BierTalk English 23 – Talk with Christian Andersen, Beer Writer and Bestseller Author from Skagen, Denmark

In the very north of Denmark, in Skagen, lives a passionate writer and beer journalist who has finally dedicated his life to beer – Christian Andersen. His book „The Naked Beer“ became a bestseller in Denmark and will soon be published in English. In BierTalk we talk about his story, the Danes‘ love of beer and the constant contrast between cosiness and depression that regularly drives this people around when it comes to beer…

Kommt in unsere Facebook-Gruppe und diskutiert mit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bierakademie

Link für Apple/iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/de/podcast/biertalk/id1505720750

Link für Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/7FWgPXstFr1zR9Fm2G0UJS

Zusammenfassung auf Deutsch:

Christian Andersen, der fast 20 Jahre lang über Bier für dänische Medien kommunizierte, hat sein Leben dem Bier gewidmet und ist bekannt für seine Bücher über Bier, insbesondere über Pilsner​​.

Er erinnert sich an sein erstes Bier, ein Hancock Lager mit Saaz-Hopfen, das er als Teenager trank. Dieses Erlebnis war besonders prägend, nicht wegen des Geschmacks, sondern wegen der Größe der Flasche, die damals als cool galt​​. Andersen beschreibt seine Leidenschaft für Pilsner und erklärt, dass es während der Bierrevolution in Dänemark als verpönt galt. Er schrieb das Buch „The Naked Beer“, das sich mit Pilsner und seinen verschiedenen Stilen beschäftigt. Sein Ziel war es, Pilsner ein Comeback zu verschaffen und das Image des Bierstils zu verbessern​​.

Andersen begann seine Karriere als Blogger mit dem Blog „Durst“, in dem er seine Liebe zum deutschen Bier und zur Bierkultur Frankens und Bayerns zum Ausdruck brachte​​. Er betont die Bedeutung von regionalen Bierkulturen und stellt fest, dass es keine einheitliche deutsche oder dänische Bierkultur gibt​​.

In Bezug auf die dänische Bierkultur erwähnt Andersen, dass es keinen spezifischen dänischen Bierstil gibt. Er hebt hervor, dass in Dänemark mehrere hundert verschiedene Weihnachtsbiere existieren, was auf eine besondere Vorliebe für diese Biersorte hinweist​​. Andersen spricht auch über den Trend zu India Pale Ales in der dänischen Bierkultur und bemerkt, dass bis zu 50 % des Craft-Biers in Dänemark aus IPAs, insbesondere New England IPAs, besteht​​.

Der dänische Biermarkt befindet sich laut Andersen derzeit in einer Art Stillstand, mit 260 verschiedenen Brauereien im ganzen Land, aber ohne viel Entwicklung oder Innovation. Der Fokus liegt zunehmend auf alkoholfreien Bieren und größeren, massenmarkttauglichen Biersorten​​. Das Heimbrauen ist in Dänemark im Wachstum begriffen, wobei etwa 15.000 Heimbrauer aktiv sind. Jedoch stellt der dominante Markt der großen Brauereien eine Herausforderung für kleinere Marken dar​​.

Andersen sieht eine wachsende Konkurrenz im dänischen Biermarkt, die sich von der freundlicheren Atmosphäre von vor fünf Jahren unterscheidet. Er betont, dass die Qualität des Biers verbessert werden könnte, wenn sich der Markt auf Qualitätsbiere konzentriert​​​​.

 

Interviewtext:

Markus Raupach:  Hello, and welcome to another episode of our podcast BierTalk. Today I’m still traveling in Denmark and I’m on the maybe farthest north point of Denmark, in Skagen. And I don’t know if I pronounced it correctly, but we will know it in a second because my friend, Christian Anderson is here. He is a journalist, a beer writer, wrote a lot of books about beer, famous book about Pilsner. And I’m very happy to be here. Thank you for having me here. And maybe first introduce yourself a little bit to our listeners.

