Tray of dark ‘hvidtøl’ beer
From dark wheat beer to lager
The first brewers’ guild in Copenhagen was established in 1525. It consisted of a few local brewers who supplied both the people and the king and his army with their products. This was quite a job as the daily ration was some 10 litres per person. The traditional drink – and until the late 19th century, the only drink – was hvidtøl. While this means ‘white beer’, it actually is fairly dark due to the roasted malt.
In 1838, J.C. Jacobsen presented a Bavarian beer to the Danish king. This was brewed according to a modern process, had a finer finish and could be preserved longer. It was a success and led to the establishment of the Carlsberg brewery just outside Copenhagen in 1847. A few years later, Tuborg began the large-scale production of lager and this pale beer type is currently the most popular in Denmark.
Christmas beer is very popular in Denmark
Danish specialty beers
Denmark has more than 200 microbreweries and Danish specialty beers are omnipresent in bars today. They are often made with completely natural and regional ingredients. A good place to start is Amager Bryghus beer, which has a full, spicy taste from the fermentation in the bottle. Another treat is the Møgelskår Hyldeknægt from the brewery on the island of Samsø, which has a slight taste of caramel and elderflower. You should also try a bottle of påskeøl (Easter beer) or juleøl (Christmas beer) – they become available a few weeks before the eponymous holidays and mark the beginning of spring and winter for the Danes.