The Vikings: Strong People, Weak Beer.

Sweden's history with brewing Ales goes all the way back to the Viking era between the 8th and 11th centuries. Beer was a major part of Viking culture (aside from pillaging, rowing boats, and eating chicken legs), being brewed originally for consumption at celebrations and feasts. Although most household beer was weak in alcohol content, stronger beers (known as feast beers) were produced for these special occasions. Homebrewing was the standard in Sweden until the Industrial Revolution rendered small scale brewing impractical and too expensive. During the 1800s, breweries began popping up around the city centers. Eventually, even the smallest of towns had their own brewery, primarily estabilshed to satiate local patriotism... and that was about it.

Like brewing industries in other parts of the world, consolidation was the story in the twentieth century, resulting in three major breweries pressuring microbrews to near extinction: Pripps (Owned by Carlsberg), Spendrups Bryggeri AB, and Bryggeri AB Falken (Also owned by Carlsberg). As a result, beer quality in Sweden plummeted. Since then, a new generation of small regional and microbreweries has formed, increasing the availability of new and higher quality beers that, on even an international scale, are among the highest rated lagers. Lager is the most consumed beer style in Sweden. Perhaps paying homage to their horned helmet donning Viking ancestors, most beer sold is of low to moderate alcohol levels. Beer sold in Sweden and Finland is classified into three different categories, differentiated by abv. Lattol is beer that contains less than 2.25% abv and can be sold to anyone, anywhere (yes, even kids). Folkol is beer which contains between 2.26% and 3.49% abv, and can be sold anywhere, but only to those at or above 18 years old, Sweden's drinking age. Starkol is beer above 3.5% abv and can only be sold to those of legal age, in government run Systembolagets, the official liquor store chain of Sweden. Recently, there has been a consumer push towards beers that contain more potent levels of alcohol. It's about time the Swedes got with the program. Upplev mer med bredbandsbolagnet! (we're not sponsored by them)

Skal, helan gar.

Rated Swedish Beers

11-29-14 - Carlsberg Group Sweden Pripps Carnegie Porter - 3.51, Baltic Porter, 5.50%
3-29-14 - Oppigards Winter Ale - 3.41, Winter Warmer, 5.30%
5-28-10 - Kopparberg Swedish Cider - 1.98, Dry Cider, 5.00%

Popular Beer Styles in Sweden

  • Pilsner
  • Lager
  • Swedish Breweries with Rated Beer

  • Carlsberg Group Sweden - Stockholm, Sweden
  • Kopparberg - Bergslagen, Svealand, Sweden
  • Oppigards Bryggeri AB - Hedemora, Sweden