Christian Andersen:  I’ll try. A skilled journalist, skilled communications consultant. I’ve been fascinated by beer for almost 20 years, communicating about beers for 20 years for Danish news media. I’m a blogger. I’m an author. I make tastings. My life is beer.

Markus Raupach:  Do you remember your first beer?

Christian Andersen:  Yes, somehow I remember my first beer. A brewer once told me. An American brewer that it was tradition. When a new-born was born in this brewing family, they took a finger in the beer and they put it past the lips of the new-born. That far away, I can’t remember. I hope that my parents did that. But I’m not from a brewer family, so probably not. I was a teenager, and the only beers you could have in Denmark was Carlsberg Pilsner and Tuborg Pilsner. There was practically only Pilsners at the market in the 70s. But another brewery called Hancock from the northern part of Jutland, part of Denmark called Jutland, close to where we are now in Skein, Skagen Skein, the northernmost part of Denmark, this Hancock breweries also exist today. And they make excellent lagers. And their specialty is German lagers and Czech lagers. And this lager, I remember as, my first big beer experience was Hancock lager with Saaz hops. And perhaps the most important things about this experience was not the taste. It was the size of the bottle. It was 75., what do you call it, centilitres. So, teenager, perhaps 13 years old, 75 centilitre and not drinking Carlsberg, not drinking Tuborg was a thing. That was coolness at that time.

Markus Raupach:  Wow. So you shared that with your friends. And so you came into beer and you just said a German Pilsner and a Czech Pilsner. Would you say today there is a Danish Pilsner?

Christian Andersen:  When I wrote my first column as a blogger at the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, at that time, the biggest newspaper in Denmark I had to make an entrance that would, so people would read my blog called Durst – thirst. And in Durst, my first blog, the headline was, there’s no such thing as a Danish beer.

Markus Raupach:  That’s a statement.

Christian Andersen:  That’s a statement, isn’t it?

Markus Raupach:  Yes.

Christian Andersen:  And actually, still today 20 years after my first blog Durst, I don’t think but correct me if I’m wrong and probably I’m wrong, Markus, there’s still no thing as a Danish beer. And indeed, no Pilsner beer. I wrote a book called The Naked Beer, a base book about Pilsner, 375 pages about Pilsner. Research travels to Franconia, Bavaria, and in the Czech Republic, and Portland sorry, Oregon, in the United States, three rich Pilsner regions of the world. Talked to brew masters, tasted several hundreds of Pilsners and I came to my conclusion there’s lots of Pilsner styles. No Danish styles, but lots of Pilsner styles. As you probably know, Markus, of all, North German Pilsner, best known of the Jever Pilsner, not that good anymore, I think, but we can take that, talk about that if you dare. If you dare.

Markus Raupach:  We can. We are an open podcast, we can talk about that. And if you would have asked me maybe five or six years ago, work on that book would be like a nightmare for me because I never drank Pilsner. I never liked the style. And of course, I can judge it. And nowadays sometimes I also drink it. But it’s still for me not to go-to beer. But of course, I know there are people who love it and it’s okay. It’s great. But not personally say that is. But we can of course talk about them and your impressions if you want.

Christian Andersen:  The book is my love of what I call a base beer. A Pilsner. I call it a base beer. There’s a reason why it’s still so popular. I know the industry tastes, the industry flavours is very uninteresting. But there is a reason why this Urquell, they invented it in 1842. There’s a reason that it’s still very popular so many years afterwards, I think. Marketing of course, but also the flavour. But in the beer revolution, that was a no-go type of beer. In Denmark, actually it was a hated beer style. Mikkeller brand, as you probably know, they had a famous, he established a very famous beer bar in Copenhagen in 2010, I think, called Mikkeller Beer Bar. And it was not only a sensation here in Copenhagen, not only in Denmark, but also in the craft beer world. If you want to enter their Wi-Fi, you had to have a code. And the code was I hate Carlsberg. So, but I don’t hate Carlsberg. I don’t hate Pilsner. I don’t even hate industry Pilsner, I think. I’m not that sure about that point. But I love the base beer Pilsner. And I knew because of my travels, not at least because of my travels to Germany, not at least because of my travels to Bavaria that Pilsner is a drink for the gods. But it was taboo talking about Pilsner at that time. But my love for Pilsner is just grew over the years. And I’m a journalist and I know when I see a good story. And the good story was here, make a book, Christian and make the Pilsner have a revival. Because my book is of course, my love of Pilsner, but it’s also a public relation act. A comeback for the Pilsner, please.

