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Oakes Weekly -- August 26, 2004

Stockholm - Part Two
Oakes Weekly August 26, 2004      
Written by Oakes

Vancouver, CANADA -

Dr. Beer, Dr. Nate, omhper, Jacob Lovenlund, Martin Kubert, slimjimdrinker, Ungstrup, madsberg, joss, rickgordon, and a few local beer lovers Per-Erik, Oscar and Bjöumlrn all went on a pub crawl starting Saturday afternoon.

The first stop was the Ardbeg Room. With a name like that, how can you go wrong? No sooner had we settled into our seats than a remarkable bottle appeared in front of Per. It was the barrel-aged version of Smöumlrpundet Porter from Nynäumlshamns. The neck tag was affixed with a smoked string (which I still have). This beer has solidified my belief that Nynäumlshamns Äringngbryggeri is one of the world’s best. I liked their beers when I was first introduced to them, but after Pickla Pils the previous night, they now were credited with two world-class beers in my books. The porter is very rich and complex. The whisky notes come through as an accent. It is one of the best-balanced beers I’ve ever had, and by far and away the best-balanced barrel-aged beer. The De Dolle ones get a lot of press because they’re sold in the US (and they’re not bad), but they’ve got a long way to go before matching the subtlety and balance of Smöumlrpundet Fatlagrad.

Food arrived in the form of raggmunk - thin potato pancakes with lingonberries and bacon. I noticed other people’s pancakes were a little burnt, but mine were fine and I licked my plate clean.

From there, we went to Oliver Twist, which specializes in British cask ales and US micros. Suffice to say, I was less excited than most at the beer list, having had most of them already (and truth be told they were largely second tier). Still, it’s strange to see experienced beer drinkers getting excited about the prospect of having their first-ever Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Of course, I was excited at my first SNPA, too, but I can hardly remember that day, so many years ago.

Next stop was a quick one at Soldaten Svejk, a Czech bar. Svijany was the only reasonably rare offering, but a drunken bachelor party karaoke done by a guy decked out in Pride Parade finery made it a worthwhile place to drink a tasty Bernard Svetly Lezak.

While the rest of the crew settled into Akkurat, I went on an extended and very frustrating walking tour of Stockholm trying to find a bank machine that would accept my bank card.

So I was in need of a mood-changer when I finally returned to Akkurat. How about Westmalle Extra? De Cam Oude Lambiek? Drie Fonteinen 50/50? DF Schaarbekse Kriek? Girardin Lambic? (OK, that one was a bit off but I seldom get to try unblended lambic). Girardin Faro? De Cam Kriek? Boon Jonge Lambiek? Mort Subite Faro? Sure, we went to some other bars after that, but man, what can you say about Akkurat? This was the tail end of their lambic festival, too. The heart of it was already done with. We’d be returning two days later for a vintage tasting.

This was surely one of the finest pub crawls I’ve ever attended. The variety of establishments, from the posh Ardbeg Room to the unpretentious Soldaten Svejk, to the gloriously indulgent Akkurat would be hard to find in any other city. The variety of beers - with all the bars visited having completely different selections from one another - is unrivalled even in the US. Even the free samples of smoked reindeer were heavenly. So at the end of the night, drunk and tired, sipping on lagers on the Blue Door, everybody was so happy that even a Pripps Blå would have tasted pretty good. Not that we’d have bothered, because it was an early morning on Sunday to prepare for the main event - the 12 hour tasting session. But that’s a whole other article...



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start quote Still, it’s strange to see experienced beer drinkers getting excited about the prospect of having their first-ever Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. end quote