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Beer tap at a bar in Skåne
The microbrewery movement has rooted itself firmly in Sweden. The country boasts more microbreweries per capita than anywhere else, apart from the UK.
Photo credit: Carolina Romare

Swedish beer and beverages – a craft affair

Sweden boasts some 400 microbreweries, crafting beer and other types of Swedish beverages using sustainable methods.

Craft beer enthusiasts will find a smorgasbord of microbreweries in Sweden, producing beer as well as other drinks, such as ciders and soda. The microbrewery movement, which began on the American west coast in the late 1960s, has rooted itself firmly in Sweden. You’ll find almost 400 innovative craft beer purveyors here, most of which make their brews in eco-friendly ways, using locally sourced, organic ingredients. The country boasts more microbreweries per capita than anywhere else, apart from the UK.

New microbreweries have blossomed over the last two decades, producing ever more intriguing artisan brews – from Jämtlands Bryggeri’s coffee stout to Brewski’s Raspberry Liquorice Vanilla Sorbet wheat beer. Alongside these more experimental offerings, you’ll find plenty of artisan variants across pilsner, lager, pale ale and wheat beer. In addition, some breweries offer cider, spirits and soda.

A visit to Sweden’s well-stocked liquor store ‘Systembolaget’ – Sweden’s official alcohol purveyor – opens up a world of Swedish beverages. You’ll find stores across the country as well as a recently opened webshop.

Here’s a Sweden-wide list, from north to south, of eight microbreweries, each with its own identity:

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Beer Studio

A selection of Beer Studio beers being cooled down in the snow outside the brewery.

Photo: Beer Studio

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Beer Studio

Photo: Beer Studio

Beer Studio

Photo: Beer Studio

Jämtlands bryggeri

Photo: Jämtlands bryggeri

Sigtuna Brygghus

Photo: sigtunabrygghus.se

Oppigårds Bryggeri

Photo: oppigards.com

Beer Studio, Umeå

Founded in 2013 and based in a rustic garage, Umeå’s Beer Studio has a youthful feel to its offerings, as evidenced in the music-inspired artwork adorning the creatively designed cans. The names are distinctive, too – B-Side Brown Ale, Loop Session Lager and Equalizer IPA. The most experimental beer of the range would have to be the Sputnik Krisis Russian Imperial Stout. This richly, malty beer is best matched with powerful flavours – the Beer Studio team recommends either “a slab of tender seasoned porterhouse steak or the smelliest cheese you can possibly cope with”. In 2017, Beer Studio added soft drinks to its repertoire – enter Pop Art Craft Soda, infused with typically Swedish flavours, such as lingonberry and blueberry. Beer Studio’s offerings can be sampled at many restaurants, and are stocked at Systembolaget.

Jämtlands Bryggeri, Pilgrimstad

Founded in 1995, Jämtlands Bryggeri is a respected force in the world of Swedish beverages. The President lager was the first beer to be bottled up at the Pilgrimstad-based brewery, and another 15 have followed since. The Mango IPA is a fresh, fruity affair, while the Coffee Stout is more robust, infused with a hearty measure of locally roasted coffee. Whichever option you choose, it’s all of the “fresh” variety, meaning it’s filtered and not pasteurised, and free from additives and preservatives. You’ll find Jämtlands Bryggeri’s decorative bottles in local restaurants, and a good selection lines Systembolaget’s shelves.

Oppigårds Bryggeri, Hedemora

Located in an 18th century farm in Hedemora, in central Sweden, Oppigårds Bryggeri produced its first beer in 2003. Despite rapid success and increases in production, it’s still a family-run business. The brewery prides itself firstly on the quality of its beer, but also on the responsible disposal and re-use of by-products – spent grains, yeast and hops – in partnership with local farmers. Like many of the craft beer makers that have sprung up over the past couple of decades, Oppigårds found initial success with bold flavours and strong alcohol content in offerings, such as the Indian Tribute IPA, the Thurbo Double IPA, and the Thurbo Stout, as well as single-hop varieties such as the Amarillo and Single Hop Ale. More recent additions include lower strength “session” ales, while the latest Heritage Collection includes traditional brews – weissbier, porter, dunkel and pilsner.

