Tag Archives: beer

Brews that Rock: Põhjala

Apart from a specific enthousiasm about music, I’ve been a beer enthousiast for a long time. I’d like to share a bit about one of my favorite beers, namely Põhjala from Estonia. A wonderful little brewery.

It says a lot if a small brewery is willing to drop by in Eindhoven twice to give people  a taste of their brilliant products. Põhjala dropped by the first time in Van Moll, the local brewpub where you could enjoy a wide range of beers from the Estonians. Lately they returned to hang out with beer lovers in the cosy beer shop De Bierbrigadier. These are also two spots that I really recommend if you drop by in my city and wish to try some beers.

I got a Pohjala shirt, it's really seriously cool
I got a Pohjala shirt, it’s really seriously cool

Estonian Craft Beer

I’ve been to Estonia twice, to visit the capital Tallinn and Tartu. What was immediately noticable was the lack of traditional brews and the more flavorous products. What you’d find was pretty much the big brews like SakuAlexander and the weirdly named A. Le Coq. There was also a beer named ROCK, but it didn’t really rock.

That is indeed the case, according to marketeer Peeter Keek, who dropped by in Eindhoven on the next tour of the young brand. It just wasn’t there: “When we started making beer with Põhjala, we really were the first. No one else was making craft beer in Estonia. Since, it really has exploded in our country.”  It’s true, Estonia has really seen a brewvolution in the last years with with tons of brewers popping up and as a cherry on the cake there’s even the Tallinn Craft Beer Weekend (organised by Põhjala apparently). According to Peeter, the weekend is well worth the trip with a lot of beers to taste. The price is well worth it.

Scottish inspiratin

The secret ingrediënt of Põhjala brews is a very specific one. He’s called Chris Pilkington and he used to brew beers for no other than Brewdog, the pinnacle of craft breweries for many beer geeks. Where Brewdog is pushing out a stable series of high class beers, Põhjala  started pushing the envelope on flavor with interesting, refreshing brews. The brewery was started by four entrepeneurs and a master brewer and clearly has their eyes set on the top, nothing less.

There’s a lot of experiment going on in their brewing, but also a lot of tweaking. What they don’t do is try to make crazy beers, they’re aiming for good stuff. I highly doubt that anyone will reinvent the drink in a radical manner, we already know what is good and so do these gentlemen.

yeah, this is some of the beer from Pohjala with very cool labels.
yeah, this is some of the beer from Pohjala with very cool labels.

The Beers

Peeter informed the visitors at great length about the special flavors and unique beers the brewery is producing: “We are as a brewer focussing on the heavy, black beers. It’s our specialty, which you can also see in our range.”  As he hols up a bottle of the brilliant Öö and the Must Kuld. The first is a imperial Baltic porter, offering the unique flavors of a Baltic porter with the dark nights and the unruly nature of these regions. The Must Kuld is more temperate, but a great porter that is the basis for various other great products, like a Kenya coffee porter and a cherry porter.

I have to mention one other variation of the Öö, named the Valge Öö, which is a white stout. Did you read that? A white stout! It’s a smooth flavoured, but potent drink that will set you back for a moment. The flavor is that of a stout, but the eye tells you differently. I can go on about their favulous beers, but I think this’ll do for now. Go try them yourself!
Ok, there’s this magic double IPA with ever changing hops, which makes the beer so surprisingly different. The edition I had to try was almost like liquorice hints in the beer, curious what you’ll get.

Vibe

Põhjala doesn’t feel old fashioned like a folk band, it’s a bit like punkrock in my opinion. Going against the grain, but in their own respectful way. It’s not bottled violence, but it certainly is a beer that you won’t buy in a six pack and it will surely rise above others in the years to come. Starting a craft brewery in a country that has none is kind of saying: We’ll start our own scene, we’ll just do it ourselves. Which is… the punkrock ethos in brewing.

It has its very own scene, exploring new areas with familiar ingredients, trying to perfect their craft and beers along. They are in complete control of their very own product and I hope to get to try a lot of them. There’s a risky flavor to the beer, something edgy and it really speaks to me as a brewer I dig and a beer to enjoy in winter and summer alike.

