This year's Copenhagen Beer Celebration was definitely my favourite so far. Four years in, and still breaking new ground, still inviting up and coming breweries to pitch up next to scene makers from the 1980s and 1990s, and still pouring measures of delicious beer.
By now, my fourth consecutive trip to CBC, some of the novelty has worn off, but novelty wasn't what got me here in the first place. The journey to the source of a movement, to experience some days in this delightful city, with its human-centric infrastructure, world class defining food and beer scenes, with beauty all around, raises questions about every single thing.
No man is an island, and no scene forms without some energy from another. Wandering around the hall, talking to those brewers fortunate enough to have their sample taps almost permanently open, those pouring bold new experiments, or beers deeply considered and refined, I'm not sure what I enjoyed savouring the most — everything inside the glass, or everything outside the glass. Both offered many lessons about balance, personality, structure, as well as what it means to take inspiration from someone or something else, but give something back too.
Each previous year there have been trends throughout the hall. If there was something that struck me this year, it's breweries taking sensory experiences and then turning their attention inwards. If the last years gave anyone the impression that beer has moved beyond hops, this year almost suggests that beer is moving beyond beer. Sours, a broad style definition, but one brought together by a sensory experience, barrel aged, a light handed transformation through wood and cultures therein, fruit additions, blends, and more. Big IPAs and Imperial Stouts were still dotted about, the rarer of which created queues and occasional frenzy, whilst a quiet revolution took place at other stands.
Copenhagen itself is an inspiring city, within which CBC feels incredibly natural, and as committed to a cause with a fabulous journey as it ever was. Attending this time as not just a fan of delicious beer, but as a co-founder of a new brewery, we met many lovely people, and made some great new friends. Thanks to everyone that made delicious beer, that innovated, that dug for deeper levels of perfection, that volunteered, and that came along as we did to hang out and have a great weekend — the spirit of which makes this scene one we take a lot from, and plan to give a lot back to. Cheers!