Visiting Carlsberg Brewery
Carlsberg beer and Denmark go hand in hand, kinda like Amstel and Amsterdam, or Pilsner Urquell and the Czech Republic. Because of this, we knew it was of the upmost importance to tour the Carlsberg brewery while we were in the lovely city of Copenhagen. Carlsberg was founded by J. C Jacobsen, a philanthropist and avid art collector who had a passion for brewing a full bodied, delicious beer. In 1847, he started the brewery under the logos of the elephant, which still graces many of their
bottles, as well as the swastika which was removed for political reasons in the 30s (please note that swastikas are ancient symbols of good luck and were used for hundreds of years, by almost every culture in the world before the Nazis got their filthy hands on it). Although the swastika was removed from the bottle labels, it still stands strong on many decorative stoneworks, such as tiles and statues around the brewery, as well as on the brewery’s most well known mascots, the huge stone elephants that flank the entrance gate.
The elephants themselves are beautifully crafted, and are truly a site to see, not to mention that they make for great pictures. J. C’s massive art collection is now available for public viewing at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek near Tivoli gardens in central Copenhagen. Brewer
Carl Jacobsen, son of J.C, went on to create many of the brewery’s signature beer that is still their flagships today. Carl himself was a extremely generous humanitarian making many contributions to the city as well as donating multiple works of art, including Copenhagen’s most famous icon, the little mermaid.
As with most things in Copenhagen, riding your bike
to the brewery is probably the easiest way to get there. There are multiple bike rental shops in every part of the city and you can usually rent one for a couple days at a relatively fair price. Once we arrived we checked
into the visitor center and made our way to the first exhibit where we promptly were given a pint. Now, normally I would say that taking a tour of a brewery tends to be somewhat boring. Most breweries are relatively similar, and the process of beer making that is outlined, usually only varies slightly from one company to the next. Obviously the best part of going to a brewery is drinking the beer. In all actuality though, Carlsberg was great, far better than other large scale production breweries we have been too (cough, cough Guinness). The exhibit the brewery staff put together was extremely informative and told the story of the people, and city behind the beer, not just the beer making process itself. One of the most impressive parts of the brewery tour was the incredibly massive beer collection. As far as I’m aware, this is the largest collection of unopened beers in the world numbering well
over 20,000, with representative beers from every country in the world. If you find yourself biking through Copenhagen, Carlsberg is definitely worth a stop (especially if you’re on the way to Mikkeller). The 80DKK price of admission comes with a couple pints which for sure that will be some of the cheapest beer you drink while in beautiful (expensive) Denmark.