Sigtuna Brygghus, Sigtuna

Sigtuna Brygghus, less than a 10 minute drive from Arlanda airport, launched in 2005 with modest intentions, but has swiftly become a mainstay of the craft-brewing scene, with a dual focus on sustainability and experimentation. This beermaker runs on renewable power only and takes a responsible approach to its waste products, turning them into biogas. There are three organic ales in Sigtuna Brygghus’ line-up, along with a variety of special ales and limited edition small-batch releases and non-alcoholic beers. Take a brewery tour to try a variety or stock up on a few bottles at Systembolaget.

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Omaka restaurang and brewery

Omaka is a brewery and a restaurant in Stockholm. The brewery is located in the room behind the restaurant.

Photo: Omaka beer

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Omaka restaurang and brewery

Photo: Omaka beer

Strange Brew

Photo: Strange Brew

Qvänum Mat & Malt

Photo: Sebastian Streith/QMM.se

Fjäderholmarnas Bryggeri

Photo: Anton Malm

Fjäderholmarnas Bryggeri

Photo: Anton Malm

Strange Brew, Strängnäs

“Small, local and very much hands-on” – that’s how Strange Brew in Strängnäs, a 1 hour drive west from Stockholm, likes to describe its artisanal operation. The delicious beers crafted here are unfiltered and dry-hopped, and the punchy aroma owes to the generous hopping schedule, following the primary fermentation. Alongside the brewery, the company has tapped into the outdoor eating boom by launching a number of experiences including BeverageTruck and FoodTruck – serving casual but high-quality dishes such as burgers made from locally sourced meat, alongside beer served fresh from the barrel.

Omaka, Stockholm

Located in central Stockholm, Omaka is a brewery and restaurant combining food and Swedish beverages to perfection. On the inventive beer list you’ll find the dry, crisp and slightly bitter variety Mamma (mother), while on the opposite end of the flavour spectrum, there’s the chocolaty, berry-like Svartskog. A tasting menu is offered, complete with beer pairing and the dishes served up are developed to celebrate contrast. Expect everything from German sausage to lighter, Japanese-inspired dishes.

Fjäderholmarnas Bryggeri, Stockholm

Idyllically located in the Stockholm archipelago, Fjäderholmarnas Bryggeri swung open its doors in 2014 to offer visitors a “complete craft beer experience”. The resident brewpub allows you to order fresh beer straight from the barrel, getting tips on what food might go with your drink. The brewery’s beer tasting sessions allow you to sample the many varieties on offer – from pilsner and IPA, to stout. Workshops are held regularly if you’re keen to learn more about the Swedish beer tradition. The creatively designed bottles – including Monkey Business Apa, Pilsner-Dricka and limited editions such as the chocolaty stout Big Mama – can be bought at Systembolaget.

Qvänum Mat & Malt, Kvänum

As the name suggests, Qvänum Mat & Malt (Qvänum food and malt), a 1.5 hour drive north-east of Gothenburg, develops beer to match food, not the other way round. The Ruby Porter, for instance, goes particularly well with mature cheese. It’s infused with locally sourced raspberries and has notes of marmalade and dark chocolate. Whichever organic brew you opt for, all are made from hops, yeast and barley malt – and the slightly less common rye and wheat – plus the occasional dash of locally sourced fruit and veg, such as rhubarb or parsnip. Collaborating with local bakery Dafgård, Qvänum gathers leftover bread and uses it to craft beer – all of which is unpasteurised, unfiltered and free of additives. Qvänum also produces other Swedish beverages, namely spirits such as brandy and aquavit. Tasting sessions are organised regularly.

Article sponsored by

EU and Swedish Board of Agriculture