I’ll be completely honest: one of the major factors that drew me to visit Copenhagen wasn’t the gorgeous multi-colored houses along the harbor or the Little Mermaid Statue, but the presence of the Mikkeller Bar. It is a tiny, virtually undecorated, two room closet of a bar that is housed in the basement of a non-descript building. They do, however, happen to have some of the best beer available anywhere. In fact, after visiting several times during my stay, this has vaulted up to the short list that is “My favorite places on the planet”.
Besides the 20 rotating taps (10 that are Mikkeller beers and 10 guest beers), they also have the single best beer menu I have ever seen. Think rare Cantillon sours, unheard-of De Fonteinin brews, every Mikkeller beer every produced (including their one-offs and MANY barrel-aged versions), vintage Dark Lords, collaborations of every combination of De Struisse, Cigar City, Mikkeller, and Three Floyds, etc. and then some. In fact, after refering back to the comments from my post about Brewdog in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Mikkeller bar had available over a dozen Brewdog beers, including the trifecta: Tactical Nuclear Penguin, Sink the Bismark, and even The End of the World (with the former 2 costing around USD$500-600 per bottle and the latter in the USD$3,000 range). This was pure, unadulterated beer-geekery at its finest.
There was one other beer that I was on a quest to try while visiting Copenhagen: the elusive Cantillon Blaeber. It is a blueberry lambic (think a sour fruit beer that has been aged for several years in barrels) that is only sold at one store in the world and only when they release a batch every few years. The last release was 2 months ago, so I was hoping that, with a bit of smooth talking, they might still have a bottle or two tucked away somewhere, as this has been one of the longest-standing brews on my “Beer Wish List.”
But alas, I had heard that the store, Olbutikken (which is coincidentally around the corner from the Mikkeller Bar), operated at weird hours, and I was burned as a result. The store was closed when I arrived:
But much to my excitement, the fine folks back at the Mikkeller Bar (yes, after another visit), were able to oblige me my wish, with a few smiles and welcomed nods of approval taboot. Behold:
And I don’t mean to dominate this “Food and Drink” post with pictures of beer, but I didn’t find much specific to write about in regards to their cuisine. In fact the most prolific restaurants I could see were kebab joints, pizza places, and bad chinese food, which I would hardly classify as Danish. That being said, they did have quite a few bakeries to choose from, which is where I ate most of my meals.
There is one last point of note in regards to the culinary scene in Copenhagen to bring to light. Every year, a group of top chefs, food writers, critics, and all-around culinarians get together and vote for the top 100 restaurants on the planet. And the restaurant that received the prestigious rank of #1 in the world this last iteration (and for the 2nd time, in fact) was a small place called Noma, that happens to be located at the end of a pier right in the heart of Copenhagen.
The foodie in me was screaming that I couldn’t let an opportunity like this slip away (disregarding, for a moment, the fact that you have to book your reservation weeks or even months in advance), but the budget traveller in me thought it better to not spend a month’s budget on one meal, eventhough I’m sure it would have been quite the life experience. Alas, the closest I got was the front entrance:
And as a final note, I promise that after a few more countries (namely Belgium), that the percentage of “Food and Drink” posts that focus on beer will drastically decrease — so don’t worry if you’ve been wading through these waiting for something that better suits your palate. Tomorrow, I’m leaving Berlin and am off to Amsterdam, with Brussels on deck. I should have a Berlin post up soon, but until then, cheers!
EDIT — At the time I wrote this post, I wasn’t aware of the burgeoning “New Nordic Cuisine” revolution that would eventually take over the world, led by Noma’s head chef Rene Redzepi. Now that I’ve been fully versed in their “a time and place” style of cooking, Copenhagen has jumped right back up atop my travel wish list, as I need the return visit to sample this culinary trend for myself.