Markus Raupach:  And the book will be published in English soon. We will, yes, we will also come back to our listeners then and say okay, now it’s available. So you will hear from us.

Christian Andersen:  Please.

Markus Raupach:  Yes, we do. And I already have it in Danish. So I could more or less only look at the pictures. But this is also already very nice. But we also talked a lot and I think it’s very good to have, that Pilsner has such an advocate in the beer world like you. And in terms of hating I would say a real beer lover should not say I hate a beer or a beer style. You can maybe hate the behave of an actual company owner or these things, because we have that in Germany from some big industrial companies who try to destroy a local beer culture just to get some more hectolitres. But that’s stopped now almost. And I think, and all the rest it’s beer. And I’m always happy if people drink beer than they drink, let’s say Coke or something like that. So and we all have this beer where we come back after a long trip, whatever, and that’s more or less normally an easy beer. And of course, industrial prisoners can be these easy beers. Maybe not for enjoying and have all the flavour and aroma but just for a refreshing drink. And especially if you have been like me wandering, hiking through the desert and coming back two weeks later and then something like a McDonald’s was like heaven, just because your back to normal things. And so I think that that’s totally okay. And really I think it’s important to have this Pilsner culture in a very deep look. And for me, I would say it’s a really good crisp Pilsner. It represents all what hop can do. So the bitterness but also the flavour, the freshness of the yeast, the clearness of the beer, it’s so fantastic. And of course, that wise a good Pilsner is a fantastic beer. I’m with you, totally.

Christian Andersen:  There’s a reason why I call it the naked beer is because of faults and mistakes from brewers. You can taste it right away. And when I made the book, it was in love of the taste. And I was only happy, more than happy to know when I talked to skilled and renewed brewmasters, they say, the most difficult beer to make is the Pilsner because it’s a naked beer. You can always see the faults, of course, taste the faults. I had one of my people in the book, Charlie Bamforth, the pope of foam. This is his, what’s it called?

Markus Raupach:  Nickname.

Christian Andersen:  His nickname, yes, pope of foam. He’s renewed I think, the beer business, indeed. He’d say that when I get to a new brewery, the first beer I taste is a Pilsner. Because if it’s good, I know it’s a good brewer. So these things just underlined that I had something good going on. And if we take a look at the beer revolution, it is a travel from extreme beers and crazy beers to perhaps travel to the base beer now, to the more with underplayed flavours. The alcohol level more simple and fine like the Pilsner, like the Czech Pilsner. Session Pilsners this is I think, this will be a thing in the future.

Markus Raupach:  Yes, maybe it’s a bit also, if you see the American craft beer revolution, they come from doing something different than Bud Light. And then they went to all these extremes in alcohol, in hops, in sourness, and whatever. And now, they all come back to lager and now they realize, okay, you can do all this crazy stuff. But in the end, you need to have a good clean, well-done beer. And of course, you can do it much more intense and aromatic, like as Bud Light. So there is now also good Pilsners in America and that’s great. And I think also here, people are looking back to that beer style and especially in regions like Franconia, where Pilsners were low in bitterness and almost like Helles or something like that. Now, Pilsners are also evolving a bit. And so I think it’s a very great thing. And how about the reactions of the book in the Danish market? What did they say? Did they think, okay, now he’s promoting Carlsberg?

