July 7, 2017

Five for Friday: Finnish beer flavours

Finns are making a name for themselves with local brands in the renaissance of craft brewing around the world.
Finns are making a name for themselves with local brands in the renaissance of craft brewing around the world.

Craft Beer Helsinki, a festival for beer enthusiasts, introduces Finnish microbreweries and their products to the general public this week. We took a sip of the abundant selection.

It is all beer and skittles in central Helsinki this weekend, as Craft Beer Helsinki festival uncorks the fascinating world of locally brewed beer from near and far. There are 15 Finnish craft breweries, along with international ones, serving their goodies.

Our staff pounded some beers and came by intriguing pieces from the prospering Finnish craft beer scene.

Maku Brewing

The traditional (and strong!) Finnish sahti is a rarity even in the domestic market. Maku Brewing, set up in 2014, is one of the honourable few producing it.

Sahti has kept its mysterious character, because it is difficult to brew,” CEO Jussi Tamminen explains. “The traditional method and ingredients are so demanding that most breweries are not willing to take the steps needed. We wanted to try our wings, make authentic sahti and sustain the rich Finnish beer heritage.”

Pyynikki Craft Brewery

Cracking open a cold one is this brewery’s business, and business is good. After being awarded a gold medal at the Global Craft Beer Award in 2014 and another at the World Beer Idol contest earlier this year, these folks reach for the sky with their novel recipes.

“We have a new formula for upcoming competitions; we use the solera method to brew imperial stout that has been matured in Bourbon barrels,” administrative director Rauno Pere reveals.

Vallilan panimo

Vallilan panimo is a harbinger when it comes to hemp beer. One could say they have launched a completely new style of beer with their brand Orion, a pale ale flavoured with hemp leaves and seeds.

“We ran into a Finnish hemp fibre producer, who was willing to provide us with fresh domestic Finola hemp,” partner Lauri Korhonen says. “Everything came together pretty easily, and we are really pleased with the result.”

Malmgård Brewery

Not only beer, but also craft cider may be at the summit of the success of Malmgård Brewery. There are plenty of interesting cider flavours to discover at the beer festival as well.

“We mainly use ingredients that have been grown in the surroundings of Malmgård’s own mansion,” tells Stefan Nyman, sales and marketing director. “The ingredients we use in our beers and ciders, such as spelt and juniper, are truly locally grown.”

Fat Lizard Brewing

Fat Lizard Brewing is an indie brewery with a funky name, the etymology of which was revealed to us recently. It specialises in extremely fresh and drinkable beers.

“All the beer we brew is vegan, whereas surprisingly many breweries use additives of animal origin,” brewer Tuomas Koskipää explains. “We supply everything we produce directly to our clients to ensure our beer remains fresh once served.”