Copenhagen – home of the Little Mermaid and about 100 Mikkeller beer destinations. Ok fine, maybe not 100, but there’s Mikkeller and Friends, Mikkeller Bar, Warpigs, Koelschip, Øl & Brød, Ramen to Bíiru not to mention the bottle shop and Mikropolis. Wait, did I hear the sound of Spontanbeerbar hatching? I think another one just opened. In some cities, dominance by a brewery or company can mean one thing – the same menu and atmosphere in every location. Not so with the restaurants and bars that Mikkel Borg Bjergsø creates. It’s evident that he wanted to change the beer landscape in Copenhagen (and later, the world), but not by cloning his bars and just plunking them down in different areas of Copenhagen. War Pigs is BBQ heaven and I’m guessing you know what Ramen to Bíiru is and both, in their own right, are good restaurants with great beer lists. The beer bars all vary as well and host numerous special events. Mikkel brings all the special beer to the yard.
We were in Copenhagen for the Copenhagen Beer Celebration (the other CBC) and as this is a week-long celebration of beer, special events were plentiful. Our CBC experience can be found here – it’s a unique event with way too many beer geeks with their tasting notebooks stuck up their butts, but that’s another story.
Even the infamous Shaun HIll from Hill Farmstead came out and brought a mind blowing amount of bottled beers and kegs from his Vermont brewery. To say that Warpigs was packed that day is an understatement as we watched people heading to the table with a pour of every beer. That’s right 20 glasses for the table, sometimes supplemented with bottles, marching past us as we stood in line like kids waiting to visit Santa. Not sure Shaun was up for us sitting on his lap to take awkward photos, but I hear he’s a pretty easy-going guy so he’d probably be cool with this.
Copenhagen, originally a Viking fishing village, is vastly populated with over two million people covering the metropolitan area, 600,000 of which inhabit the municipal area. As with many European cities, it’s very bike-friendly and the roadways are structured to play nicely with the bicyclists. Unlike Belgium, where I was almost run over thanks to my own stupidity by not looking left as I stepped out on the sidewalk. Almost became tourist road kill (well, sidewalk kill), I did. Copenhagen seems much more civilized but perhaps that correlates with how expensive it is to live there. If you’re visiting, bring a big bucket full of money. Then get another bucket, fill that one up and hope it’s enough. My credit card had to take an epsom salt bath to recover from the workout it got but I don’t regret visiting. In fact, I’d return. So there, crappy Canadian dollar.
If you have a penchant for amazing bottle lists, hit up Himmeriget Ølbar, owned by Mikkeller’s own Evil Twin, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø. Himmeriget translates to Kingdom of Heaven – take me now, sweet baby Jesus, if this is where I get to rest in the afterlife. This may be the best bottle list I’ve come across in any city. Page after page after page of beers. Sigh. The tap list and bourbon selection are top notch, or as the kids would say, on fleek (did I do that right?).
Denmark is renowned for its cuisine, from smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches) to world-class restaurants such as Noma. We were fortunate enough to try out two: Ida Davidsen for smørrebrød and Relae for the upper-end meal. Unlike Noma, Relae was easy to get a reservation on a Tuesday evening and didn’t make my credit card recoil when the bill came. It has a down-to-earth feel, your own personal silverware drawers at the table, and a relaxed, yet impressive service team. You choose from four or seven courses, paired with wine if you choose, and relish in the simplicity of the flavours, HIghly recommend Relae, which has been honoured as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world.
If you’re planning a European trip, add Copenhagen to the list as you can’t go wrong with the scenery, food and of course, lots and lots of great beer.
More info on the beer venues because let’s face it, that’s the only reason you’re here:
My Copenhagen Map
This is the sister bar of Mikkeller Bar in Viktoriagade, and three times its size. The bar (and Mikkeller Bar) are the brainchild of Mikkeller and the two founders of To Øl. You’re greeted to an inviting space, 40 taps and a list of over 200 bottles. If you’re looking for Three Floyd’s on draught, this is the only place you can find it outside of the USA. Mikkeller seems to do well with his partnerships.
