For a small country, Denmark has been a major player in the history of beer. In 1883, Carlsberg revolutionized the industry when the first pure strain of lager yeast was bred in its laboratory. The discovery was soon made available worldwide, transforming the brewing process and allowing for a consistent product in large quantities year-round. This marked the beginning of the international pilsner as the most popular beer around the globe. It remains so today, 135 years later.
During the majority of the twentieth century, small breweries worldwide suffered from market dominance of the big companies. Beer styles and brewing methods were significantly reduced. Carlsberg is still the biggest brewery in Denmark. It can almost be considered a monopoly, especially after buying competitor Tuborg in 1970.
But over the last decade, Denmark has also been riding the craft beer wave that has changed the brewing landscape around the world. As of today, RateBeer lists 233 active breweries in the small Scandinavian country. With so many interesting beer options, one can feel a little lost!
Here’s our guide to the best beer bars in Copenhagen, and the beers to drink there:
With a rotating list of 24 beers on tap, Fermentoren is an ideal place for a rich introduction to the Danish craft beer scene. Some of the finest Danish brews can be found here, as well as many renowned beers from other European countries and the United States.
For a modern craft twist on a traditional lager, opt for a fresh glass of Dry & Bitter’s Pilsner. It’s clear and crisp, with a creamy white head. Bitter and refreshing, with the distinctive aroma of lager yeast, Dry & Bitter’s Pilsner is a decent homage to the style Denmark helped made famous worldwide.
If you’re looking for something bold, a New England IPA is always a good option. Amongst the many worth trying in Denmark, one from Ebeltoft Gårdbryggeri will not disappoint you. In the last couple years, this brewery has become sort of a legend among the hoppy, juicy beer lovers. Skank Jam, for example, is usually served at Fermentoren. Hazy, of course, with a sticky-fruit, berry-like flavor and aroma. Make sure it is served fresh.
1700 København V
Mon – Weds 3:00 pm – midnight
Thurs 2:00 pm – 1:00 am
Fri & Sat 2:00 pm – 2:00 am
Sund 2:00 pm – midnight
BRUS is a hip brew-pub, shop, and restaurant in the heart of Nørrebro owned by To Øl, a world-renowned brewery. Most of the 32 beers on-tap available are brewed in-house. There is also a selection of To Øl beers and kegged cocktails. The attached shop offers a rich selection of beer bottles.
If you like coffee and desserts, you will probably also enjoy BRUS Vanilla: In Case of Emergency. It is a 10.8% alcohol by volume (abv) imperial stout packed with vanilla. So black you can’t see through the glass, it feels chewy and thick in the mouth. The exquisite aroma and taste of vanilla goes hand-in-hand with the traditional coffee and dark chocolate character of this style of beer. Drink it slowly and savour every sip.
Berliner Weisse, a sour beer style from Northern Germany, was called “The Champagne of the North” by Napoleon Bonaparte when it entered the region in the early 19th century. BRUS has created its own refreshing version of this beer with rhubarb and mandarin notes, called Santa Rabarbera. With a light body and very high carbonation, this pinkish sour beer tickles inside your mouth. Definitely a summer staple beer.
2200 København N
Mon- Thurs 3:00 pm – midnight
Fri & Sat 12:00 pm – 3:00 am
Sun 12:00 pm – midnight
Located in the cool meatpacking district, Warpigs is a brew-pub and Texan-style BBQ restaurant built in collaboration between Mikkeller and American brewery 3 Floyds. The majority of the 22 beers on tap are brewed in-house.
New England IPA is what every Dane seems to be drinking this season. It is characterized by a strong, hoppy, and fruity aroma, a hazy appearance and less bitterness than the traditional West Coast IPA. Warpigs has become a kind of master in the brewing of this type of beer. It’s the place to go for hopheads and meat-lovers alike.
Order a big glass of Everyday Hero and take the time to really smell it: notes of mango, grapefruit, and tangerine. That’s the magic of hops. The orange liquid feels smooth in the mouth.
If you’re looking for something different, treat yourself to the Coffee Berliner Weisse. Brewed with coffee from Five Elephant for Mikkeller Berlin at Warpigs, the typical lactic acid aroma of the style goes well with the coffee addition. Mysterious, rare, yet very drinkable.
1711 København V
Mon – Thurs 11:30 am – midnight
Fri & Sat 11:00 – 2:00 am
Sun 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
NB Kitchen closes at 10:00 pm
Himmeriget is small but cozy, with candles and wood all around; a typical scene of Danish hygge. With ten beers on tap from all over the world, the bar is well-known for its impressive, well-curated selection of cans and bottles. Some of them very hard to find elsewhere in the city, or even the world.
A bottle of Nordic Grape on a summer night is a treat. This farmhouse ale with sour cherries is brewed by Ale Farm, a rather small Danish company that is kicking-ass and focusing primarily on modern IPAs and mixed-fermentation farmhouse ales. The dark purple liquid is topped by an interesting pinkish head. The tart cherries are intense in flavor and aroma, as well as the funk that comes from the mixed fermentation.
Evil Twin Brewing is run by New York City-based Jeppe Jarnit-Bjersø (incidentally, the twin brother of Mikkeller’s owner). If you’ve liked other New England IPAs, take it a step further and choose Diane, Never Drink IPA That Has Been Anywhere Far From Galaxy. This brew-with-the-long-name is a double dry hopped imperial IPA: more alcohol, more hops. With its hazy orange color, this beer is the definition of juicy. Tropical fruits such as passion fruit and mango can be clearly distinguished in aroma and flavor.
1960 Frederiksberg C
Sun & Mon 3:00 pm – midnight
Tues – Thurs: 3:00 pm – 2:00 am
Fri & Sat 2:00 pm – 3:00 am
More Great Danish Breweries: