as told by BottleShop Wholesale Manager Pete Brissenden
I’d been to Copenhagen before, but only as a two day city break where museums, historical buildings and general sightseeing had been the agenda. I’d never really had a chance to dip into the beer culture at all, though previously I had queued fruitlessly for a table at Warpigs and stood in a very squashed Mikkeller bar on Viktoriagard.
This visit, our gold wristbands meant we could walk straight past the vast majority of the queue who had single session tickets and saunter to pretty much any stand we wanted, although even at 9.40am there were huge queues for Omnipollo’s soft serve beers, Tired Hands and Bokkereyder. We swerved the queues and headed straight to TRVE, Monkish and then onto Kernel to say hi to Evin and the lads.
From there, the tiny 5cl pours blend into one in my mind but having bumped into lots of brewers, brewery owners, customers and notable London drinkers, we beat a hasty retreat to Warpigs for lunch between the sessions. There is, as always, a huge queue for food in Warpigs and a shorter queue for the bar. Naturally, some of us jump in the food queue and the others head for the bar to ensure those queuing are refreshed. A few pints of Warpigs’ excellent house IPA Lazurite and an hour later, we have our food. I opt for a quarter pound of pulled pork, hot links, potato salad and spicy pickles. It is, I think the best BBQ I’ve eaten. Smoky, rich, and the pulled pork falls apart but still has texture, unlike so many of the sticky, sweet, grey mush so many places turn out.
Back for the second session I catch up with the Jester King guys and the guys from Fonta Flora who between them are making some of the best sour, wood aged beers in the world. The Wild ale with Blueberry and Hibiscus from Fonta Flora was one of my favourite beers of the festival. Andrew is in fact at their brewery this week looking to see if they’d like to export to us on our new East Coast Cold Chain route. Lots of beers later, the session ends. We jump in a cab to BRUS, ToOl’s brewpub and restaurant.
BRUS is packed, and we order beers and I opt for one of their huge selection of kegged cocktails. A Rhubarb, vodka and lemon served as a great palate refresher before a burger and (fermented) fries. I then head off for a few beers at Mikkeller and Friends with Kat and the other owners from TRVE. Copenhagen. I ducked out knowing I had another long day ahead and walked the hour back to my apartment in Sydhavnen.
Similar to the first day, the big queues are for Omnipollo, Bokkeryeder, 3 Floyds and a couple of others. I head to see Finback, Brewski, Dugges, Alefarm and ToOl - all breweries we distribute in the UK. I have a good catch up with Rich from Magic Rock who is pouring a beer ‘hopped’ with spruce needles from his next door neighbour’s garden. It is delicious and has an almost eucalyptus/minty/menthol cooling mouthfeel. Soon enough the first session was over and Andrew and I head to Mother round the corner for a huge bowl of restorative salad and a few slices of much needed pizza.
Back for the second session on the second day is a slightly more wonky affair, with well lubricated people dashing around for the last few festival pours of super rare beers. I have to admit it was the sheer number of things I’d tried rather than an excess of booze. We left the festival just before last orders were called to avoid the worst of the crush. From there we met up with the Staff from White Labs Copenhagen, some of whom I’ve worked with in previous roles. The rest of the evening is best left undocumented, but it involved many pints of Tipopils and me arriving back at my apartment at well after dawn with a flight only a couple of hours away …