Nørrebro Bryghus Launches Old Odense Ale – A Unique Beer Created in a Unique Way!

It is with great pride and pleasure that Nørrebro Bryghus hereby announces that Old Odense Ale – a truly unique, challenging and charming beer, created as a joint brewing project between Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head and Nørrebro Bryghus – is now available through selected outlets in the US.The BeerOld Odense Ale is a 7.5 ABV beer that defies any known beer style or category. On the label we describe it as “Ale brewed with maple syrup and herbs”. But this says precious little about this bright and copper coloured beer with a very sparse and fragile head. The aroma is extremely complex and spicy, with notes of anis, tobacco, brettanomyces, leather and dried fruits. The body is rich and with a delicate sweetness that balances the sour tartness, making it far more accessible than a Belgian lambic, which would be the only well known style to which one could possibly compare Old Odense Ale.

The Creation

Following an initial contact between Sam Calagione and us at Nørrebro Bryghus, we agreed that Sam would visit Nørrebro Bryghus and do a guest brew in June 2007, and when we started discussing which beer to brew, Sam was quite adamant that it be an old, traditional Danish beer style. We therefore unearthed the obscure ‘Odense Old Style Ale’ web page with a translation of a 15th century pre-hop era gruit ale recipe from the town of Odense, and the process of converting this into something that might be brewed on a modern brewing system commenced. Not an easy task, which this list of ingredients might illustrate: Pale and dark barley malt, oats, fine syrup (in our translation: maple syrup form Sam’s dad’s farm in Massachusetts), smoked dark syrup, fir branches and fir bark, wood sage, hyssop, blackthorn berries, woodruff and star spice.

The actual brewing of this beer was as fun as it was crazy and nerve-racking – stuff for an entire article (that actually has been written, but is yet to be published). Suffice to say here, that the amazing souring of the beer, that happened within 48 hours of fermentation, must be due to the potent ‘herbal juice’ hand squeezed by our honoured guest brewer from the herbs in the 7 huge gauze bags, and added to the wort kettle during the boil.

How do I get hold of ‘Old Odense Ale’?

Old Odense Ale is available in the US through our importer, Shelton Brothers of Belchertown, MA (www.sheltonbrothers.com). And don’t worry – the FDA has received samples for analysis for toxic substances (!) and has given us the green light to sell the beer in the US.

Who and what is Nørrebro Bryghus?

In September 2003 Nørrebro Bryghus opened its combined brewery, restaurant and bar in a former metal workshop close to downtown Copenhagen. The mission from day one was to contribute to a new evolution and expansion of the Danish beer culture. The Nørrebro Bryghus concept is based on creating the total experience – great beers, modern beer cuisine, excellent service in a unique ambience surrounded by award winning design and contemporary architecture.

As it is the vision of Nørrebro Bryghus to supply quality beer to any venue where the customers expect the very best in craft beer, we launched our beers on bottles and kegs in 2006. Export began in 2007 with Sweden, Finland and the USA as the first markets importing Nørrebro Bryghus beers. As the first Danish craft brewery, Nørrebro Bryghus won two bronze medals at the 2008 World Beer Cup® in San Diego.

Anders Kissmeyer, August 2008

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