There are more breweries in the country of Denmark than you can even count. They range from very small, farm-style breweries, to large production breweries like Carlsberg Brewery, where the original pure yeast culture was created. When you’re trying to visit with brewers there, this can be a big challenge.
We started off instead by preparing a short yeast seminar, hosted by Vestfyn Brewery at the university in Fyn, the island just West of Copenhagen. The attendees consisted of breweries from this region, of which most had been part of their local Innovation Project where they collected and isolated some native strains for fermentation. Many of these breweries are quite small, and I am sure there was a bit of a challenge with communicating technical information about yeast. It was an interesting afternoon, and I hope, beneficial to the breweries that attended. We look forward to working with them more.
On the way back to Copenhagen, we stopped at Orbaek Bryggeri, established in the Fyn countryside in 1906 as a small farmstead providing malted barley to local businesses. They began brewing beer and the original malting house and brewery is still there. While the malting operations have ceased, the original brewing equipment is still used to this day for some of their specialty beers. These days, they are also a modern brewery and distillery. It was such a great visit that was out of the way, but well worth the trip. It was a lot of tradition mixed with modernization.
Back in Copenhagen, we had a fantastic meeting with Nordic Food Labs and Noma. If any of you are familiar with food trends, you’ll know that Noma is a world-renowned restaurant featuring the best and latest in molecular gastronomy and are at the forefront of food innovation. We were so privileged to meet their top chefs, including head chef, Rene Redzepi. I mean, I read about these guys in magazines (and hopefully they are not reading this now because I would sound so embarrasing) No, we were not able to get a table there :) The Nordic Food Lab is situated on a house boat, of all places, in the harbor next to the restaurant. In their food lab, they are working on various projects related to food fermentation, which is where we come in. I don’t want to give away too much, but suffice it to say that this was one of the best, most interesting, most exhilarating meetings we’ve ever engaged in. For me, it brings together one of my other favorite things – food (the other obviously being beer!).