If you’re done at Mikkeller & Friends, take the longggg walk over to Koelschip – just take a right at the washrooms. Phew. You made it. This is Mikkeller’s lambic bar – it’s a small space that seats maybe 30, has four taps and bottles a plenty. Get your lambic on here, kids.
Their amazing website just has their name and address so you’ll have to take my word on what makes this place glorious. Check out the unofficial FB page and Instagram for some drool-worthy pictures of the bottles. I can’t recall how many pages were in the holy grail book of bottles, but it was plentiful. A generous tap list compliments the megatron of bottle lists in this bar.
Located stumbling distance from War Pigs, Fermentorium has a huge outdoor patio and a small indoor seating area. With 24 taps and an extensive bottle list, it’s a destination for a sunny mid-afternoon beer or to plant yourself for the evening. Staff are friendly and knowledgeable.
The original Mikkeller Bar with 20 taps, bottles and carnivorous snacks from War Pigs. Outdoor picnic table seating compliments the small bar area.
We didn’t make it here but it’s described as “a small cozy cocktail bar with 10 taps and a bottle list.” Another neighbourhood, another Mikkeller bar to satisfy your drinking needs.
Recommended to us for their smørrebrød, this sit-down restaurant takes you through the menu by describing each dish in the showcase. The Davidsen’s have been making their famous smørrebrød since 1888 and have continued through five generations. That’s some love for sammies. The ingredients are fresh and the makeup of the sandwich is thoughtful and masterfully put together to compliment flavours. Highly recommend visiting.
To mimic what I wrote above (IN CASE YOU WEREN’T READING…) Relae was easy to get a reservation on a Tuesday evening and didn’t make my credit card recoil when the bill came. It has a down-to-earth feel, your own personal silverware drawers at the table, and a relaxed, yet impressive service team. You choose from four (475 kr) or seven courses ((895 kr), paired with wine if you choose (add another 395 kr or 685 kr), and relish in the simplicity of the flavours, HIghly recommend Relae, which has been honoured as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world.
If you like Texas-style BBQ and a choice of 20 taps, stop in. We went twice because, meat, and it was super close to our Airbnb. The meat was good but I have to say the sides really stood out. Mac ‘n cheese, hush puppies, burnt ends baked beans, dill pickles – so many to choose from.
Yeah, yeah, what were we doing eating pizza in Denmark. Well, this gem was across the street from Mikkeller & Bar/Koelschip and as neither have more to offer than snacks, Stefano’s hit the spot. You can’t bring food into the Mikkeller establishments, but there is plenty of outdoor seating at Stefano’s and not only were they convenient, the thin-crust pizza was delicious.
Jesus, Mikkeller is going to owe me royalties after all this promotion. Yep, a collaboration between Bento Copenhagen and Mikkeller. You order your ramen from a machine, choosing spiciness, broth etc – but thankfully the food doesn’t come out of the machine. The ramen was tasty and the five taps pair well with the food.
More smørrebrød! See, I told you it was popular in Denmark. This came highly recommended by the same person that steered us to Relae but we didn’t have time to try it. Try it for me, will you?
If you feel like lining Mikkeller’s pockets some more, hit up their smørrebrød restaurant. Didn’t make it here, but reviews were positive.
I always love the coffee and espresso in Europe and Prolog didn’t disappoint. As our neighbourhood coffee shop, and close to Warpigs, they hand-crafted your beverage and greeted you with a smile. I’d hang out here if this was my hood.
There’s a decent selection of bottles in this corner store but where you’ll find the mother load is downstairs. If you ask nicely (and yes, you do need permission to go downstairs), they’ll graciously allow you to go shop for some bottles. Lots of beers from Belgium, Denmark, USA and other European beers. We did some damage at this store.
A small shop located in a market. Super nice staff that even went to the cellar to find a bottle for me. Not a huge selection, due to the size, but worth visiting.
Other stores we didn’t get to (yes, we’d already maxed out on our duty-free allowance) but rated well – more on the map you can look up. Sheesh, lazy: