Copenhagen is a lively and fast-paced city and fantastic place to visit for craft beer lovers. Forget Carlsberg and Tuborg, Denmark’s capital has so much to offer beer fans and a diverse selection of pubs and bars. I admit I didn’t know much about Danish beer until our visit but three days exploring Copenhagen definitely gave me a good education!
Our first port of call was the Lord Nelson, which was just off one of the city’s main shopping streets.
This was recommended to us by a chap we met at the Summer Beer Festival at the Velodrome earlier this year, and would not have been somewhere we’d have gone without a recommendation for two reasons – we had to search it out and probably wouldn’t have just stumbled across it, and I also tend to avoid anywhere with English names while abroad because I just imagine they just sell London’s Pride. But the Lord Nelson specialises in Danish microbreweries and was definitely worth hunting for.
It’s a cosy little basement place and the staff were helpful and keen to help us find something we’d like by making recommendations and offering samples so we immediately felt welcome.
After nipping back to the hotel (where we had a Paulaner weiss bier which we’d bought in a can from Netto) we got changed and headed out for the evening.
We stayed in the Norrebro area of the city and decided to go to the nearby Norrebro Bryghus for dinner. After embarrassing ourselves by walking straight in when we were meant to wait for a table, we got seated and both ordered the beer menu of four different beers brewed on site.
The pub itself is set across two floors with the beer fermenting away on the basement level near where we were sat.
We both ordered the beer menu – a range of four of their beers served throughout the meal.
We were given Çeske Böhmer Pilsner, Ravnsborg Rød, Habanero Porter and Skinny Bitch (a US style pale ale) and although I enjoyed some of them more than others, it was a good way to sample a wide selection of their range. None of ones I sampled blew me away, but it was a nice enough place with decent food so an enjoyable location to spend an evening.
After a busy day at Tivoli Gardens, our first bar of our second day was the Bryggeriet Apollo. Located next to the park, it is more of a restaurant but there are some seats and tables at the bar for drinkers with a variety of beers made on site available. The building itself is in a conservatory style and although we didn’t eat there, the food we saw other patrons with looked appealing.
I was chuffed to see Weissbier available again so I had to go for that while Ross sampled a couple of other ones (I’m a slow drinker). As it was mid-afternoon, it was quiet but because it’s so central, I imagine it’s bustling of an evening and if we’d been in Copenhagen for longer we would have more than likely returned.
Our second evening in Copenhagen started with our first introduction to Mikkeller. We walked over to Vesterbro to visit Mikkeller Bar. This area of the city was apparently formerly the red light district but renovations seem to be taking place. It almost reminded me of Manchester’s Northern Quarter although it is still a bit seedy in places (for example, we walked past a huge strip club).
Mikkeller Bar is on a smaller street off the main road and is in a basement, so might be easy to miss if you’re not looking out for it. The bar’s look is very Danish and modern with a white, minimalist design. It’s also quite small, although there is a second room as well as some benches out the front.
When we arrived, it was bustling. There’s a real mix of Danes and tourists and it had a really welcoming atmosphere. Above the bar there is a chalkboard listing the 20 beers they have on draught and there are also menus spread around showcasing the extensive bottle list. About half of the draught beers were Mikkeller and the rest were a mix of Danish and international beers.
Every beer I had in Mikkeller Bar was great. You can really taste the care, effort and craftsmanship that goes into everything they make. The only negative I would say is they do a lot of sour beers which are just not my thing, so after a few drinks I’d sampled everything I really wanted. But they really do put the ‘craft’ in craft beer and I came back from our trip a bit of a fangirl (and hoping that one day they’ll open a bar in Manchester!!)
After a few hours in Mikkeller, we started walking back to our hotel and popped into Ørsted Ølbar. As it was nearly closing time, we only had one but it was the perfect place to end the evening.
It was cosy, and had dim lighting, candles on each table and comfortable seating which made it very relaxing. And of course, it had good beer!
There was a chalkboard above the bar with about 20 beers, the majority of which were either Danish or American and I went for another wheat beer (Killewitte by Against The Grain) and so ended our second night.
Our final day began with some touristy activities in the morning and after fighting through hordes of people with massive cameras to get a look at The Little Mermaid, we were definitely ready for some beer!
We wandered back to Norrebro and made our way up to Mikkeller & Friends, which is a venture between Mikkeller and To Øl and is also home to Mikkeller’s bottle shop.
It’s much bigger than the Vesterbro site and has double the number of draught beers available – a whopping 40! Mikkeller and To Øl dominate but there are also a few other breweries represented.
The bar itself had a crisp and bright design and was set over a few rooms so there was plenty of seating. Being mid-afternoon, it wasn’t busy while we were in there although there were a few other customers.
We each had two small beers (Mikkeller’s Vesterbro Wit and Mission Chinese Food for me, To Øl’s Like Weisse and Too Much Coffee Man by Gigantic Brewing Company for Ross) and some beer chocolate and wandered through the back of the bar to the Mikkeller bottle shop.
This place truly is heaven for beer lovers – there was just so much choice with fridges and shelves packed with a huge selection of bottles. Ross picked his choice relatively quickly but I was umming and ahhing for a little bit (concerns over air baggage weights meant it was only one each) until coming away with a cucumber witbier. We also got ourselves a glass and wandered back to the hotel.
For our last evening in Copenhagen we picked Brewpub. This is very central and quite close to Tivoli, and is located in a 17th century building with a large courtyard. The pub is another one in a basement and has two sections – a restaurant and the more casual bar area which also serves food. We opted for the bar and had a couple of beers each with food. The food was nice (tapas plate for me, fish and chips for Ross) and I quite enjoyed the beers I had but Ross wasn’t a fan of his.
I don’t think we’d rush back to Brewpub. There’s nothing negative I can really put my finger on about it but it’s not as interesting or diverse as some of the other places in the city. Maybe we’ve been spoiled by Mikkeller! However, I can imagine the beer garden being very popular in the summer as it did look very appealing.
Our next stop was Taphouse. It claims to have Europe’s largest selection of draught beers – more than 60! Behind the bar is an electronic board listing all the beers available and they also put a full list up on their website. The majority were Danish beers but there were also some US, German, Belgian and British options.
(terrible picture but you get the idea)
I started with a German beer (Weltenburger Hefe-Weißbier Hell by Klosterbrauerei Weltenburg) before moving on to Evil Twin‘s Noma Oxalis and Evil Yellow Star from Beer Here)
The decor features a lot of wood – wooden floors, wooden walls and some tree trunks for seating or tables along with benches and stools. It wasn’t the cosiest bar as it’s spacious and was a little bit drafty but I couldn’t fault the beer selection.
We decided to end our final evening by make return visits to the Lord Nelson and Ørsted Ølbar. It was the Svaneke Blonde by Svaneke for me and Beer Here’s Harwood for Ross at the Lord Nelson and while our last selections at Ørsted Ølbar (combined with a game of table football) were Amager Bryghus’ Todd – The Axe Man for me Økologisk Porter by Herslev Bryghus for Ross. Again Ørsted Ølbar was a lovely bar to end the evening in and our Copenhagen adventure.
Copenhagen gave us a chance to try some innovative and unique beers and really opened my eyes to Danish brewing. I’ll always be keeping an eye out for Mikkeller and others at bars over here from now on. Since returning home, I’ve noticed Brewdog and Beermoth in Manchester seem to often have Mikkeller available and if they don’t, while writing this blog post I discovered their online shop so I can always get some shipped over!