Denmark's best new brewery

Out of Denmark is our beer buyer’s new favourite brewery: Dry & Bitter. Not only do they have great names for the beers (hello Christian Bale Ale), the liquid itself is a great accomplishment. We spoke to co-founder Søren Wagner about the Danish beer scene

Tell us about the ethos you started out with at Dry & Bitter?
Dry & Bitter was always going to be a passion project first. The ethos and the philosophy is to brew and sell super fresh hoppy beers that have great flavour, but which are balanced drinking beers rather than extreme. I always say that you need to be able to drink a pint of a beer for it to be balanced and that is what we are fighting for. Apart from that, we focus deeply on creating complex sours where the key word, yet again, is balance.   

It is named with refreshing directness – is there more to it than that?
It originally started out as a joke on how we like our IPAs which was then quickly adapted into the brewery name. We just wanted to go for something quite direct and a message that is easy to understand.
How is the Danish beer scene evolving?  
The Danish scene is moving so fast right now. Key players such as Mikkeller, Warpigs, Amager and Alefarm have helped push Danish beer out into the world and this has forced us all to step up our game. With the quality and creativity that our competition is able to push out, we are forced to be kept on our toes and be constantly moving, learning and creating in order to keep ahead of the curb.  
What can Danish brewers offer the world of beer? Is there something that characterises them?
I think most people associate Danish beer with creativity and a slightly more open mind to what beer can and should be. Some of the more strange and wonderful creations I have had, come from Scandinavia. If there is one thing I would say we are particularly well known for it is probably hoppy beers in general.

What can you tell us about the fabulously named Christian Bale Ale? How did the recipe come about, and the name of course?!
The name came out of a comedy bit that Nacho Punch put on YouTube awhile back. It’s a joke on how hipsters order beer and the name is featured in there as part of a Batman joke. It made me chuckle and I thought the world deserved something like that. The recipe came about like most of them do for me. I get an idea and write down the basic outline of what I wanted the beer to taste like in my little black book. The next morning I sat down and banged out the exact recipe. Most of our beers are based around a flavor profile as a concept before we even start thinking about the ingredients and methods we are going to use.
We love your artwork. How does it come about?
Our artwork comes from our great designer, David “Sweet Nips” Perry. Dave works with us full time and is our creative visual genius among other things. He and I sit down once I have an idea about what the beer is going to be like and then we lay out some basic visual ideas that he then takes with him home and polishes them into something we both find fitting. We decided to go for a 70s-gig poster kind of look with a modern twist. We wanted to have some artwork that stood out in terms of what we normally see and I still have yet to see something quite like it out there.   

Which other new Danish breweries should we be looking out for?
Alefarm, Gamma and Warpigs are the ones who have impressed me the most. Really fresh solid beers that I would consider to have a high international level.
Tell us a little about your sour barrel aging programme.
Well, the barrels are my pride and joy. It is by far the most time consuming project in terms of how much time we spend on it and how little beer that actually comes out of it. We have around 50 barrels and two foudres which we try to keep full all the time. We do American inspired sours so mostly mixed fermentation and then prolonged barrel aging with various yeasts and bacteria and a lot of them we blend with fruit. The first three in this limited release project have already premiered and got a really nice reception.
Which beers are you really enjoying right now?
Stigbergets, O/O, Cloudwater, Other Half, Jester King and Jolly Pumpkin are where I spend my hard-earned beer money these days. These guys just make some of the most inspiring beer around.


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