If you’re looking to explore the hottest craft beer scene in Europe, look North to Denmark’s enchanting capital city. Copenhagen’s craft beer culture is an intoxicating mix of tradition and innovation that creates an unforgettable experience for beer enthusiasts. Here, there’s room for both world-renowned breweries like Mikkeller and Carlsberg, as well as lesser-known but exciting small-batch breweries bursting at the seams to win over your taste buds.
As if that weren’t enticing enough, the city is also home to award-winning, beer-centric restaurants, informative (and tasty) beer tours, and other one-of-a-kind beer-focused experiences just waiting to be explored. Get ready to discover a city where every pint tells a unique story and where the craft beer scene sets a global standard for excellence. Here’s just 8 of the ways you can dive into Copenhagen’s craft beer community.
Eat and drink
There is no end to the innovative and delicious beer bars peppered throughout Copenhagen — like WarPigs, Ølbaren, Fermentoren, ÅBEN Brewery and People Like Us, just to name a few. However, the city’s true distinction lies in its collection of beer-centric restaurants that combine exquisite food with an exceptional array of beers, elevating the gastronomic experience to new heights. Here are just three examples.
What makes this restaurant (located in the Carlsberg district) a standout is not only its featherlight-yet-heavy-on-flavor pizzas, but also that its owner, Giuseppe Oliva, has a passion for fermentation. In a nod to the area’s beer-heavy history, Oliva uses his own (lovingly cared for) yeast when creating his delicious sourdough pizzas. He’s even collaborated with Carlsberg to make a sour beer based on his own yeast — a one-of-its-kind project not offered to any other restauranteur. SURT’s menu also offers an excellent array of beers designed to complement your meal. Any pizza you order is sure to satisfyingly sate your appetite but do consider starting your meal with the refreshing zucchini salad with house-made fresh cheese.
Located along the scenic waterfront of Copenhagen, Barr offers a new twist on Nordic cuisine, featuring creative takes on dishes like meatballs, fish and waffles. But Barr is equally serious about its beers and maintains a close collaboration with independent craft breweries to create an ever-changing selection of beers. The drinks menu, thoughtfully organized by taste profiles like Crisp, Hop, Malt, Smoke, Roast, Spice & Fruit, and Tart & Funk, encourages exploration and discovery. Don’t leave without trying the signature dish (with a thoughtfully paired beer of course): schnitzel wiener art.
BRUS, established by the renowned To Øl brewery, is among the city’s top spots for that ever-elusive mix of excellent craft beer and elevated food. BRUS is a one-stop shop, successfully combining the roles of brewery, bar, bottleshop, and restaurant in the vibrant neighborhood of Nørrebro. Fun and experimentation are key concepts at this hot spot, as are the heights food can reach when paired with the right beer — so don’t be shy and ask your server for thoughtful recommendations. They’ve also got a great selection of sour beers. You certainly won’t get a fresher mug of suds given that the brewery is on site.
Without a doubt, the best way to experience Copenhagen’s hot (or should I say cool and refreshing) beer scene is to go on a beer tour with an expert. The Copenhagen Craft BeerWalk is a great way to indulge in an extraordinary beer-lover’s exploration of Copenhagen’s beer culture. The tour comes complete with carefully selected tastings, informed and amusing stories, and urban exploration through Copenhagen’s beer center — the vibrant district of Nørrebro and beyond.
The outdoor walking tour highlights some of the best brews the city has to offer, such as favorites like Mikkeller, Amager Brewery, ÅBEN Brewery, and Too Old To Die Young. With every sip-and-step, participants learn about the evolving history of hops in Copenhagen. Better yet, the tour also takes pains to ensure that your increasing knowledge of beer, is mirrored by an equally engaging understanding of social and cultural changes in surrounding neighborhoods. Other beer-focused tours are also available.
Spend time exploring the Carlsberg City District — known locally as Carlsberg Byen — and the newly launched Home of Carlsberg (scheduled to officially open in Dec 2023). The district, set in the Vesterbro area in Copenhagen, is a highly lauded urban planning project that transformed the former Carlsberg brewery site into a thriving mixed-use area, including residential buildings, offices, shops, and cultural spaces. While you could spend hours walking around and taking in the incredible architecture, some of the top attractions of interest are the famous Elephant Gate, the J.C. Jacobsen’s Garden, and the twisted chimney.
As of Dec 2023, you’ll also be able to visit the rebranded and renovated Home of Carlsberg. This updated attraction that is the very foundation of the Carlsberg City District. Here you’ll go inside J.C. Jacobsen’s original Carlsberg brewery dating back to 1847. There’s be no end of things to see, including interactive exhibitions, the famous Carlsberg horses, a massive beer bottle collection, the original cellars and carefully curated beer tastings and tours.
Hotel Ottilia is currently the only hotel inside the Carlsberg City District. Two former Carlsberg brewery buildings were transformed into this upscale boutique hotel that managed to maintain much of the former original architecture. The property is named after Ottilia Jacobsen, the wife of Carl Jacobsen. The rooms can be somewhat stark and lack some amenities (like Nespresso machines and enough storage spots for clothing), but the breakfasts and common spaces are outstanding. The hotel also encourages mingling with a nightly complimentary wine and night cap hours. Consider splurging for a deluxe room, so you can sit in the round, very Instagramable panorama windows that overlook the buzzing (if loud) Bryggernes Plads square.
Enjoy a one-of-a-kind, beer-infused spa therapy with the Signature Beer Experience at Aire Ancient Baths (located in a restored section of Carlsberg storehouses below Hotel Ottilia). After a relaxing massage, your beer-infused treatment at Aire Ancient Baths involves soaking in a huge cedar tub filled with hops, malt, and other beer components. Drawing on historical traditions that honor the soothing properties of beer, the mixture is said to nourish the skin and help revitalize the body. As you continue to soak in the tub, you’ll enjoy a shoulder and neck massage, as well as a nourishing hair mask. Your treatment ends with a tub-side beer tasting complete with grapes, cheese and chocolate.