OMH Helsinki Tour, part 2

At our visit to Helsinki we of course visited the Finnish alcohol monopoly Alko to buy out everything we hadn't already tried. So we came home with a large amountof Finnish bottles as well as some Belgian and a few from more unusual countries such as China and Russia. As usual we also added a few we found at home.

Finnish christmas beers (jouluolut): Dark lagers, all of them a lot less malty than the Swedish versions. None of the beers we tried stood out, most were in fact quite watery. An honourable mention however goes out to PUP Jouluolut, a lager as dark as Guinness, for it's nice look. It didn't have much flavour though...

Other Finnish beers: The Finnish beerscene seems to be almost completely dominated by a handfull of big breweries such as Sinebrychoff, Hartwall and Olvi, and honestly, with the remarkable excepetion of the outstanding Koff Porter I think none of their beers are anything worth looking out for. They are all light to medium bodied and with very low to medium hoppiness. None of the beers from these breweries deserves to be mentioned here, but we also tried a spicy lager, PUP Kellari IV. An interesting and unusual lager with ginger(?) flavours. Possibly this beer too was a bit on the thin side, but still clearly stood out above the rest.

The imported beer we found at Alko: The selection of foreign beer might not have been the widest, but at least it seems like a fair effort to pick out interesting beers from all over the world in different styles. Our favourite was Herold Psenicné a Czechish hefeweizen, but also the blonde Belgian abbey ale Corsendonk Agnus and the Bavarian rye beer Thurn und Taxis Roggen scored pretty good. The chewy and strong Scottish McEwan's Scottch Ale was one of my personal favourites, but wasn't appreciated by everyone. The Russian Peterhof Premium Lager from Vena breweries in S:t Petersburg was an OK lager. Rather malty and a bit (pleasantly) sourish. The Chinese Zhu Jiang were on the other hand not much too write home about, just another boring adjunct lager.

Beers bought in Sweden: Mostly low alcoholic stuff again. Noone really stood out, but Åbro Original 3.5, and Falcon Xmas 3.5 were fair attempts. Marston's is a brewery I'm not particularly fond of despite it's good reputation. Their beer tends to be rather industrial and not very complex. Their India Export was no exception. Very little hoppiness for being an India Pale Ale. A brewery that really does annoy me is the Swedish Fors Nya Bryggeri. They make up fake breweries and claim that their substandard lagers are brewed locally in these places. I will never buy their City Pilsner again! Pripps Light, klass II, a low alcoholic light beer (doesn't it sound delicious?), managed to grab the bottom position of this rating, despite really hard competition from masterpieces such as Faxe Free, a non-alcoholic menthol smelling Danish lager and the chemical experiment called Pripps Blå, klass II.

Finnish Sahti: Sahti is a traditional Finnish brew, made from rye and fermented with baking yeast; usually very strong and non carbonated. Thanks to a friend we managed to get hold of two different varieties of sahti. One of them, Finlandia Sahti, was less traditional in that it was rather sweet and rather weak (only 8.0%...). To me it reminded me a bit of a hefeweizen with it's banana and clove flavours. The other one, Sahti Mafia from Jalasjärvi, was more traditional, that is less sweet and stronger (9.0%). Almost a bit sourish, but still with the same kind of banana flavour, and very easy to drink. It was no problem to finish off the 2l bottle of this we had. The only problem is that now I wan't more of it... By far these two were the most interesting beers we tried this evening.

Beers rated at the Post-Helsinki rating 980117
88Herold Psenicné3.8553434445.2%Wheat beerCzech_Republic
161Sahti Mafia3.6525433549.0%SpecialFinland
238Corsendonk Agnus3.4643533427.5%Ale, Belgian styleBelgium
261PUP Kellari IV3.4234433345.2%Lager, DarkFinland
356Thurn und Taxis Roggen3.2743432434.7%SpecialGermany
364Finlandia Sahti3.2634431448.0%SpecialFinland
466Rubens Rood3.1044223434.0%Ale, Belgian styleBelgium
711De Koninck Cuvée2.7923432428.3%Ale, Belgian styleBelgium
758Hostan Granat2.7122334333.8%Lager, DarkCzech_Republic
810Åbro Original 3,52.6423 3   3.5%Lager, LightSweden
810Falcon Xmas 3,52.6423 3   3.5%Lager, DarkSweden
878Marston's India Export2.5823413245.5%Ale, Brittish styleEngland
882De Verboden Vrucht2.5723432318.8%Ale, Belgian styleBelgium
907Peterhof Premium Lager2.5333322234.5%Lager, LightRussia
967McEwan's Scotch Ale2.4134421118.5%Ale, Brittish styleScotland
985PUP Jouluolut2.3722322344.5%Lager, DarkFinland
993City Pilsner2.3522333225.0%Lager, LightSweden
1015Anderssons 2,82.3132 2   2.8%Lager, LightSweden
1085Vaakuna III2.1832132324.5%Lager, DarkFinland
1094Hartwall Jouluolut2.1631323224.5%Lager, DarkFinland
1110Olvi Strong2.1422231337.5%Lager, BockFinland
1116Koffin Vahvempi Jouluolut IV2.1222223235.5%Lager, DarkFinland
1132Koff Jouluolut III2.0732132224.0%Lager, DarkFinland
1168Nikolai Sinebrychoff III1.9921233224.5%Lager, LightFinland
1174Anderssons 3,51.9822 2   3.5%Lager, LightSweden
1188Tuborg Grøn 3,5*1.9731 2   3.5%Lager, LightDenmark
1192Ringnes Spesial*1.9521 3   3.5%Lager, LightNorway
1267Sandels Juhla-Olut1.6921132224.7%Lager, LightFinland
1267Lahden Erikois1.6921132225.1%Lager, LightFinland
1287Pripps Fat 3,51.6321 2   3.5%Lager, LightSweden
1295Tuborg Lys Grøn*1.6211 3   2.1%Lager, LightDenmark
1295Falcon, klass I1.6211 3   2.1%Lager, LightSweden
1301Olvi Jouluolut1.6121231124.7%Lager, DarkFinland
1302Olvi Special1.6022122214.5%Lager, LightFinland
1314Zhu Jiang1.5512221134.0%Lager, LightChina
1354Pripps Blå, klass I1.3121 1   2.1%Lager, LightSweden
1369Falcon Beer, klass II1.232112 112.8%Lager, LightSweden
1379Tesco Shandy1.081111 310.5%SpecialEngland
1384Pripps Blå, klass II0.9811 1   2.8%Lager, LightSweden
1384Faxe Free0.9811 1   0.0%Lager, LightDenmark
1388Pripps Light, klass II0.9510 2   2.8%Lager, LightSweden
Rated by: Johan Zetterlund, Per Samuelsson, Lars Samuelsson, Cecilai Gårdebäck, Anna Hultén, Lars Granström and Oscar Hansson

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Updated 98-02-06 Per Samuelsson