Wet Your Beak: Copenhagen Denmark

I unabashedly love Copenhagen. It’s a fantastic city on the water, full of diverse cuisine, friendly people, and delicious beers. I’ve been to Copenhagen twice, going back to back years for the Mikkeller/Copenhagen Beer Celebration. If you’re going to Copenhagen soon, here’s a list of places to wet your beak.

Mikkeller Viktoriagade

This bar has served as the Capital of the Mikkeller empire to some extent. It’s clustered with Mikkel’s fine dining restaurant Ol & Brod as well as the new restaurant Hyggestand. This important outlet of the Mikkeller brand is a decidedly small, and cramped environment when the bar hosts events. The bar exists in a sub-ground level location where you enter what would often be cellar stairs at some establishments. The ceiling is low which can add to the ambiance when the bar is calm, but can be a bit stress inducing during a packed event. This Mikkeller outpost is composed of 2 rooms, with the bigger of the two containing the bar. A chalk taplist is behind the bar, and if you seek out the bottle list, there is a fantastic collection of Mikkeller one-offs, collaborations, and incredible barrel aged beers. Some are certainly expensive, but you can’t find barrel aged Dark Lords at any price at most bars you go to, right?

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Tell your friends, to get to Mikkeller & Friends, and we can be friends.

Mikkeller & Friends

Norrebro is a neighborhood, as the name might imply, in a Northern part of the city. On foot, it’s about a 45 minute walk from Viktoriagade, or a 10 minute taxi ride. This location is bigger than the Viktoriagade location, both in seating, and in taps. There are 2 bars at this location. The first is just as you descend the stairs into the building (not unlike the entry into Viktoriagade) to the right. The second bar is off to the left, in the next room. This bar is a good choice for a smallish group, as there are not many spaces easily able to accommodate bigger groups of more than 5 or so people. In addition to the main rooms near the bar, there is a smaller nook area with some crates serving as tables and some stools along a rail area to set drinks. This area is located next to the men’s room, which is alright as long as no one leaves the door wide open.

There is a bottle list here as well, with a fair overlap of things from Viktoriagade but things that are not seen there, as well. Personally in this facet, I think Viktoriagade is slightly better, but the abundance of taps here and sheer availability of seats does make this location desirable in its own right.

 

Koelschip

There’s a pretty small club that exists of incredible lambic bars with deep cellars and fun inventive beers in that style. If you’re keeping track, this list consists primarily of Grote Dorst, Akkurat, De Heeren Van Liederkerke and Koelschip. If your favorite establishment routinely has seasonal loons, 10 year old lambic, and bottles from defunct producers, there’s a good chance they belong in this list as well. Koelschip is the newest of this group. This tiny location adjoining Mikkeller & Friends features décor that evokes some of the things I love about Grote Dorst. It has a charm that, while manufactured and not authentic in the same way Grote Dorst is, seems to fairly channel the spirit of that world class lambic cafe. Their beer also follows in this vein.

They only possess about 4-5 taps, but your time may be better spent in the extensive bottle list. Finding old Saint Lams and Oude Kriek is par for the course here. Interested in trying some old Bellevue or Eylenbosch? This may be one of your last options to pursue those bottles. Interested in trying something exciting from Bokkereyder? There’s a chance they have it, as they are one of only 3 bars currently receiving bottles to serve of Raf’s delicious goat lambic. Denis Vansant aka “The Belgian,” tends bar and provides expert service and will happily be your Sherpa up the Lambic Mountain. He is an exceptionally knowledgeable person with a warm personality, and lends to the excellent reputation of this place.

 

Brus

Brus is a brewpub associated with To Øl. Like Mikkeller & Friends and Koelschip, it is up in the Norrebro neighborhood. By comparison to the Mikkeller bars, this place feels quite large with 2 big dining room areas. Place your food order at a counter, let them know where you’re sitting and they bring the food out to you. On my trip there, I had some very enjoyable hot chicken as well as a side of broccolini. The beer list primarily consists of options from To Ol as well as the house labeled Brus. If you’ve seen many of To Ol’s beers, you know they take chances on some styles. The tap list does seem to channel this as well.

In addition to the brewpub, there is an attached bottle shop selling things both to go, and for on site consumption. You will probably not see an establishment with more To Øl beers than this location. In addition, there is a fair amount of other Belgian lambic selections (3F, Cantillon, Tilquin,) Swedish brewers, and several American options as well.

