Food

2016: Best Beer Bar

For the second year now, the danish beer bloggers are doing a "best of..." series. Started by Stovt last year, it's being done all over again, with some minor changes in the titles, but still with a view at the difference in beer bloggers views and experiences.

On a cold winter night, this is the view that greats you.

On a cold winter night, this is the view that greats you.

Choosing the best beer bar seems counter intuitive, since I've been managing a bar for most of the year. After all, "my bar" would have to be my favourite, right? In Copenhagen, there's a lot of competition and some of these bars have been around for years and years. Fermentoren and Ølbaren are old favorites, but newcomers such as Himmeriget and Bootleggers are ready to steal my attention.

Future additions seems to make it even harder to chose my favourite for next year, but more on that later...

A certain memory keeps popping into my brain when I try to pick a favourite. It stands out because it was a combination of so many things, that just worked in perfect unison. And the fact that I wasn't working there might've been factor for it winning the title.

Beer is in focus, but add in the share-friendly dishes from the kitchen, the amazing view and of course the wonderful presence of some great, passionate people behind the bar. You got yourself a winner! It doesn't make it worse that my wife was on the other side of the table, the first time i visited.

If the above picture hasn't given it away yet, my favorite bar in 2016 is Penyllan Bar & Kitchen...

And the reason is mainly because of the first visit I had there. It was my wedding anniversary and I was having dinner with my wife. The food and beer was perfect, but the detail was in the pairings. Most beers on tap came from Beer Here, which is one of the few breweries I'll order with no hesitation, but rumors have it that Penyllan is launching soon... Perhaps? Maybe...? Hopefully... 

Either way, everything just works and I would recommend anyone to go there if they want an experience beyond amazing. Especially, but not limited to, beer drinkers.

Food connoisseurs will find a menu bringing you directly to heaven. I'm still dreaming about the chocolate cake paired with the Imperial Stout (Black Luck with Ghost Brewing).  

If you're more into cocktails you'll be treated great too. With barrel aged Negroni and Old Fashioned, you're in for a special treat although the Gin & Tonic worked as a perfect nightcap for us. Made with homemade tonic, there's simply not anything like it out there!

Add the carefully selected beer list and highlight the view one last time and I wish I could never leave Bornholm! 

Luksus, Brooklyn NY

The whole foodie scene is still fairly new to me, I feel slightly out of my comfort zone when I eat at places that carry the famous Michelin star. Last year I spent six days in Belgium on a press tour where I was treated to fine dinners at several of these places. Some with stars, and some that were "just highly acclaimed". I just don't seem to talk the talk or walk the walk.  

But when I got the opportunity to dine with the former Noma chef at a restaurant focused only on beer pairings (there's literally no wine in there!) I couldn't resist. 

While waiting for the restaurant to open up I got a beer in the front bar, Tørst. That's Thirst for you non-Danes out there. 

Drinking Evil Twin Low Life

Drinking Evil Twin Low Life

First of all, the pictures that I took of the plates doesn't come anywhere near the level of perfection that was put in front of me, why I've chose only a very few of them here. 

At the same time I was overwhelmed with impressions and tastes (and alcohol) so trying to keep all my thoughts together seemed impossible when I got back to my hotel room. 

I do however remember how much at home I felt. In this new city, in a different country among a bunch of people I'd never met, I felt more at home than anywhere else. As a first time lone traveler, it felt very new to me, and I believe I owe most of that to Daniel (Burns) and the excellent staff at Luksus. 

Summer Saison from Blackberry Farm and Daniel Burns working his magic. 

Summer Saison from Blackberry Farm and Daniel Burns working his magic. 

I had front row seats to the kitchen where Daniel was working, so we got to chat about food, beer and life in Denmark. A warm and embracing conversation was all it took, I just hope Daniel could focus on his work while I was talking. 

All courses came with a carefully curated beer pairing and was spot on almost every time. I sensed a slight overdose on citrus among my first pairing, but that's only if I'm nitpicking. At work I do pairings for our eating guests as well, so I take notes when I see something working (or not working).  

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The beers selected were from all over the place. Different styles, different countries, yet all tasty!

My night didn't seem to end after the dessert though, a frothy, delicious flødebolle most Danes would only dream of creating. I left Daniel, my new friends next to me and went back into the bar, where another chef from Luksus was sitting. 

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Michael, who's been working at Luksus for quite some time have a mutual friend with me (thanks for the introduction Tyler!) so I was in for another chat about food and beer. It's incredible how those two things can bring strangers together. 

I got a tour of the kitchen downstairs and even peeked into the beer room. Any geeks dream coming true - and I have trouble thanking Michael enough for that I need to bring him a beer next time I come back to New York and Luksus/Tørst, he definetly deserves that. 

Of course I'll need to go back... If not for the food, then for the beers. There might be Speedway Stout on tap next time as well.

Casual, Malmö

I've been a frequent visitor at Casual in Malmö. All of my previous visits have had one thing in common - a massive hangover. This time around, I'm eating here before heading out for heavy drinking, before I ruin my tastebuds! 

Open

Open

Because, we might as well get it out of the way, Casual deserves that! There's a reason they were invited for one of the first years of Copenhagen Beer Celebration. That's what lured me into their little diner looking establishment the first time around, as I never paid them a visit during the celebration. 

When I enter I'm surprised at how few people are here. It's a Friday afternoon, which in Sweden means that everyone is out getting their "after work". Although it is more a burger joint than a beer bar, they do have quite a good selection of craft beer at hand. Mostly Mikkeller and Omnipollo with some To Øl sprinkles on top, not a bad lineup at all.  

Classic with tomato, salad, onion and dressing

Classic with tomato, salad, onion and dressing

I order a "Classic" for myself while my friend Pascal, who I teamed up with for the occasion, ask for a plate of fish and chips. He's girlfriend Karoline makes the far more obvious choice with a double cheese.

all of the above is ordered with fries. Is now a good time to talk about how much I love fries?! 

Maybe next time... 

Cream Ale and lovely Swedish people! 

Cream Ale and lovely Swedish people! 

My burger is accompanied by a Cream Ale from Mikkeller, that I've had before. It's one of the better in recent memory from the always busy gypsy, and with its low bitterness and mellowed malt base, it should be a perfect match for my classic burger. 

Grease and cream!

Grease and cream!

And it is! Greasy burgers and Cream Ales are my new favorite pairing. It works much better than anticipated and it almost makes me not pay attention to how unclean my glass is. Bubbles cling to the inside of my glass like the ketchup clings to my fries. 

It's easy to forget though, and with a greasy burger like this, should I really be complaining? 

Because greasy is the best way to describe The burgers at Casual. The ingredients seem fresh and of good quality although it comes to a halt in the taste department. My non-hangover tastebuds craves more of the good stuff, a little more spice would work wonders!

I want some of this in my burger next time

I want some of this in my burger next time

It doesn't ruin my experience, but I can think of at least one place I'd probably go more than Casual, although that also has to do with location. Tommy's!

More about Tommy another day! 

Useless fact, Pascal is a Libra.  

Useless fact, Pascal is a Libra.  

I end my visit with a taste of Pascals dessert, an apple pie served in an unlikely fashion and a Zodiac from omnipollo served in proper glassware.