……..at Akkurat in Stockholm. This is the beer bar where my interest in beer was born. Stepping in to the pub feels like coming home even though it’s four years since I was here the last time. They have done some renovating and made the interior even nicer. When I first started to come here in 1995 they didn’t have a patio serving area. That was added and made bigger as years have gone by until now when it’s really a fantastic place to sit at and have a beer. It feels a little like sitting at home. Today is also a day when Stockholm weather is at it’s best, sunny, +25C (77F) and a light breeze. It’s relaxing to sit here watching traffic, pedestrians and bikers passing by. I have been at many beer bars all over the world and I keeping coming back here as soon as I’m within reasonable range from it. This just has to be one of the best beer bars in the world.
Akkurat have all the elements of a Great Beer Bar. The beer menu is just phenomenal. When the bar opened in the mid 1990:es it was called Akkurat Belgo Bar. They where featuring a fantastic selection of Belgian beers. At that time they had all the Trappist beers including Westvleteren, which is very hard to get. They had an amazing list of lambics and it’s here I fell in love with that beer style. Akkurat’s passion for beer even went so fare that they had their own fruit lambic made. They managed to convince the brewer at Cantillion in Brussels, Belgium to make a Cloudberry Lambic. Cloudberry mainly grows in the fare north in the midnight sun (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia, Alaska, Canada). It’s an amber-colored fruit similar to Raspberries or Blackberries. Akkurat shipped a truckload of the berries to Brussels and the brewer at Cantillon made a fruit lambic of the berries called Soleil de Minuit, The Midnight Sun. This was in 1999 and I don’t think the beer has been brewed since. It’s still available at Akkurat. I have one bottle left in may vintage beer cellar in Southern Sweden.
Akkurat was the pub that introduced Rale Ale to Sweden. Back when they started Real Ale was not brewed in Sweden. All of it was imported from England. I know that in the early days they lost many casks. Real Ale doesn’t travel well and they had to train their distributes in how to transport the beer from England without spoiling the beer. Akkurat was also the second bar outside of England that was honored with the Cask Marque Sign of a Great Pint. Ever since Akkurat opened they have put interesting beer aside for aging. They now have an impressive beer menu of aged beers. They also frequently have mini beer festivals featuring German microbreweries, Belgian Sour Beers and other interesting beers and beer regions. Akkurat doesn’t only feature European beers. They have a good selection of beers from American craft breweries. Today they have Bells Two Hearted Ale on draft.
There is Swedsih phenomenon call Stor Stark (Big Strong (beer)). Many years ago there was a tax bracket for taxing beer called Stor Stark. Back then the only beer style available was basically just light lager. If you order a Big Strong in Sweden you will get a beer from the main suppliers of light lager that is about 4.5-5%. It’s basically the same as ordering a Bud Light except for in the Big Strong case the brewery is not specified. Akkurat and their sister pub Oliver Twist wanted to have something more interesting to offer the Big Strong drinkers. They contacted Jämtlands Bryggeri in 1997 and asked them to brew a hop lager according to their own recipe. The beer was named Hell and it’s is a hoppy fresh and fruity lager that is delicious. Hell has been awarded 18 gold medals at Stockholm beer festival. In collaboration with Jämtlands Bryggeri, Akkurat and Oliver Twist later added their own dark lager named Heaven and their own ale named Fallen Angel.
I noticed today that here are significantly more beers from small Swedish craft breweries. The Swedish brewery scene have evolved since I was here last with more and more small breweries popping up. Akkurat have a stake in educating the public and to build a consumer base that will make it possible for new, small and interesting breweries to start brewing craft beer, just like the World Beer Festivals in North Carolina. The World Beer Festival has a huge stake in building the beer community in Durham, Raleigh and the rest of North Carolina. Akkurat have done the same by having a beer festival every day at their pub, which resulted in a knowledgeable beer community in Stockholm that spread in rest of Sweden.