Christian Andersen:  Perhaps some say that. But it’s my book, it’s Jens Eicken’s book. He’s a skilled brewmaster, Jens Eicken. It is a best seller in Denmark. Denmark is a little country. So 4,000 copies.

Markus Raupach:  Still good.

Christian Andersen:  Still good. The reviews from the Beer Enthusiast was called the Bible. And the reviews from the from the Library Foundation, they called it a must have. So I’m happy.

Markus Raupach:  Good. Very good. It’s fantastic. So I think for such a small country, as you said, 4,000 is a lot of books and so great. Great. Let’s look a little bit back to the past. So you started a blog. How was that? So because in this time it was not common to be so widespread on the internet with blogs. How did it come and what did you do? And how did the name come and all these things?

Christian Andersen:  Durst was the name of the blog, is the name of the blog. I’m in love with German beer. I’m in love with German beer culture, especially the beer culture of Franconia, Bavaria. Traveled there several times. I was at a course, a project management, my former job. And we had to tell the teacher a success story. I’m not good at telling my own success stories. I’m not good at that. But I had to do it. So I told them that my former wife, Susanne, and my two small children, we were traveling to Bavaria three years summer holidays in a row, and that inspired that my former wife, Susanne, she was longing to go to Grand Canary, or some of the Spanish holidays, but still, three years in a row to Bavaria for exploring the Bavarian nature and the culture and the beer, of course. Yeah, we are no longer married.

Markus Raupach:  Yeah, but she loved the beer too.

Christian Andersen:  She does. And we are good friends today. I think that was a success story. That’s why I call it the Durst. And also called it the Durst because I want to tell everybody, please give a German beer a chance. Because at that time in 2011, when I started Durst, German beer was, nobody in the craft beer world they drank German beer.

Markus Raupach:  Yes that brings us a little bit back to the beginning, when we talked about is there a Danish beer? The listeners know, because I’ve mentioned it several times. But also when I start the beer education, I also tell the people, there is no German beer culture. Or maybe there’s not that German beer culture. Because all our beers, all our beer styles, all these things are much older than the idea of Germany, or even the country of Germany. So we started to exist in 1871. So all our beer styles are older than that. And that’s also if you look in the country today, there is no whole German beer culture. If you go to Bavaria, you have Helles and Weizen. If you go to Franconia, you have Kellerbier, if you go to Berlin, you have the Weisse. Everywhere they drink different beer and nowadays even we have that joke if you bring Munich people, the Cologne people and the Dusseldorf people at one table, and the Cologne people orders a Kölsch, and the Dusseldorf people orders an Altbier, the Munich people, they’d say okay, water for me.

Christian Andersen:  Water for me please.

Markus Raupach:  And then they ask, what are you doing? And he says, Okay, if you don’t drink beer, me neither. And that’s the thing. So I think my findings about Danish beer is that there were beers which were from this region from the people here, I cannot say how far their area was. But like these landscapes, all these nice things, and there are recipes and there are old labels these with let’s keep the new all these these nice things. And there are recipes and there are old labels and it were great beers. So even I have recreated some of them but also tried some. So that’s interesting. And I think maybe the Danish went too fast too far on the lager side and forgot a bit about their ale history. Maybe that could be another thing. Maybe not for you. But for another one to bring that back to Denmark. The beer culture.

Christian Andersen:  I tried to make a network with things brewers, we called it new Danish beer, new dansk öl and it was with Anders Kissmeyer. Perhaps you know Anders Kissmeyer. And Pier Kölster , an ecological organic farmer, also a hop farmer actually.

Markus Raupach:  In Denmark?

