The past weeks have been busy, finishing up my time at Fanø, finding a bike to buy in Belgium, filling those pesky taxes in the US, and of course finding time for brewing and drinking great beer. This past Monday was when I had to bid my farewell to Fanø, saying goodbye to my newly found friends Ryan Witter and his wife Maholia. Ryan taught me an incredible amount when it came to commercial brewing knowledge, an amount of preparation that will, and already has helped me out greatly in the brewing world. One of the things I will miss most about Fanø is Maholia’s cooking. With her ability to make the best, traditional Curry I’ve ever tasted to her creation of the Fanø Burger, I will miss her cuisine until the next time I can manage a visit to the island.
The train ride from Fanø to Aalborg was a bit long, but relaxing. Aalborg is the fourth largest city in Denmark located at the northern edge of the country’s main island, Jutland. From the train station, I met Thure Harrington, a family friend living in the city, who took me to the brewery for a visit before we grabbed a pint from one of the best cask pubs in Europe, The Wharf. I saw many familiar beers there, most originating from the UK, so a nice imperial pint of cask ale truly hit the spot!
Now that I’ve been at Søgaards Bryghus for almost a week, I’ve done a bit of bottling, brewing, and kegging…all familiar work. Søgaards is a brewpub that has been in action for the past seven years. The restaurant portion of the brewery serves some amazing breads, an impressive variety of meats and fish, and the best pickled beats I have tasted to date. I also can’t get enough of their fresh liver pâtés, roasted barley bread, and of course their wonderful lineup of beers.
The brewery itself is a Casper Schulz. For those of you who do not know, Casper Schulz is known in the brewing world as a top of the line brewing system from Bamberg, Germany. I brewed on the exact same system during my stay Fanø, so moving to Søgaards was a piece of cake.
For those of you who have kept up to date with my blog, I’ve decided to change my plans for the month of May. Originally, my plans had been to begin biking Central Europe at the start of May, work my way around from brewery to brewery, all while taking in each unique culture. Now, I’ve been invited to come and brew up here in Aalborg at Søgaards during that time. Brian Davis is the new American head brewer now at Søgaards, and due to the retirement of two of the brewery workers, he could use my help around the brewery.
The decision didn’t come lightly, but what it allows me to do is spend more time brewing beer and working in a brewing environment. Also, I will be accompanied by a close friend for a large portion of my bike trip starting May 27th, so my time spent brewing until then will allow me to have someone to share my experiences with visiting the many breweries and wineries of Europe.
I can’t wait to get more brewing at Søgaards, because they already make some great beers, have quite the nice restaurant, are located at the heart of Aalborg, and have basically given me the go ahead to create a few new beers of my own choosing. With my Nucifera Porter garnering a lot of attention from from the Danish market so far, I look forward to creating many new beers from many different styles, including two barrel aged beers that I’ll be making at Søgaards in May.