If you travel the world in search of beer, Stockholm, Sweden, is a worthwhile destination. From the mad scientist concoctions of Stockholm-based brewery Omnipollo to the premier international beer bars like The Flying Dog and Pressklubbenj, your taste buds will never be bored. On top of that — and thanks to the fourteen islands that make up the Stockholm archipelago — there’s always a beautiful view to take in while you sip a brew.
But for those who want to taste local beers off the beaten path and away from other tourists, a train trip west of Stockholm is in order. In the picturesque red-roofed towns of Strängnäs and Mariefred, you can find acclaimed small-batch breweries like the excellent Eskilstuna Ölkultur.
Eskilstuna Ölkultur started as a members-only beer club, an interesting special designation available for Sweden’s smaller breweries. The brewery’s initial years were spent honing its craft and making its reputation in its namesake hometown of Eskilstuna. These days, Eskilstuna Ölkultur has graduated to a full-fledged production facility with a publicly accessible brewpub and beer garden. It’s a welcome respite to travelers searching for good beer and friendly conversation.
Seasonal, limited edition offerings are currently on tap at the brewery, including Sommar Ale, WeissbierandSommar-IPA. But Eskilstuna Ölkultur’s year-round offerings like Eskilstuna Pale Ale, Dubbel IPA, and aged bottles of its Barley Wine are not only easy to find but are also the brewery’s standouts.
It’s easy to overlook a brewery’s core lineup and gravitate straight to its special releases, but when you need a reprieve from sweet grainy lagers typical of mass-produced Swedish beers like Norrlands Guld, a well-crafted American-style pale ale really hits the spot. And this is what is perhaps the best thing about Eskilstuna Ölkultur — its ability to master American style beers. Eskilstuna Pale Ale features organic ingredients and is a balanced blend of bright citrus and bready caramel malts. EskilstunaDubbel IPA is a traditional American Imperial IPA with a hefty 8.7 percent ABV. It straightforwardly ups the qualities of the pale ale, providing more malt and hop flavor with a molasses-like sweetness and sharp bitter finish. If you need a heavier beer to accompany dessert or a nightcap, the Barley Wine is an award-winning brew that includes ingredients like Swedish pilsner malt, an English hop blend, and locally sourced honey. It’s 10 percent ABV and features a complexity that lends itself to sharing and slowly sipping.
Eskilstuna Ölkultur beers are easy to find in Eskilstuna’s surrounding towns at Systembolaget, the government-owned chain of bottle shops. If you can’t make it to this part of Sweden, its beers may be special-ordered for delivery to your neighborhood Systembolaget store.