Christian Andersen:  Yes, in Denmark, believe it or not. A little bit farming. We made this community of a brewers, and my hidden agenda was to try to push in the direction of can this result in a Danish beer style. It didn’t because it has to be hop based and we have no hops. But you can make excellent beers without hops. And a lot of beers were good with no hops. And one of the styles still made today was a beer, with a yeast from hay. So the beer was wild fermented from this yeast. No hops added. So that was the closest thing I guess, is the Danish brewery called Herslev Brewery. It’s the cidery, cider kind of beer. And he also barrel aged it.

Markus Raupach:  Whatever.

Christian Andersen:  Whatever.

Markus Raupach:  Yeah, I think have the, the very old times. If you go back then you had the area here, where cultures clashed in somehow not only wort but also you had this honey mead culture from the north and you had the spicy beers they were making on the British islands. And you had what Romans brought through Central Europe, this Egypt-based whatever things. We have the Germanic idea of beer, and that all came together more or less in northern Germany and also Denmark and so it was always a mixture. And in these times they also, they could not say, let’s make a barley beer or a wheat beer or whatever. They said, Okay, what do we have?

Christian Andersen:  What do we have, yes.

Markus Raupach:  Or what can we use and then they produced something. And I think an interesting idea was that, especially here, as far as I know, beer was not only a drink, it was something religious. So you wanted to get drunk to get closer to the gods, closer to heaven. You wanted to have this effect. And so the goal was also to make quite alcoholic beers, which was different than other parts. So I think there is some Danish ideas in that whole thing.

Christian Andersen:  Especially for Christmas and a lot of great moments around the year, they made strong beers and good beers, and they drank a lot.

Markus Raupach:  And you also mustn’t forget that Denmark had its times when they had colonies in the Caribbean, they had colonies in India. So the same as the British had so, and they had a lot of ships sailing away. And these ships needed something to drink. And so they also developed beers, which could be on the ships and last for a while. So that’s not another fake IPA story. But there are beers made for this.

Christian Andersen:  Well, wasn’t it the first time we mentioned IPA in this podcast? IPA?

Markus Raupach:  I think it was the first time. We shouldn’t do that.

Christian Andersen:  We shouldn’t do that.

Markus Raupach:  Please keep that and go back and delete it.

Christian Andersen:  Yes, delete it.

Markus Raupach:  Okay. But so I think there’s a lot of Danish culture in all that and still, what is also interesting I heard last year about the Icelandic beer culture. And they had a lot of prohibition there. And now they restarted and they also have some beer styles from the time when they were Danish. So maybe there’s also some hidden treasures.

Christian Andersen:  When I make tastings I again and again, tell about this Danish beer style that we don’t have. And then I tell people, the Swedes they have good gotlandsdricka, the Finnish have Sahti, the Norwegians have the Kveik, but the Danish, I don’t think we have any. Perhaps the Skibsol, Markus.

Markus Raupach:  I think, Skibsol definitely.

Christian Raupach:  I think you are better, big lover for Skibsol than I am.

Markus Raupach:  Yes. I only tried one or two to date available things and I made one myself. But in general, I like the idea to have about three, four percent beer, slightly smoky, rose tea, quite easy drinking. Very nice, very refreshing. And this was a beer made for the seafarers, for the people who went on the ships. That’s why the name Skibsol. So but there’s also the wheat Ale, which is same as in Bavaria. It was not definitely based on wheat. Nowadays, we make that the same thing. But in former times, it was more about the idea of fermentation and so on. But I think it’s also not so important. The older the beer nations are, let’s say this, the less they care about having own beer styles or not. And the younger they are, for example, like in Poland, the more they want to have some national beer. But in the end, beer is not made for that. Beer is made for being drank together, no matter where someone comes from and what nation, whatever. It’s just, it’s more bringing people together than apart. So yes, so I like being everywhere in the world and trying beer and drinking beer. But also there is a big importance for people like you who have a beer style like Pilsner and bring it on the map. And also if it, just one thing, we talked about Carlsberg a little. I think for me, it’s also, it has good aspects as it’s like this, try the English word is maybe foundation, so that all the income, big part of the income goes to social things, and that they share all the things they have in their scientific laboratory. And that’s a good thing because that’s not only business, that’s also something for the people and that’s something that sets Carlsberg a bit apart from us.

