Suomenlinnan Panimo

A short ferry ride from Helsinki is Suomenlinna, an old military fortress spread across six islands that is now a World Cultural Heritage Site and hosts museums, restaurants, various events, as well as a brewery/restaurant, Ravintola Suomenlinnan Panimo. My visit unfortunately fell in between lunch and dinner – the menu options looked quite good, though.

Two beers at Suomenlinnan Panimo

Two beers at Suomenlinnan Panimo — Suomenlinna, Finland

    Rob’s Picks

  • Saison La Fleur de L’ile – 5.5% – A bit muted. Light caramel malt start and a touch watery, but then the coriander and light clove and pepper kick in. Not all that great, but the best of the three I tried.
    The Rest

  • Höpken Pils – 4.2% – Clear straw yellow color. Light and bready with a lightly bitter finish. Touch of herbal hops.
  • Amphion Ale – 4.5% – Unfiltered. Hazy golden color. Kind of bitter. Not much in terms of malt or hop flavors. Registers as a beer, and that’s about it.

Their terrace was a great spot to hang out and have a beer after wandering around the islands. Just wish the beer had been better. Next time I’m in Helsinki I’ll be sure to stay for dinner.

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Stadin Panimo

I arrived in Helsinki on a Friday, with plans to meet up with friends of a friend that evening. After checking into my room, I made my way on foot through the city en route to their neighborhood in order to get my bearings. Met them at their local night market, and then walked to Stadin Panimo, which was not far but in an out-of-the-way spot. Might not have found it on my own.

The name basically means “City Brewery.” Stadin (“The City”) was the nickname for Helsinki, in much the same way that folks in the SF Bay Area refer to San Francisco as The City. The Stadin Panimo taproom is a cozy spot with a good number of taps, as well as an impressive bottle list — after making our way through the taster trays pictured below, I bought an on-premise bottle of Cantillon.

A whole lot of tasters at Stadin Panimo

A whole lot of tasters at Stadin Panimo — Helsinki, Finland

    Rob’s Picks

  • South Pacific Lager – 4.5% – Light, fairly crisp, lightly fruity. Doesn’t have that lager edge I’m used to, but quite drinkable.
  • American Saison – 6.5% – Tannic, hay aroma and flavor, with lemon, light funk, light pepper, and some caramel malt.
  • West Coast Session IPA – 4.5% – Light and very citrusy, decent body, easy drinking.
  • Gasometer Baltic Porter – 6% – Coffee/chocolate aroma and flavor, with light body, touch of alcohol, and a little sweet.
    The Rest

  • Stadin Kellerbier – 5.3% – Light and sweet, with light caramel. Not much for hops.
  • Stadifornia Common – 5.3% – Pretty smooth, with caramel malt and a hint of whiskey, but a touch watery. Interesting.
  • Stadin German Pils – 5.3% – Light, crisp, bready, with a touch of bitterness at the end.
  • American White IPA – 6.5% – Some coriander, light funk, light clove/banana, and some herbal hops.
  • Savuruis Portteri – 6.5% – Sweet (lactose or molasses?), chocolate/coffee, with dark chocolate bitter finish and a bit of smoke. Underlying hint of citrus adds some brightness. Sweetness builds up too much, though.

So yeah, a nice variety of beers on tap and a great bottle list. Pretty cool spot, if a little crowded. I also got plenty of brewery and travel suggestions to keep me busy for the next several days. Hopefully I’ll get around the finishing those subsequent brewery posts more quickly than it’s taken me to finish this one. Fingers crossed!

Panimoravintola Plevna

Where was I? Oh yeah, Tampere, Finland. I arrived on a Wednesday, saw a few sites, walked around town, and then went to Panimoravintola Plevna, a brewpub founded in 1994 in one of the old Finlayson cotton mill buildings. After sitting down at the bar, I found out their Siperia Stout had that day just won Best Beer in Finland 2015. I considered that a good sign. One of the women working there was surprised to learn I’d be in town until Friday. “There’s nothing to do in Tampere,” she said. I asked her for some suggestions, and the first few things she mentioned I’d already checked out that afternoon. Hmm. It was a good thing Plevna had enough beer on tap to keep me busy for the two nights I’d be there.

