Porridge, cabers and stout... in Sweden
More from Gotland: Porter on prescription
I take a special interest in Oatmeal Stout as I have played a part in its revival.
I was both gratified and astonished to see the Oat Malt interpretation of the brew from the Scottish brewery Maclay's being produced under licence on the Swedish island of Gotland.
"We like this beer; we Gotlanders eat porridge and toss cabers, too," the brewer told me.
I think he was being serious.
The beer, as creamy and chocolatey as I remember it in its Alloa birthplace, had just been added to the range of a micro-brewery in Gotland's capital, Visby.
This tiny town, with its 13th-century walls intact, has at its centre two spectacular, pre-Reformation church ruins.
Opposite them is a 1700s building that once housed a Methodist church and from 1850 to 1910 a brewery, which made porter and dark lager.
The small building, with church-like arched windows, was very smartly restored in 1995 as Gotlands Bryggeri. The second word means brewery. Gotlands Bryggeri, a micro, is owned by Spendrups, Sweden's second biggest brewer.
The micro offers an opportunity to produce small quantities of a speciality like the Oat Malt Stout not only for Gotland but also for mainland Sweden.
The parent company also brews a 4.2 per cent Scotch Ale under licence from Maclay's.
Meanwhile, Gotlands Bryggeri is using Maclay's yeast in a product of its own, bearing an older spelling of the town's name and highlighting the ecclesiastical location.
Wisby Kiosteroel ("Cloister Beer") marries the top-fermenting Scottish yeast to a 1054 brew of Pilsner, Munich and wheat malts, with German hops. The result is an orangey-coloured brew, served unfiltered, balancing yeasty flavours with peachy fruitiness and hints of honey.
It is dangerously refreshing for a beer of 6 per cent alcohol by volume. The brewery also has a clean, dry, lager called Munkoel, at 3.5 and 5.5.
Published Online: APR 18, 2000
Published in Print: JAN 1, 1997
In: What's Brewing
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