Christian Andersen:  They do, they do. And they gave their most famous stories, perhaps they gave away their yeast when they isolated it in 1883.

Markus Raupach:  Yes, 83. Perfect.

Christian Andersen:  Yes, yes. And still up to 20 years ago, people, homebrewers, they could come to the gates at the factory in Copenhagen and have some free yeast. This is a fabulous thing. So salesman more than brewmasters have dictated the popular beer in Denmark. And perhaps the Christmas beer is the best example. I know no country more than Denmark that celebrates the Christmas beer. I think there are over 250 different varieties of Christmas beer and you’re going to visit Mortista Bryghus close to Skagen and I think they make ten different varieties of Christmas beer. So of course it’s not because they love beer. Definitely love beer, but they also love making good money of course, and that’s why they make so many Christmas beers in Denmark. And it’s normally dark bock, but now it has escalated because the beer revolution took practically any beer that is stark and can go to the Danish foods, Christmas food.

Markus Raupach:  So name is Juleol?

Christian Andersen:  Juleol yes. And Juleol is Christkind. How do you say Christmas in German?

Markus Raupach:  Weihnachten.

Christian Andersen:  Weihnachten, of course. Weihnachtsbier.

Markus Raupach:  Weihnachtsbier. Yes. I think there’s one country which is a little bit also in that, that’s Belgium. They have a Christmas beer festival every year, which I normally attend, in Essen. There is a Belgium city called Essen. And it’s a bit fun because it was a small group of maybe ten, five local people and they started it 15 years ago, something like that. And at this time, there were maybe four or five Christmas beers in Belgium. And then they said, Okay, that was a nice evening. We do that now every year and we will have every Belgium Christmas beer. And now it’s more than 400 and they still keep on that. So they spend months before November, October and drive throughout whole Belgium and get really every Christmas beer that’s in Belgium. And if you are in Essen you get that. That’s a huge event now. It’s very rare that you get a ticket and it’s a huge thing. And it’s still in that little town which is in the middle of nowhere, just because they have started there. And so maybe that’s the other country which is also crazy on that. But maybe in Juleol is it also lagers or only ales?

Christian Andersen:  Both.

Markus Raupach:  Both.

Christian Andersen:  Yes, traditionally it was lagers because it was a reinvention of the Easter beer, Danish Easter beer. And the Danish Easter beer from 1905, it was in Carlsberg, they made it in 1905 because of the Paulaner Salvator. The Paulaner Salvator, in several years in Denmark, especially Copenhagen was so popular that they had Salvator days celebrating Easter with this Paulaner Salvator beers. And of course, Carlsberg at that time, they made fabulous beers, but they also wanted to make money. And they had a keen look on this Salvator days, and they said to themselves, let’s make a Salvator beer. So they made a Sulbata like beer, Easter beer. That’s how the tradition of Easter beers and Christmas beers started.

Markus Raupach:  That’s fun. That’s interesting, because if you look back in the history, we had these special beers, of course, also because of the Einbeck story and all that, but the Christianity took it over and had these beers and these days where we’re not allowed to eat before Christmas and before Easter. So these were, it’s the two big bock beer seasons now in Germany. And in Germany, they all forgot that there is an Easter bock. They now say it’s a maibock. But traditionally it was also Easter. It turned into May because it’s more of Easter, Easter changes every year. And sometimes it’s so early that it’s not spring. And they associate this bock more with springtime. And so it got maibock. But originally it’s also this Easter beer. So and even Salvator is one of these but I think if you ask 100 German beer drinkers, 99.9% of them will never know that the Salvator tradition goes back to that historically Easter beer. So maybe the Danish preserved it longer than the Germans did.

