Nordic gourmet beer: Carlsberg debuts two new premium brews

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06 Feb 2018 --- Two new high-end cask-conditioned Jacobsen beers have been specially created for the restaurant industry in an innovative collaboration between Carlsberg and researchers from the Nordic Food Lab. The cask-conditioned Jacobsen beers are destined for the thriving Nordic gourmet scene and the recipe is the result of five years work as the partnership first began in 2013.

The Jacobsen Chanterelle Lager and Jacobsen Sour Rye beers have been fermented in Carlsberg’s Jacobsen brewhouse and conditioned in 37.5cl champagne bottles.

The ambition is to establish an exclusive series of eminent cask-conditioned Jacobsen beers for Danish restaurants. The first high-end beer is now available at one of Denmark’s Michelin-starred restaurants, Tri Trin Ned in Jutland.

The aim of the project is to develop innovative beers by experimenting with new raw materials, methods and sensory profiles that can increase the relevance of beer for today’s experimental gastronomy on the Danish restaurant scene.

Speaking with FoodIngredientsFirst Simon Fibiger, Vice President for sales, on trade, for Carlsberg Denmark, explains how the work is all about developing the specialty beer category and creating a credible alternative to wine.

“We are very excited. We have seen slow food over fast food, locally-sourced produce over food shipped, and what we are offering is superb, cask-conditioned beers over specialty,” he says.

“The aim is to eventually sell the new, innovative brews to Danish innovative, award-winning restaurants that offer high-quality food and puts the customer at the center.”

“Our goal is to develop a credible alternative to wine which matches the new Nordic wave of gourmet thinking. The first two high-end beers, Jacobsen Chanterelle Lager and Jacobsen Sour Rye, have been brewed in extremely small batches of around 500 bottles of each, so this isn’t something that will make us money, but rather a reminder that Carlsberg continuously strive to brew better beers that stand at the heart of the moment.”

Fibiger explains how the New Nordic revolution, which started a decade ago with the introduction of the New Nordic kitchen is expanding. Since the early 2000s, across the Nordic countries and Scandinavia, New Nordic Cuisine has been used to promote local, natural and seasonal produce as a basis for new dishes both in restaurants and in the home.

“A lot of chefs are bringing their native food culture to Denmark, and together with Nordic Food Lab and Carlsberg Research Laboratory, Jacobsen Brewhouse will establish an exclusive series of eminent cask-conditioned Jacobsen beers for these chefs and their restaurants,” he continues.

“The perception of Nordic cuisine has changed dramatically thanks to the New Nordic wave, which has echoed around the world. Carlsberg wants to serve those innovative, award-winning restaurants that Denmark has become known for. We want to win the hearts of the sommeliers – not just their wallets.”

“I think the time is right and I think Carlsberg, as one of the world’s leading breweries and with our pioneering heritage, is obliged to develop the top of the specialty beer category. For example, there are several Danish top restaurants that work with natural wines, where the experience may fluctuate. It gives us a window of opportunity because customers are used to trying new things.”

The Jacobsen Brewhouse has been working with researchers from Nordic Food Lab at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Food Science, as well as a number of researchers and brewmasters from the Carlsberg Research Laboratory for several years to produce the innovative cask-conditioned beers Jacobsen Chanterelle Lager and Jacobsen Sour Rye.

“The starting point was a shared curiosity about whether we could brew beers of sufficiently high quality to match Denmark’s elite gastronomy. We succeeded,” adds Morten Ibsen, Jacobsen Brewmaster.

“In practice, Nordic Food Lab contributed gastronomic insight and access to unique high-quality Nordic ingredients, while the researchers at the Carlsberg Research Laboratory were responsible for preparing the raw materials and carrying out test brews, and we brewers at Jacobsen took care of the cask-conditioning and racking.”

Both Jacobsen Chanterelle Lager and Jacobsen Sour Rye have undergone primary fermentation, cellaring in new casks made of various types of wood beneath the Jacobsen Brewhouse, which dates back to the establishment of Carlsberg in 1847, and a final bottle conditioning in 37.5 cl champagne bottles.

“The goal was to brew high-end beers from natural ingredients aiming for an ABV of at least 10 percent to give the beers the best potential for vintage cellaring. Chanterelle Lager, for example, has been sitting in a new mulberry-wood cask to give it a pleasant dryness,” adds Ibsen.

The gastro collaboration between the brewers and the researchers at the Carlsberg Research Laboratory and Nordic Food Lab has brought an in-depth understanding of new possibilities for fermenting raw materials to produce beer, other beverages and foods.

“There’s a big difference between making good specialty beer and making eminent beer that has excellent cellaring potential,” says Michael Bom Frøst, associate professor and director, Nordic Food Lab.

“Our contribution to the project is our unique specialist knowledge of Nordic raw materials and our gastronomic approach to research. With all the science and craft, there are lots of opportunities for creating more fantastic and innovative products in the elite category.”

By Gaynor Selby

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