Three half-pours at Panimoravintola Plevna

Three half-pours at Panimoravintola Plevna — Tampere, Finland

    Rob’s Picks

  • Dark Lager / Plevnan Tumma – 5.6% – Roasty, chocolate malts. Quite smooth. Little bit of dark chocolate bitterness on the finish.
  • Bock – 6.6% – Sweet, but not too sweet. Caramel and brown sugar, but not too strong. There’s a softness to the malts. Very light herbal hoppiness.
  • Wheat Beer / Plevnan Vehnäolut – 5% – Clove/banana aroma. Big clove flavor all the way through. Light banana. Underlying breadiness and spiciness.
  • Rauchbier / Savuolut James – 5.2% – Smoky aroma. Big smoky flavor. Sort of like Laphroaig as a beer. Caramel maltiness, smooth. Really light hint of floral hops when it warms.
  • Little Black Number / Pikku Musta – 3.8% – Light, dry, roasty with a bit of dark chocolate, and a sweet zing. Kind of like a dark mild but sweeter.
  • Siperia Stout – 8% – Big creamy stout with thick chocolate, coffee, roasty maltiness and an underlying citrus edge. Long lingering flavors.
  • Mosaic Weizen / Vehnä – 5% – Clove, banana aroma. Not as strong in flavor as their regular wheat beer – integrates nicely with the tropical fruit hoppiness. Light spiciness towards the finish. Pretty cool flavor mix.
  • JFK – 5.5% – American pale wheat ale. Clove, banana aroma. Interesting floral, clove, banana flavor mix, with some spiciness, too. Supporting caramel malt. Not the best, but pretty cool and unique flavor mix that makes you think.
    The Rest

  • Pils Luomu – 4.7% – Light and bready, with a hint of lemon. Light herbal finish with some bitterness. Pretty standard.
  • Severin Extra IPA – 5.9% – Floral aroma and flavor. Caramal and roasty malts. Fairly bitter finish. Bit too malty for my tastes.
  • Brewery Mead / Plevnan Panimosima – 5% – Big honey aroma. Quite sweet. Honey, citrus, lemon. Alcohol edge. Underlying light floral flavor.
  • Plevna’s Cider / Plevnan Omenasiideri – 4.5% – Sweet and apple-y. Pretty crisp and a bit dry, but too sweet for me.
  • Plevna’s Cider / Plevnan Omenasiideri Extra Dry – 4.5% – Cloudy. Not nearly as sweet as the previous cider, but has a bit of funk and tartness. Not a bad thing, but surprising and a bit odd. Dry tart finish.
  • Plevnan Stout – 7% – Dry stout. Dark chocolate, coffee, plus some roasty malt, but there’s a certain odd sweetness lurking about. Lingering dark chocolate flavor and bitterness.
  • Cotton Ale – 4.7% – Pale ale. Floral and citrus aroma and flavor, with underlying caramel malt. Some tropical hop flavor, too, and finishes dry and tannic. A little flat, though. Could be really good with some carbonation.

On Thursday, I slept in, did some leisurely sightseeing, then ended up at Plevna again. Have to say, Tampere isn’t the most exciting place, but it’s a relaxing visit and there’s plenty of beer at Plevna to slake your thirst for a night or two.

Bock’s Corner Brewery

After Stockholm, I headed north, visiting a few towns before reaching Umeå, where I took a ferry across the Baltic Sea to Vaasa, Finland. Went straight to the visitor info office to find out about rooms, restaurants, and breweries, and the women working there were very helpful. So, after walking around town and having a good dinner, I headed to the recently opened Bock’s Corner Brewery, which was about a 15-20 minute walk from my room. They’re in an astonishingly beautiful old building that used to house Bock’s Brewery, which closed in the 80’s. The new owners have sunk a lot of money (or so it looked) into renovating the space and buying a shiny new brewhouse. Lots of old stone, wood, and brick. There’s a pizza oven, too, but they still seemed to be testing out recipes when I was there. They even roast their own coffee.

no bock that day at bock's corner

Amazing ambiance at Bock’s Corner — Vaasa, Finland

    Rob’s Picks

  • Pils – 5% – Grassy, sweet aroma. Grassy, bready, honey, touch of lemon flavor mix. Hint of bitterness on finish.
  • Dunkel – 4.9% – Caramel, biscuit, and toast maltiness, with very light coffee. Also hint of bitterness on finish.
  • Weissbier – 5.3% – Clove, light banana, to a spicy finish. Light underlying breadiness – not as much as I expected, but works well.
    The Rest

  • Pale Ale – 4.7% – Almost tea-like aroma. Caramel, light biscuit, and herbal flavors with an odd, underlying almost-sweetness.

The full names of the beers were all of the format Bock’s Pils, Bock’s Dunkel, etc. Made me wonder if they’d come out with a Bock’s Bock. So right after typing that, I checked Untappd, and yes, they do now have a Bock’s Bock. That makes me happy.

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