Craft beer in Gothenburg: Beerbliotek and BarlindBeer
Gothenburg is the craft beer capital of Sweden
Gothenburg, located on the west coast of Sweden, has grown into Sweden’s unofficial beer capital, and there are no less than 36 breweries in the city. To learn what the city has to offer, we interviewed Darryl De Necker, the chairman of the Gothenburg Brewers Guild (an organization for the development and co-operation of the breweries in the area), and one of the founders of Beerbliotek brewery. Naturally, we started by visiting Beerbliotek, where we talked about Swedish beer culture and craft beer in Gothenburg and surroundings, and tasted an excellent range of Beerbliotek beers from the brewery’s “beer library”.
Beerbiotek charms with a huge "library of beers"
Beerbliotek is a craft brewery founded in 2012 by four friends from different parts of the world, who shared the passion towards craft beer and experimental home-brewing, and the same, simple brewing philosophy; keep brewing new beers that they themselves would want to drink. The roots of the name of the brewery are in the Latin word bibliothēca, that means either library or a collection of books. Derived from that, Beerbliotek then stands for a beer library, or a collection of beer.
What started with a small home-brewing kit expanded quickly, and Beerbliotek brewery was opened in 2013 in Sockerbruket, an old sugar factory building in Gothenburg. The first beer brewed at the premises was “Black Ale Chili”, a Black IPA with a bit of a kick from chili, for sure not the most typical choice, don’t you think?! During the first year, Beerbliotek launched no less than 43 different beers, and even did the first exports abroad. In 2014 it was time to expand, and Beerbliotek rented a bigger warehouse and invested in new fermentation tanks. In 2015 they celebrated the 100th beer launch, and moved to a new location, bigger premises in Kungssten area in Gothenburg. The growth continued, and the Beerbliotek Brewery Tap Room was opened in 2016.
Since the beginning, Beerbliotek has produced a very wide range of beers, and keeps constantly launching new brews and doing collaborations too. The core series includes craft beers from light and easy Pilsners to hoppy IPAs and dark and strong Imperial Stouts. The best seller beer is a fresh and hoppy Session IPA called A Moment of Clarity (beer number #181), and the second most popular beer is Saison (#331), a malty and fruity Belgian-style Ale brewed in collaboration with White Labs Brewing Co from the US.
In addition to the core series and one-time brews, there are some seasonal beers and occasional come-back brews. And then there are also some barrel-aged beers; for example the Wood I Lie To You BA Barleywine that we tasted was delicious. To mention some of our other favorites, we fell for Sunset Studies NEIPA and also liked a lot for example 2112 Nitro Stout and Blöta Lövet IPA. Furthermore, we got to taste some very special beers, like the beer number #300, We Don’t Count Sequentially, a freeze-distilled Wheat Wine with a whopping 18 % ABV. Jump from the links to beer cards with tasting notes.
Archipelago brewery BarlindBeer
Did you know that there is a rather large archipelago in Gothenburg? We actually didn’t know that before our visit, but when we heard about it, we drove to Lilla Varholmen ferry port, and made a two days visit to the archipelago. The weather didn’t favor us really, as it was raining most of the time, but even when with gray skies, the islands were quite beautiful. And what makes it even better, there are artisan breweries also on the islands!
We headed to the island of Björkö, in the northern archipelago of Gothenburg, to visit BarlindBeer Brewery and Taproom. BarlindBeer is a small archipelago brewery located in a charming old ice storage building in Björkö harbor. The taproom right next to the brewery is decorated with old ice handling equipment, respecting the history of the place, and the atmosphere is really nice.
Jonas Barlind, the owner and brewer of BarlindBeer, has a long background in successful home-brewing, and a strong knowledge of chemistry. Back in 2015, after being home-brewer already for several years, Jonas participated an IPA Homebrew Competition, having decided beforehand, that if he would win, he’d start commercial brewing. And he did win indeed! This was one of the factors that led to founding BarlindBeer brewery.
In the first stage, the brewery was tiny, located in a garage, but nowadays BarlindBeer operates with a 600 liter, two-vessel brew house and eight fermenting tanks from 450 to 1000 liters. The brewery’s selection includes a core series of three beers, and there is always at least one more experimental new beer available. We tasted Flygtornets Pilsner, a clean and crispy German-style Pilsner, and Smegevörna, a generously hopped, fruity NEIPA.
BarlindBeer’s goal is to produce high-quality beer, from low-ABV beers to strong beer styles. Jonas Barlind also wants to run an ecologically sustainable business and minimize negative environmental impact of brewing.
If your travels take you to Gothenburg, a warm recommendation to also head to explore the archipelago, and of course to taste some local beers both in the city center and on the islands! BarlindBeer offers beer tastings and brewery tours, and also brewing seminars, where Jonas Barlind guides the audience through the brewing process, and explains what actually happens in the kettles and tanks from a chemical perspective.
A small pub tour in Gothenburg
There are a lot of craft beer pubs in Gothenburg to choose from, and many of them offer a very nice selection of Swedish and international beers. The enthusiasm towards local craft beer, shown by both residents and tourists, has also brought craft beers to the selections of many “regular” bars and restaurants. In addition, a pub focusing exclusively on beers brewed by Gothenburg-based breweries, called Kranen, has been opened in October 2023. The pairing of beer and food, as well as giving beer recommendations in food menus, has also increased during the past few years.
During our short stay in Gothenburg, we started our pub tour from The Red Lion pub, an English style bar and restaurant, that looks like an atmospheric, traditional corner pub. There is a good selection of craft beers and a food menu with burgers, grilled dishes, sandwiches and snacks.
The next stop was Brewers Beer Bar in Tredje Långgatan, a craft beer pub that also serves as a taproom for All In Brewing, a Gothenburg-based nomadic brewery. Brewers Beer Bar has a quickly rotating beer list with great variety, and they also proudly serve artisan sourdough pizza.
Our last stop was Haket, a welcoming pub with a large selection of local and international beers both on tap and in bottles. This pub is a fun combination of a club-kind-of feel with very mixed crowd, and a traditional beer bar. We’ve heard that the weekend events and music clubs downstairs can be wild, but when we visited on a Monday evening, it was more like a quiet corner pub. Other interesting pubs for craft beer geeks visiting Gothenburg include at least Restaurant 2112, Ölrepubliken, Hops, Ölstugan Tullen and 3 Små Rum.
In the next post we will continue the beer tour in and around Gothenburg with a visit to Poppels Bryggeri! Do you have tips for beer enthusiasts visitinh Gothenburg? Share your thoughts in comments!
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