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When the sun is out, the patio is a great place to be at Warpigs

Warpigs

I unabashedly love this place. From its seamless transition from a meat processing building, to a world class meat smoking building, Warpigs is an incredible find in Europe if you fancy yourself a barbecue enthusiast. Often considered the best example of American style smoked meats, Warpigs brewpub is a must visit for beer nerds and foodies alike.

Immediately upon walking in, the food counter stands before you. They have a board with all their daily available selections. Look carefully as a small sign will be next to the menu item if they’ve sold out for the day. I personally love the brisket and hot link, with a side of hush puppies and pimento cheese. I haven’t had a meat selection that I didn’t like, but those shine a little brighter. It might also be worth checking to see what the special Hot Link of the day is. For mac and cheese lovers, their mac is fairly unusual using a small noodle, similar to Kraft Mac & Cheese noodles, but even a bit smaller, and the cheese is close to soupy. It isn’t, but it is close.

After getting your food, a small chalkboard of their current draft list is available at the cashier. This can all be fairly overwhelming as you may not have much time to peruse the board, before ordering while paying for your food selection. You can always go drop off your tray at one of the many large communal tables and return to the main bar to place your order. Some claim that hops dominate the tap board here. I think they are a large integral part of the taplist, given what people are attracted to, but there are also interesting stouts, barleywines and wild ales I experienced while there.

Near the bar you may find a smaller menu of available Warpigs bottles. Most are available to go, or for on-site consumption if you’d prefer.

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The daily menu of barbeque at Warpigs

Himmeriget

Don’t try to pronounce the name of this place. It’s mostly impossible. You’ll find Danes pronounce it where it sounds like the name is “Him-il-uh.” This bar has ties to Jeppe and the Evil Twin brand, but there is a stellar array of other American beers from breweries that often do the contract brewing of Evil Twin stuff like Westbrook. There is no shortage of great lambic to be found here, as well.

What most people know Himmeriget for is its availability for on-site consumption of Cantillon Blabaer. During my visit, they have several vintages and multiple bottle sizes of several of those vintages. If you’re in Copenhagen, this is a reason to visit Himmeriget on its own. After you have your fill of blueberry, visit the liberal selections of other bottles of Cantillon and Drie Fonteinen. You may find bottles of Armand & Tomme available. On our visit, we found it comical that an A&T cost only about 10€ more than a bottle of fresh Abraxas. That’s a no brainer for Americans, any time.

The bourbon selection available is exceptionally impressive if you need some strong water between your lambic forays. If you seek some big stouts, typically multiple variants of barrel aged Mexican Cake may be on the menu, including the very rare ones like Pappy, Coconut, or Reserva.

 

Fermentoren

Before more of the establishment of these places above, there was Fermentoren. Fermentoren is an excellent beer bar with a divey feel to it. Inside it has a low ceiling and some of the intimate qualities you’d find at some of the Mikkeller bars but it is noticeably darker. Draft beer leads the way here. Fermentoren has no shortage of great American imports, including lots of desirable hoppy things and a strong selection of Danish and Swedish beers. This is not a strong lambic spot, but there’s other places to scratch that itch. Outside, there are several picnic tables semi blocked off from the roads and sidewalks by greenery. They don’t serve food but occasionally do host an outdoor barbecue session with a grill outside.

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Paper Island

Papirøen

Inevitably you’re going to do the touristy stuff like check out Nyhavn. When you’re in the area, across the channel, there is Papirøen. Google Maps refers to it as “Copenhagen Street Food,” but it’s more commonly known as Paper Island. It’s a large warehouse building once used for paper storage, that’s been converted into a sizable food market. You’ll find easily 10+ styles of food options, from street sushi, chicken sandwiches and falafel to dessert pancakes and cheesecake.  There’s also a scattering of bars and a beer trailer. Some of the beers here, were frankly interesting craft options that you might not see going through the Mikkel circuit of bars. If the weather is nice, you can grab a seat along the channel and enjoy the sea breeze. This is a great spot to go to, whether you’re starving for a big meal, or are just feeling a little peckish.

 

Rbabarrab

Tucked between a small pizza shop and one of the best beer stores in Copenhagen, Rbabarrab is a small bar with a nice selection of taps. It’s fairly ordinary to find great Omnipollo pours here. There’s about 8-10 taps of great things. This bar is clustered in the same stretch as Fermentoren and Warpigs, so if you’re cruising that area or pop in to Kihoskh for bottles to go, Rbabarrab is convenient to duck your head into and see what’s flowing.

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The birds on Paper Island will literally rip your face off

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