IMBC on the road: Copenhagen Beer Celebration

With the tickets purchased back in early November 2012, it didn’t seem possible that six months had gone by so quickly, because the anticipation for CBC had been huge from the minute tickets went on sale. In the intervening months, looking at the brewery announcements, excitement grew steadily.

Finally, on Friday, 3 May, 2013, beer aficionados from all over the world gathered at Sparta Hallen in Copenhagen to have their taste buds dazzled. Wristbands secured after a short queue, and it was into the breach!

It seemed only fitting to start the day with a Doubleblueberryspontanale from the lovely hosts, Mikkeller. From a fruit stout with made with the indigenous Brasilian fruit atemoia, to a cachaça barrel aged barley wine, Way Beer from Brasil were quite the discovery. The number of sours, saisons, and barrel-aged beers was astounding, and the small measures proved to be the key in keeping up with all the high ABV beers. A variety of food stalls rounded out the hall, with risotto, cheese to compliment the beery flavours, chili, hot dogs, and fish cakes with traditional Danish ‘rugbrød’ to help mop up the beer. Finally, the excellent Coffee Collective were on hand to offer caffeinated support.

Another beery highlight was Firestone Walker’s Sixteenth anniversary beer. Blended with eight different Firestone Walker beers, then barrel aged, this imperial stout was immense, with rich vanilla and chocolate notes, and a definite sipping beer.

With beers from Stillwater Artisanal, Westbrook, Amagher Bryghus, ToØl, Jester King, Boxing Cat, Mountain Goat, Three Floyds… and many more, it was difficult not to become giddier than a child in a sweet shop.

Apart from just working one’s way through the bars, there were seminars to attend. Friday’s ‘Session IPA’ seminar, featuring brewers from Kuhnhenn, Founders, Firestone Walker, and Cigar City, turned out to mostly focus on ‘regular’ IPAs, different hopping rates, and each brewery’s IPA recipe evolution.

Saturday’s afternoon sour yeast seminar with Troels Prahl of White Labs and Chad Yakobson of Crooked Stave proved challenging after hitting the Saturday early session, but tasting what the White Labs testing lab produces, not to mention Crooked Stave, was too great an opportunity to pass up. For home brewers and professional brewers, this was surely a most interesting and inspiring seminar. Undoubtedly, there is lots more room for sour and barrel-aged beers produced both in the UK and elsewhere — at least one hopes there will be more readily available soon!

After a full day of supping, the intrepid continued on to the wonderful Mikkeller Bar and the latest addition to the Mikkeller family, the astounding (40 taps, oodles of bottles, spoiled for choice doesn’t even come close) Mikkeller and Friends.

Highlighting all that is innovative, exciting, and experimental in brewing today, CBC pushed the boundaries of palates in the most relaxing and enjoyable way. Thanks to everyone involved for making it happen! Beer education par excellence.

Words and photos by Claudia Asch

Leave a Reply