Last week, myself and M attended a beer brewing course arranged by our friends at Yelp Sweden. I am always intrigued about the making of things, a supply chain specialist as I am, so we were quite excited about the event. The course was arranged at a small brewery and pub, Cafe Proviant in Stockholms Kungsholmen. It is difficult to write about beer brewing in a short way, so this will more be a description of our day on the course instead of a manual on how to make beer (for that you need to attend Cafe Proviants course).
I was not sure what to expect from the course. Would we be brewing ourselves or would it be more like a lecture? It was closer to the latter, as we sat around a big table following closely as the brew-master, Roger, guided us through every step. He started with introduction of the art of brewing and the ingredients. Glasses of sample ingredients were circulated around the table followed by the mixing of malted barley with the 68 degree (C) hot water. The first tasters of Cafe Proviant Ale were served as Roger shoveled the ingredients into the boiling pot.
After the first steps we had some waiting time (approximately 90 minutes). The staff kept us entertained with some more sampling of beer and tasters from their menu. We had cheeses with some sea buckthorn chutney, a soft pretzel with ramson butter and grilled green asparagus with a few different sauces. All wonderful dishes alongside beer. Especially the ramson butter has stayed with me as one of the days favorites. Time just flew by as Roger told stories of beer brewing while waiting and circulating the beer in the pot. More beer was served as tasters: Pistonhead cascade lager, Poppel American Pale Ale, Södra Maltfabrikens IPA, Paulander Hefe-Weissbier and Saison 1858 Brasserie du Bocq. A wonderful range of Cafe Proviant favorites. My favorite, or perhaps the biggest positive surprise was the fresh Saison. Perhaps I will not down a bottle of it (as the bottle is a 0.75l), but it is a wonderful option to have on the table instead of wine on a hot summer day.
After some more cooking more ingredients, the hops are added to the mix. As the heat builds up there is a wonderful aroma of rye bread taking over the room. It reminds me of the Finnish sauna when mixing some beer with the water (old Finnish tradition). We waited, tasted some more beer until the cooking reached a 100C. Meanwhile Roger kept the stew circulating and guarded that no ingredients were clumping up.
Beer brewing is a time consuming exercise, so we did not have time to finish all the initial steps before we ran out of time. I can see M eyeing the equipment and sizing it whether it would fit into our apartment. If we would have a bigger home I would also be delighted to have one. However, right now, we both figure that it is better to buy our beer instead of making it. In around four weeks time we can return to Cafe Proviant and try out the beer “we made”. A fun two hours with interesting information, great people and a reason to come back again. For all you beer enthusiasts out there, Cafe Proviant is definitely a place to visit.