(there’s an unnecessary amount of references in the last bit to punkrock)

Don’t take my word for it, this guy says so too.

New Years Resolutions

I have been ill for more than a month. I have not been to the gym, didn’t follow my diet and probably gained some weight. I’m not much for the idealistic new years resolutions, but I’ve decided that I need to restart my routine and go a bit further in following up my own goals.  So here goes, my new years resolution. Believe me when I say this is the firs time I actually decide to have those.

1. Clean Eating 2.0

I started eating paleo in januari 2013. One day I just started doing it and I decided that this was something I could believe in and follow up. I’ve written about this before, but here is the Nerd Fitness guide that inspired me to pick up this diet. What it essentially means is that I stop eating everything that is delivered to my door, that is pre-made and what contains potatoes, grains and legumes. Also you need to avoid anything that is high in sugars, which you don’t need. Well, sugar in itself is something to avoid. This doesn’t mean you can’t have good food though. Also, I used to have one cheat day a week, that will be reduced to ‘one meal’. That will be pretty hard, butI’ve noticed that complete avoidance is pretty much impossible + when you suddenly can’t avoid it your body respons very badly to it. So having a minimal intake gives the body the right kinda shock.

Yes, I’ve read all the ‘debunking the paleo diet’ things too, and I think its sad. Obviously a diet alone is not enough, paleo alone does not make you a model, nor will it work for everyone. It does for me though, I have less stomach issues and drowsy headaches. Always keep your values in check though and don’t hesitate to drop some vitamines.

2. Gym 2.0

Source: Pinterest (Source unknown)

I’ve been going to the gym for years, but only last year I started noticing change. I felt much better, fitter and healthier due to my more intense schedules and determination in the activity. Due to illness and exhaustion, I did not do that much in the past month and I feel it in every fibre of my body. My goal is to increase muscle tissue this year and be able to lift, press, deadlift and squat certain weights. It’s all around 50.. I don’t need to get bulky, I just want to be strong and fit and that seems like a great goal for 2015.

Today I went to the gym for the first time in a long while again and it felt great. I feel motivated and just good about having gone there.

3. Synergy in the Relationship

Source: Bored Panda.com

I hope to reach a new level in the way my relationship works. We work well together, but I want to achieve what I considere synergie. Work together and support eachother on our life goals and understand and feel what matters to eachother. No matter how you translate synergie, it requires commitment that I am willing to put into it. I hope to find ways to improve it even further this year.

I’ve learned in the past year that relationships usually give you back what you put in to them. If you want to work on it, go for it and do your best first, rewards will come laterin the form of returned favours. If you don’t want to make the effort, neither will your partner.

4. Travel 

Source: Essential Travel

I love travelling and seeing new places and this year I hope to add some countries to my list. One is already planned, which is a visit to Greece. If summer holidays fall through for some reason, then I hope to visit Malta too. In that case I also hope to make plans for the future and see some other locations . The Balkan is currently a destination that is much favored,but so is Iceland, Norway (Scandinavia) and Portugal. I’m a firm believer that travel is something that improves you and allows you to grow as a person. If not that, then travelling with only your minimum stuff takes away so much of the normal stress, its amazing. Travel is difficult sometimes, but doing it always feels super rewarding.

5. Write more and try some more beers 

Source: puretravel.com

As you might know, I’m quite excited about my blog, but I have been struggling to find a routine to it and a way to write that speaks to everyone. I hope to write more and better stuff this year and make you keep on coming back. Thanks for checking it out anyways.

I also hope to keep on keeping track of the beers I’ve tried on Untapped and never drink the same beer twice. That’s a serious commitment, since I hope to find more remarkable tastes. Yes, it is not quite in line with my previous resolutions. Still, one needs to relax now and then, so why not combine that with discovery?

If you want to help me, that’d be most welcome. How? Simply let me know where you are going and if you want to take something home for me. I’ll just pay you back.

So there goes, my resolutions. They’re more targets I guess, goals and things I want to do and focus on. I also want to read much more books. Let’s make this a good year with lots of progress! What will you try to achieve this year?