Christian Andersen:  I love all kinds of beers. If they’re good. And not surprisingly, I’m especially in love with the lager beers. And these days bock beers make my heart weak. But bock beers is not that popular in Denmark. We have been in the centre of the beer revolution in Europe. It was the first country that took over the new waves of the American beer revolution. And the mantra, the theme was anything goes. But actually it was the India Pale Ale and India Pale thinking that took over the market. And today, and I have spoken to several of brewmasters in Denmark, we’re not that fond of how it has developed. Because up to 50% of craft beer is India Pale Ales and especially the New England India Pale Ales.

Markus Raupach:  Now, you said the bad words.

Christian Andersen:  Oh, I said the bad words. Oh yeah. I think we have to say the bad words, because I mean, my love is founded because of a variety of beer. And I think sometimes I don’t think there’s that much variety when you come to a hipster bar or a craft beer bar, or whatever you call it. And I think it’s a shame.

Markus Raupach:  Yeah, but I also think it’s now going another direction slowly, but it is. And also, because I think maybe ten years ago, people associated beer variety with hops. So they didn’t think that you have a big variety of malts, for example. So many people I was meeting in the States, they didn’t even know that there is dark beer. So that is something uncommon. Also with the yeast that you can experiment with the yeast and make several fermentations, whatever, that’s also something new. And also more and more new raw materials and other things you can use for beers come on the market. And as we tasted today, we were just having a nice lunch here in the local brewery, and we drank two beers, but one of them was made with like citrusy and elderflower aroma, and the other one, or real stuff, and the other one was made with cherries and sugar. So we see, and they were both a two and a half percent. So I think if we look a little bit back, it’s interesting, because normally, we would have expected you drink the Pilsner and I drink maybe the Munich Dunkel. But you see, even we change. So and I think that that is something that changes and I think it’s a bit also a marketing thing, because at the moment that that you also realize it’s still so if you make a new beer, and you write it something IPA, it sells much better than if you, that’s how you have a code IPA and all these things, which are more or less just other beer styles. But if you call them somehow IPA, people like that. But I think it’s getting less. But if we’re talking about that, what is the, you said Denmark was the first country to adopt this American craft beer thing. How did you realize that? So because you were in the Pils culture, and you had your nice  lagers, and then someone popped in and gave you something different? Or how did it work?

Christian Andersen:  I am interested in every beer styles just as long as they’re good. So, and I’ve traveled to Germany and Belgium, of course to England also, Czech Republic, great beer nations. But normally, I was based at home in Copenhagen for many years. And we had a couple of twins. We had some twins. And these two twins, you can’t underestimate the importance to the beer culture in Denmark and perhaps to the beer culture in Europe. In the beginning of the beer revolution, it was Mikkel Borg Bjergso with his brand, Mikkeller and his twin brother, Jeppe Bjergso, I think he’s called. They sometimes change names. Mikkel was a brewer and Jeppe, he imported beers. And he was the first main importer of American craft beer, called Drakeril. And this import firm you can’t underestimate it. They took the very best, of what he thought was the very best. There was no competition. So he sold it to all the good beer bars in Denmark and other places in Europe and they somehow pushed the limits for what is beer, what is good beer in Denmark, and they attracted a lot of followers. That of, people who, brewmasters who like to behave or brew like them. They were charismatic types and they’re influential types still today. There’s a long story about the Mikkeller brand. You can take a lot of time, Markus. I would love it.

Markus Raupach:  Just one question. Is it still today that Mikkel has this special position?

Christian Anderson:  No. He was the godfather of craft beer in the first years. Today no longer.

Markus Raupach:  Okay, we will talk that at another. Yes, there’s a book on that and other things. But today, what is Danish craft beer today?

Christian Andersen:  I think it’s a little bit standstill. There’s 260 different breweries all over Denmark from the tip of Denmark to the bottom of them, all over. But there’s not that much evolution or revolution in the beer market these days. It’s more non-alcoholic beers. It’s more big selling types of beer. The development is not that interesting. There’s still good breweries but not many, I think, if I may be so blunt. We have good breweries. Indeed we have good breweries. But somehow it’s a standstill.

