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Monday, 01 September 2008

Beer Today, More Tomorrow: Aarhus, Denmark - Page 2

Written by Ben Keene
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“If you like beer, you should try the Cockney Pub.” This statement caught me off guard for two reasons: first, because I was still trying to understand how it happened that I was able to buy a bottle of alcohol in Den Gamle By, Denmark’s largest and most popular museum, and second, because the tall, aproned man smiling at me from his merchant’s stall wasn’t talking about another exhibit elsewhere within the Old City’s limits. On the contrary, he had just offered the name of a local bar to an out-of-towner. A tourist who apparently looked like he could use a drink. And just like that this stranger—David, as he later introduced himself—became my teacher, launching into a quick lesson on Danish beer.

horsesArmed with the information I collected from David, I decided that a short beer tour might actually be a fun way to explore my destination. Planning to sample the numerous local brews on tap in this lively and youthful university town, I met my Norwegian friend Cathrine the next day to begin our evening in the Latin Quarter. In order to make it to last call I knew we would need some food, so we stopped at the Saint Clemens Brewery to fill up with a warm, hearty meal.

Stepping into the spacious interior of the Bryggeriet, Cathrine and I joined a boisterous Friday night crowd milling around the brass counter in front as we waited for an open table. Twenty minutes later a waiter in a spruce colored shirt and black pants seated us in a well-lit corner occupied by several other couples and a number of potted plants. Choosing from a list of four beers brewed on the premises (honey ale, pilsner, dark lager, and ginger beer) we each elected to sample a half-liter of two different varieties, and weren’t the least bit disappointed.

My favorite was the smooth and slightly sweet honey ale, while Cathrine opted for the crisp, refreshing ginger beer. In fact, she left with a 2-liter growler (about half a gallon) heavy with the fermented beverage. Thirsty trekkers take note: Saint Clemens doesn’t skimp on the menu either—we found the food exceptional, with many of the entrees transcending pub fare to distinguish themselves as gourmet dishes.

With dinner finished, we continued to the Cockney Pub. It wasn’t much later than 10pm, nevertheless the tiny space was already packed: passage to the bar itself was obstructed by nearly a dozen beer connoisseurs, and no one looked as if they would be moving anytime soon. Wriggling my way between two large mustachioed men, I managed to get the busy bartender’s attention long enough to order a Viborg Imperial Stout for myself and a Skands Ein Bock for my friend to the tune of 80 Kroner, or about $14 at the current exchange rate. Not a cheap purchase for the traveler on a budget.

Each pint brimmed with a range of complex flavors that quickly pushed away any concerns about expense. Although we only stayed for one more round before wandering off to find another watering hole; I could have returned to the Cockney Pub every night for a week before I’d tried their entire selection. Not only is it extensive, they also feature “guest beers” on a regular basis.flag

Looking back on those three days, I realized that there had really only been enough time to scratch the foamy surface of the thriving Danish beer culture. Sure I’d lingered over lagers and smiled sipping many a stout, and yet I still had much to learn before I could think of myself as someone who had acquired any kind of authoritative knowledge on the subject. Even if I never become an expert on Scandinavian brews, I can say with confidence that Aarhus is a city worth visiting. It hardly matters if it’s shopping or nightlife, art or music, or perhaps your inner tippler that provides the motivation. Just go. And while you’re there you should try the Cockney Pub.

Where to Go for Good Danish Beer:

Saint Clemens Brewery

Kannikegade 10-12

http://www.a-h-b.dk /engelsk/default.asp

Cockney Pub

Maren Smeds Gyde 8 & Sct. Clemens Stræde

http://www.cockneypub.dk

Sherlock Holmes Pub

Frederiksgade 76d

http://www.sherlock-holmes.dk/ RAINBOW

Ris Ras filliongongong

Mejlgade 24

http://www.risras.dk

©Ben Keene

(Page 2 of 2)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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