I’ve been a bad blogger/writer recently. I’m busy with work and home so at the end of the day instead of powering up the trusty old laptop to write here or just for myself, I’ve been settling down with my iPad and reading. Last week I finished The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes and Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor. Both stories were captivating in very different ways but equally wonderful. I’d recommend them highly (although you will need to read the first book in the trilogy by Laini Taylor Daughter of Smoke and Bone). I’m currently reading The Diviners by Libba Bray and Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin, which is a retelling/expansion on Edgar Allan Poe’s story of the same name.
But, back to the post. Look at the wonderful stone elephants and arches. On an oh-so-typical overcast, blustery Danish day we grabbed a bus for a few kroner at a stop near Tivoli (Bus Line 8 or 26, FYI). The bus driver was annoyed but helpful, letting us know we were indeed on the right bus to visit the Carlsberg Brewery. When in Scandinavia, be prepared for brisk helpfulness. They don’t always mean it rudely, there’s just not a major sense of making a super-friendly impression. Most Americans have been ingrained to be overly nice and accommodating as a sign of manners, but that isn’t a world-wide character trait. Just say thank you and go along your business, no need to make a scene or feel the need make whoever is helping you like you. Don’t worry about. Although, I did notice that as a younger person at 24, most younger people were much more helpful than those 35+. I’m not sure it is because they wanted to practice English or just understand the way Americans are, but whenever I had a question (usually about public transport) I approached older teens/young adults.
You’ll get off the bus in Valby, an outer district of Copenhagen, and walk a few minutes down the street with elephants and brick and tile murals. As you approach the visitor’s center you see loads of Carlsberg Brewery stickers plastered on streetlamps and signs ditched by visitors on their way out.
After you buy your tour pass, which includes two free beers each, you’ll walk around freely. There are guided tours every so often, but I enjoyed walking around museum-style. I explored where I wanted, enjoying the large horses in their stables, skipping over more boring murals of information (like the actual chemical brewing process) and went to more interesting stands (BEER BAR!).
The old factory grounds feel like a step backwards right into the industrial revolution, but cleaner obviously. I’ve actually seen the beer cart pictured above before (not the same one) in Solvang, CA during Danish Days. Which is a nice piece of whimsical and slightly exaggerated piece of Scandinavia in the US.
The wind kicked up and rain poured down as we sat in the courtyard drinking our beers and laughing with all the other tourists. Whenever a good beer is involved Danes know how to make the best out of a sort of shitty situation.
Dramatic mood-lighting leads you through the vignettes showcasing old and new brewing processes. I’m just thankful I’ve never needed to work in factory, especially in the mid to late 1800s
One of the coolest rooms is one that catalogs every single beer Carlsberg has ever made anywhere in the world. There’s African Carlsberg beers, Russian Carlsberg beers, beers from decades ago, to ones currently produced. Quite cool. I don’t think this picture does justice. The room was massive, with long deep shelves brimming with beer bottles.
We enjoyed our second beers in the classy interior bar area where the bartenders were friendly and talkative. In the very background of this picture you can see a small bright room that I stupidly didn’t grab a snap of. Other than the beer room, it was my favorite part of the tour. Flavors in Carlsberg beers ranging from coffee, to smoke, to banana, are contained in little bottles for you to smell. Some were nasty (smoke, sulfur), some so unbelievably delicious (blueberry, chocolate).
Afterwards, we spent an extra thirty minutes or so picking out souvenirs for ourselves and friends back home. I’d recommend getting a few shirts, beer paraphernalia, and maybe an umbrella for the rest of your stay in Denmark if you didn’t bring one.