Markus Raupach:  And what about homebrewing in Denmark? Is it also growing?

Christian Andersen:  It’s growing I think. I think it’s 15,000 brewers, homebrewers. Many homebrewers. And very, very clever, good homebrewers. That’s thriving, that thing’s thriving. But the market is difficult, because the big brewers are buying small brands, they are making sub brands, they are making good agreements with the big supermarket chains and so on. The 260 brewers in Denmark have great difficult to make a hole into the market, to penetrate the market. And I don’t see any light coming out there. Because perhaps the web shops. But every brewery today has, most breweries, they have own web shops. But I don’t think it can change the market significantly.

Markus Raupach:  Is there a lot of competition? Or are they also working together on something?

Christian Andersen:  No competition.

Markus Raupach:  Competition.

Christian Andersen:  Yes. The knives are sharpening out there. Old buddies are now competitors. It’s a totally different market from just five years ago. Five years ago, I think it was more interesting.

Markus Raupach:  And for you as a beer writer, did that also change your work? Do you not write differently or different stories?

Christian Andersen:  I don’t know, perhaps. I don’t know. Perhaps more stories about the market. Because that’s where quality can make a big step forward. If the market changes towards quality, the whole beer category is more interesting. So if you want to change quality, go for the big markets, go for the supermarket chains. Supermarkets, importers, that’s where we can make significant differences for the better.

Markus Raupach:  Yeah, that’s very something also German people know Danish beer people. Because the biggest importer for beer in Germany is a Danish company called One Pint. And maybe that’s also something especially Danish people are good about is trading and trading with beer. And that’s something maybe that’s, they’re connected.

Christian Andersen:  Because salesman, good trading salesman, the Christmas beers is a very good example, the One Pint is a very good example, good trading people.

Markus Raupach:  Yes, and you have another book project in the pipeline?

Christian Andersen:  Yes. And I’m looking forward to write the book about the Danish beer revolution. Aha, the best beers, the best breweries.

Markus Raupach:  So more than five pages.

Christian Andersen:  More than five pages. Good stories. Yes, that’s in my pipeline, perhaps next year.

Markus Raupach:  And maybe also in English sometime.

Christian Andersen:  Perhaps. I hope so. That will be an achievement. Danish beer, in English about Danish beer.

Markus Raupach:  Yes, there is some books in English about Danish beer. So I bought the book about the historic Danish beer style. So I can only recommend also the listeners if you’re interested. There’s a lot of also about some history parts, but not in that global way I think you will cover. So I’m looking forward to have that. So yes. Thanks a lot for your time. Thanks a lot for the information. Good luck.

Christian Andersen:  My pleasure. My pleasure. And nice to have you here in Skagen.

Markus Raupach:  Yes, fantastic. It’s a great place. I also only can recommend come to the top of Denmark and have a nice beer here. Maybe meet Christian and enjoy it. It’s a wonderful place.

Christian Andersen:  Thank you.

Bier Talk – der Podcast rund ums Bier. Alle Folgen unter www.biertalk.de.

 

Mehr lesen

Der erste Hopfen seit 40 Jahren

In Breitengüßbach wird eine alte Tradition wiederbelebt Breitengüßbach. Er war der letzte Hopfenbauer der Region. Vor 40 Jahren allerdings musste Andreas Eichhorn seinen Hopfengarten aufgeben. Der Anbau war nicht mehr…

Der Weg des Bieres

Die Weltkulturerbestadt bekommt eine neue Sehenswürdigkeit Bamberg. Das Jubiläum des Reinheitsgebotes 2016 rückt näher. Das merkt man auch daran, dass allerorten mehr oder weniger innovative Ideen für Veranstaltungen oder Projekte…