Sweden makes Oktoberfest modern.

12th December: Mohawk, Unfiltered October. 5.9% ABV
From: Sweden – at least in thought. Type: Oktoberfest lager +. Source: Systembolaget

As Swedish as Wallander, but even more of a cult. Sorry, but you are unlikely to find Mohawk beer outside Sweden. It has to be said, you are also unlikely to find any decent Oktoberfest beer inside Germany. Maybe that’s a bit harsh, but today’s champions of the style are Americans  – as usual, and Scandinavia’s modern breweries have followed their lead. Sweden’s Mohawk brewed one of the best I tried this year.

Rotation_of_mohawk_october-label_rot

Mohawk is essentially, Stefan Gustavsson and his haircut. He brews after the Mikkeller style, that is, without his own brewery, renting brewery time and brewing to his palate’s content. Some people call it gypsy brewing. But since 2010, I’ve called it cuckoo brewing (c) maltjerry 2010, so there!

The point of Mohawk is to take traditional styles and add the 21st century. Of course there are others that do this, but why I champion this beer and this brewer is what he has achieved in the face of not only the Swedish alcohol retail monopoly that is Systembolaget, but also his countryfolk’s distrust in the quality of their own brewers. Even the ones that are searching for the new can’t quite believe it.

The Unfiltered has grassiness that you might expert from a German style, backed up with a digestive biscuity palate that also gives the impression of a bite of a lemon cheesecake, albeit with most of the topping missing. The slipping away from tradition is obvious in the tropical fruits that slide into across the palate: New Zealand and American hops. Rheinheitsgebot, but not as we know it.

If only some beer tent in Munich would serve this alongside a slow-cooked shoulder of pork, perhaps the Mohawk name would establish in Sweden and beyond, and claim the plaudits it deserves. And then you’d be able to try it.

One thought on “Sweden makes Oktoberfest modern.

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