing was the amount of public park land. After the tour, we wandered back to the Old Town and into Wynstrom’s Pub for a draft Konig Ludwig Dunkel. Ok but I wish I had noticed the hefeweizen was also available. It was a pretty interesting pub with lots of nooks and crannies to sit in. We stayed in the front bar. A very nice gentleman sitting alone offered us his table and moved to the small rail area with stools. Our tourbook had noted that we would find the Swedish fairly unfriendly but it was definitely not true. Of course, we found ourselves sitting beside a fellow who seemed to have spent most of the week drinking. We know he was speaking English but the words did not make any sense. It could be why the other gentleman gave up the table. After one beer we moved on. Dinner called and we had a very nice one at the Siam Thai restaurant with Singha beer.

After dinner, we returned for an evening of beer at the Akkurat. No sooner than we had finished our first beers (cask Traquair Royal Stuart) and ordered the second (a 1998 Pere Noel served in the basket holder just like Belgium), in came the guys from their tourist day. I should mention they are from Malmo and Copenhagen, some 6 hours south of Stockholm, so they were playing tourist as well. We had a good laugh when we discovered they had lunched at the same Thai restaurant we had dinner. We’re still hitting the same places, our timing was just a little off. Our next round was Nils Oscar Kalasol and Ename Blonde. We were toying with the idea of calling it a night when a basket holding a 1998 Quelque Chose from Unibroue of Canada appeared once again compliments of the management. This was followed by another basket of beer – 1996 Gueuze Girardin Black. At this point our table is littered with baskets and we take some interesting photos (well hopefully interesting – I haven’t downloaded them yet). One more basket – 1986 Eylenbosch Lambiek Framboise and it was definitely time to depart. As we had missed the last train, Sten called us a trustworthy cab. We arranged to meet the guys the next day at noon to go to the Vasa Museum and then pub crawling.

Sunday began with a Carling Bock beer (very ordinary and that Carling yeast flavor) and us realizing we are coming down with colds – can’t let that stop us. We caught the metro into the Old Town and found a nice coffee shop for brunch. We were on time and began our tour with Lennert. We walked for nearly 30 minutes to the Vasa Museum. This is a museum about a wooden battleship built 1626-1628 that sunk in the harbor on its maiden voyage. It was recovered in 1968 (or there about) and restored (which took almost 30 years). It’s a very interesting story and a worthy museum – we spent almost two and a half hours there. It was mighty thirsty out by the time we left! Bjorn had disappeared about 30 minutes before we finished up in the museum. Seems he was meeting a girlfriend from the internet for the first time. She joined us a while in our pubcrawling,

After another 30 minute walk, we were at the Bull and Bear Inn for a late lunch and beer. The beers were draft Saison Dupont, draft Moinette, bottled Nils Oscar Julol 2001 (Christmas Scottish) and bottled Nils Oscar Julol 2000 (Christmas barleywine). The two Nils Oscar aged beers were outrageously expensive. I exclaimed to Ray when he told us what they cost “have you lost your mind?” He promptly responded “no, I put it away for safekeeping.” Lennert led us on another trek to Hornans Kok and Belgo Bar where we had Celis White, Floreffe Blonde, 2001 Leifman’s Goudenband and St. Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition. I didn’t really care for the atmosphere here. It was very stark and trendy – almost cold feeling. Next stop was MacKinley’s Bar, a great cozy place with more of the Swedish micros on draft than other places. Here we had Nynäshamns Indianvikens Pale Ale, Nynäshamns Bedaro Bitter, Jamtlands Postiljon ESB and Nils Oscar Kalasol. From here Lennert let us take the metro back to Oliver Twist for a nightcap. I think we both had another hoppy Jamtlands Postiljon ESB. We said our good-byes and caught the metro back to the hotel to repack. As we had been doing laundry our belongings were strewn all about. While packing we enjoyed a Jamtlands Pascal (Easter beer) and Jamtlands Julol (Christmas beer).

Monday we were up and out in time to catch the 11:00 metro to Central station. From there, we caught the express train to the airport, flew back to Brussels, caught the train to Brugge and grabbed a taxi to the DeGraeve B&B – all without mishap once again!

Stay tuned…European Vacation Part III – return to Belgium to follow.

European Vacation Part II – The Swedish Tale (another long one) - Cornelia, 10/04/02 09:28:42 AM
        Re: European Vacation Part II – The Swedish Tale (another long one) - John white, 10/04/02 07:01:11 PM
        Re: European Vacation Part II – The Swedish Tale (another long one) - Bill Coleman, 10/04/02 02:55:11 PM
                Aged list - Cornelia, 10/04/02 03:06:12 PM
        nice report n.f.m. - Jean H, 10/04/02 02:31:59 PM
        Re: European Vacation Part II – The Swedish Tale (another long one) - Josh Oakes, 10/04/02 11:47:50 AM
                Bushy's - Cornelia, 10/04/02 11:52:49 AM
                        Re: Bushy's - Josh Oakes, 10/04/02 03:12:59 PM
        Re: European Vacation Part II – The Swedish Tale (another long one) - Thom Aikman, 10/04/02 11:04:54 AM
                Pricey but a better beer selection than Iceland! nfm. - Cornelia, 10/04/02 11:23:45 AM
        Re: European Vacation Part II - Joris P., 10/04/02 09:40:54 AM

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