Craft beer on the idyllic Bornholm island
In summer 2023 we once a again made a road trip in Europe from Spain all the way to Finland, this time via Sweden instead of the Baltic Countries. On the way visited Laugar Brewery and Bidassoa Basque Brewery in the Basque Country and 90 BPM Brewing Co Dijon, France, and also made a revisit to Brasserie Boum’R in Wettosheim in Alsace, France. Then we hurried north, and traveled through Germany to Sweden via the beautiful Bornholm Island. In this post we dive into the craft beer scene of Bornholm, and introduce several breweries who call this idyllic Danish island home.
Historical Bornholm as a travel (and beer) destination
Located in the Baltic Sea, northeast from Germany and south from Sweden, Bornholm is a Danish island best known for sunny weather, rocky geology and Hammershus, the largest medieval fortress in northern Europe. Bornholm has a long history, and due to its strategic location it has changed hands several times, being ruled by Denmark, Sweden and the Hanseatic city of Lübeck. Bornholm has become a rather popular tourist destination, and for a reason; it’s home to laid-back fishing villages and towns, sandy beaches, dramatic coastal cliffs and unique island culture. Bornholm has also become a foodie destination with renowned restaurants, and it’s also home to great artisan beers!
A road trip around the island is a wonderful way to get to know Bornholm, and during a tour it’s possible to visit several breweries, taproom restaurants and beer shops. Let us introduce you Svaneke Bryghus brewery in Svaneke and Penyllan and Beerhere breweries in Tejn. Then we’ll take a short look at the other small breweries on the island, and visit Beerhouse Bornholm beer shop in Rønne.
Svaneke Bryghus brewery and restaurant
Svaneke Bryghus is known for brewing quality artisan beers in a wide variety of styles. From 2005 to early autumn 2023 the production was led by brew master Jan Paul, whom we actually first met in Litra Brewing in Moldova years ago, and then another time by accident in Georgia. It was a great pleasure to meet Jan again, this time on his home field, and get to know Svaneke Bryghus!
Svaneke craft beers are inspired by the nature of Bornholm, and brewed with the philosophy that one can create exquisite flavor profiles with just a few carefully selected components. The beers are organic and unfiltered, and there are also several non-alcoholic beers available. The core series includes lager beers from crispy Pilsners to Dunkel and strong Doppelbock, ales from easy Blonde Ale to fruity NEIPAs and IPAs. In the core series there is also a mild but roasted Stout and a Baltic Liquorice Porter. When it comes to seasonal beers, Svaneke brews specialties for example for the Christmas season and Easter. And then there is of course also special brews and more experimental craft beers.
Most of the Svaneke beer varieties are sold all over Denmark and exported to several other countries too, especially in the northern Europe, but some of the brews are only available on Bornholm Island. Te best place to taste them is the Svaneke Bryghus Restaurant, located in the heart of the town of Svaneke! The atmospheric taproom restaurant actually is the first location of the brewery, and some special Svaneke beers are still brewed in the premises.
In addition to Svaneke Bryghus, Bornholm is home to a handful of other artisan breweries. On our road trip around the island we stopped in Penyllan and Beerhere breweries, that share a production facility in the small fishing village of Tejn. These breweries are run by a brewer couple, Jessica and Christian Andersen, who moved to Bornholm with a vision of making beer utilizing local ingredients like grains, herbs and fruits grown in the unique climate of Bornholm.
Penyllan Brewery, run by Jessica Andersen, was founded in 2015 and focuses on wood-aged wild beers. Penyllan Wild Ales are maturated for several years in barrels, and then carefully blended. All the beers contain house culture, that the owners / brewers first created by placing a bucket filled with sugary beer wort underneath an apple tree, and then waited for it to turn into a natural, wild beer utilizing the yeast and bacteria in the air.
In the same premises with Penyllan operates Beerhere, a microbrewery founded back in 2008 by Christian Andersen, who has a long background in brewing industry in Denmark. For the first years, Beerhere operated as a nomadic brewery, but after the Andersens moved to Bornholm, it was time to begin a new chapter as an actual microbrewery.
Other small breweries and beer venues on Bornholm
In addition to the above mentioned breweries that we visited, there is a handful of other small breweries on Bornholm. Small Batch Bornholm is a rewarded microbrewery located in Rønne, the biggest town and harbor on Bornholm. Small Batch started in 2016, brewing for several years with small 80-liter kettles, developing recipes and constantly launching new beers in a variety of styles. In 2019 they started operations with larger brewing equipment, and nowadays their product range includes craft beers from crispy Pilsners and light Session Ales to intense strong Imperial Stouts. There are also a lot of home-breweries on the island, and some of them have already started commercial brewing; we now of Lucky Island nanobrewery from Svaneke and LG Bryg nanobrewery from the village of Vang. If you know others or there are new ones, let us know in the comments and we’ll add them here!
Locally brewed craft beers are available in several restaurants and pubs around the Bornholm island, so it’s easy to taste them and combine them with food. If you’d like to buy some beer souvenirs before the ferry journey back to mainland (in addition to Denmark there are ferries to Germany, Sweden and Poland), a great place for that is a beer shop called Beerhouse Bornholm, located in Rønne town centre.
Tasting craft beers from Bornholm
Have you visited Bornholm, or would you like to go for a combined visit to explore the island itself and the beer and food culture? Share thoughts in comments!
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