AN ISLAND FORTRESS WITH BEER AND ALL

 

Suomenlinnan Panimo Sveaborg Bryggeri is certainly a mouthful. I would appreciate if you refrain from asking me to pronounce it. It is a Finnish brewpub to be found on an island off the coast of Helsinki. Having no skill with Uralic tongues I can not even properly say the name of the brewpub. I can give an account of drinking some fine beers there. I had read about this brewery in Michael Jackson's Pocket book on beer. It is strongly recommended for visitors to Helsinki.

 

It seemed like an interesting side trip. You can take a ferry from the Esplanade. In fifteen minutes you will arrive at Suomenlinna Sveaborg. The island is an old sea fortress and is listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site. The brewpub is conveniently located right in the landing port. You can be sitting down with a beer in less than five minutes. It was late March when I went so the water was still icy. The ferry had trouble getting aligned with the dock to allow passengers to exit. There was melting snow making the ground slushy. This did not diminish my appreciation for the beer.

 

 I walked up the hill and saw the large port building. My eyes quickly spied a sign indicating brewpub. You have to go in the entranceway to the port. There was a small art gallery across from the brewpub. This is an interesting place. There is no actual bar. There is a counter like you would expect to find in a deli. Here you can go up and order food and drinks. There were several wooden tables in front of the counter.

 

 A quick look around and I noticed that there was a large dining area. There was a set up for a buffet. It seems like this is also a popular spot to dine. I was really only there to check out the beers. Of course, beer is expensive in Finland so beer is all I could afford. The beers in Finland are good but expect to break the bank.

 

They had three beers on tap at Suomenlinna. I figured I had time to check out all three before exploring the island fortress. They had a beer called Coyet Ale. I am unsure how to define the style. It had a light amber hue. I noticed a sweet caramel flavor when I drank it. It weighed in at 5.2% abv. It was a pretty nice beer. I don't think I could drink a lot of this because it was a bit on the sweet side.

 

The Juhla was also an amber hued ale. This one was a lot drier than the other. It was 5% abv. This was was lighter in body and more drinkable. I have read comparisons to DeKonick. That is a lighter ale from Belgium. I suppose the comparison is apt. Juhla did have a nice fruity character but never became sweet.

 

My favorite beer from Suomenlinna was the Portieri. This is a porter that weighed in at 5.6% abv. It had a dark brown hue and a thick beige head. It had a nice smoked character. This was a very full bodied and flavorful beer. It had a surprising sweetness in the finish. This was a really good beer. I believe it is patterned after a traditional porter and not a Baltic porter. This brew really made the trek worth it.

 

I was a bit disappointed that they didn't make a sahti. That is a traditional beer style made from juniper and rye. I have tried one commercially made sahti. I was hoping that I could find a brewpub in Helsinki that made it. None of the three brewpubs in town had it. I didn't see it at all. That is a slight disappointment because that would have been a rare beer experience.

 

This brewpub is something that any beer geek in Helsinki should seek out. The ferry from Helsinki only cost 2 euros each way. After indulging in a couple beers, you can take some time to wander about the island and check out the old fortress. There are shops and cafes but I was there on Easter Saturday so a lot of things were closed down. It is still a nice traveling destination. You can accomplish a quick tour of the island in a matter of a couple hours. The Finns produce some mighty fine brews. This brewpub was a great find. It's worthwhile for travelers in general and beer drinkers in specific.

 

Author's Notes/Comments: 

My insane quest for craft beer takes me to some mighty unusual places.

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allets's picture

The Things A Man Will Do

to find a beerpub. :)


 

 

fuche_bu's picture

perhaps insanity is the key

perhaps insanity is the key after all.  thanks for reading.