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“Use your nose, look at the body – think of it as more of a wine than a beer.” This was the opening message when Gitte Holmboe introduced Bøgedal Beer – the brainchild of her and husband Casper Vorting who brew some of the finest and most unique beer in Scandinavia – A beer that is now making its way to Thailand.
The beer Bøgedal is brewed in an old stable of a farm from the 1840’s. The brewery is the smallest in Denmark and with a yearly production of only 30.000 bottles; it is probably one of the smallest in the world. The farm in Jutland and Bangkok seems world apart, but nonetheless, several cases of the beer along with “the proud parents” had made the long trip.
“It seems a bit surreal to be here. We usually toddle around at a farm in Jutland, me, Gitte and two boys who help out with the packing and now here we are, in the heart of Bangkok, sampling Bøgedal,” master brewer Casper Vorting said.
The reason for the long trip was newly started Hopsession founded by Danish Jakob Mørkenborg Rasmussen. A former employee at Carlsberg Thailand, he has now put his love of great beer into his own company that aims to bring craft beer to the Thais, offering something else from the light and not so demanding beers of Singha and Chang.
“Jakob wrote me an email, saying this is how I want to promote Bøgedal, this is where I want to sell it and this is how much I believe I can sell. It was very detailed and very convincing, so we went on board,” said Gitte Holmboe.
Industrializing is compromising
The introduction of Bøgedal was through a four-course beer pairing with food prepared by Chef Nan Bunyasaranand of Little Beast in Thonglor, Soi 13 where the event was hosted. The venue and arrangement were very fitting for the debut of this microbrewery. Some 40 tickets going for 2600 Baht made for an exclusive event and all seats had been sold.
According to the brewers, Bøgedal should be considered a vineyard as much as a brewery – A beer yard if you will. When opened, the beer popped like champagne and was served in wineglasses. For the uninitiated this might sound snooty, but listening to how passionate the beer brewing couple talk about their work, you understand why you simply don’t guzzle down a Bøgedal. The beer is produced in batches of 350-700 bottles, each brew is unique and never made again. As the master brewer himself says:
“Industrializing is compromising. We pay attention and have every single bottle in our hands before it leaves the brewery.”
The couple were very well received by the guests and the beer was a hit. However, for some guests it took a bit of adjusting as the darker, heavier beers from Denmark is very different from the ice cold and lighter Thai brews like Chang or Singha. The beer is unfiltered leaving quite a bit of sediment which was new to many of the guests who also had to get used to the temperature as none of the beers were served ice cold because it affects the taste.
Ambassadors of Danish beer
During the dinner, the beers were presented one by one by Gitte Holmboe who also talked about the history of the beer and brewery. She has experience in marketing and when she is not working in the brewery, she is in charge of sales. Husband Casper, is a former engineer and each recipe is his work. As the importer noticed, Gitte Holmboe and Casper Vorting are the best possible ambassadors for Bøgedal and hearing them talk about their product is better than any advertisement.
The beer tested well and the two Danes were very happy about the event and very exited about the thought of their product being sold so far from home.
Because of the small production of Bøgedal, Hopsession only has 1500 bottles to sell every year, costing 1500 Baht per bottle. The brew will not be found in stores but only a few restaurants and it will mainly be an event beer serving as the flagship of Hopsession. The story of this particular brewery represents something that so far has been impossible to find in Thailand.
The Bøgedal beer is the first of a number of beers from Denmark that the company plans to introduce. Later on, craft beers from Nørrebro Brewery, Skovlyst and Mikkeller will also be available for the Thais. The brewery, Mikkeller, has supplied Michelin stared restaurants like Noma and Kiin Kiin.
Hopsession also boasts of being the first to start selling mead in Thailand, so it will be exiting to see if the Danish beers will be just as popular as in its homeland. Judging by the Bøgedal event, there seems to be a market.
Fried Barron Point Oyster – preserved lemon curd – pickled mustard seeds
Bøgedal Hvede No. 330 – 6.1% ABV
Pan Fried Sea Bream – crab meat, grilled corn “chowder” – caramel garlic soy
Bøgedal No. 320 – 6.9% ABV
Braised Pork Cheek – sunchoke puree, pan-roasted sunchoke – Bøgedal No. 301 orange sauce
Bøgedal No. 301 – 6.8% ABV
Popcorn Panna Cotta – caramel sauce, bacon caramel popcorn
Bøgedal No. 326 – 6.2% ABV