A Castle and Award Winning Craft Beers
… at Gamla Slottskällans Bryggeri (Old Castle Brewery Source)
Sweden has a history of making beer that can trace back to the Viking era when they used brewing to produce ale and mead.
Ale was the most common drink then and the strongest one was 9%.
Up until the 19th century beer making was done at home with a low alcohol content, but today it has become an industry that has many competitors trying very hard to produce good quality beers that are hand crafted and made in microbreweries that have become international sensations.
The local bigger breweries tried to rid the country of smaller enterprises forcing some of the smaller breweries to close their doors and only a few remained due to the knowledge and techniques used to make tasty beers that stand up against the common lagers that are well known and liked among beer drinkers.
Swedish law allows for three types of beers to be sold; Lattöl (Light Beer) is 2.25% and is considered a light beverage which can be sold to anyone anywhere. Starkol (Strong Beer) is above 3.5% and can only be sold in certain stores to people over the age of 20 and in pubs to people over the age of 18.
Folköl is the variation between Lattöl and Starköl and may be sold in grocery stores to people over the age of 18.
Big brand names can sell their beer in these stores provided they are watered down.
Located in Uppsala, the 4th largest city in Sweden is the Slottskallans Brewery.
Their idea was to produce hand crafted beers that are unique and very different to the beers manufactured by large breweries which would include wheat beer, stout and beers that are rare in Sweden.
The journey began in 1995 when Hans Finell, one of the founders visited the West Coast of the United States where he took an interest in the microbreweries in the height of the microbrewery boom.
He started a microbrewery with Jonas H Andersson, a sales and marketing man from one of the largest breweries in Sweden in 1997 and got the name for their brewery from the first water source near the Uppsala Castle.
The brewery is located in a University town 50 miles north of Stockholm and this brewery crafts beers that are unpasteurised and some organic, but all with a classic twist giving them interesting flavours and notes of chocolate, coffee, chicory, molasses, port with nutty malt backgrounds that make them unique.
The brewing plant was ordered from a company in Canada, German designed and Slovenian made, but once it arrived the two decided that this was not what was needed and looked for different equipment in an already made brewery which arrived on trucks and has since increased from 6 fermenters to 11.
They began with two beers that were created and produced; Premier and Black which went on sale in 1998 and was brewed by Urban Nilson.
Unfortunately to the two, they were filed for bankruptcy in 2003 but an investor saw the potential and today the brewery is owned by Jan Eric Svensson, and produces 650 000 litres of beer per year and has won numerous awards.
Five lagers and both bottom and top fermented beers are brewed and most of the products are sold in the area with very little export going into Finland.
Over 80% of their beers are bottled and two of their beers are bottle conditioned.
Through the years the brewery has made many speciality beers as well as a beer called “Wreck “which was made from strains of yeast taken from a German freighter from 1917 during the First World War.
There have been may other beers that have been produced;
- Rooms Quad
- Imperial Stout
- Nordic Echo
- Pale Ale
In 2010 the brewery launched a celebratory beer called “Decade” a German type beer.
They also introduced seasonal beers;
- Nisse Christmas
- Dressed up for Easter
- Summer holidays
- Wheat Beer White
- Dark Laurel Autumn Stock
The stout is barrel aged and fermented and the distillery has a laboratory for experimentation for new products.
The stainless steel and cooper vats are used in the production of their beers.
Visit Slotskällans Brewery
A visit to the brewery is an interesting one as there are 3 types of tours for either groups or individuals where you can get to see the process and taste the beers that are explained in detail.
For a craft experience in a University town that has a castle and a water supply which aids in the making of the beer, it would be a great idea to explore the brewery and find out how they get the tastes and what techniques are used to make those interesting and unusual flavoured beers that hint hoppy aromas as well as coffee notes that have led to the popularity of the microbreweries and the Swedish consumption of craft beers rising.
Gamla Slottskällans Bryggeri
75323 Uppsala, Sweden, Sweden
I have been online since it all began, with blogging and creating websites. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one of my passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