13.9.14

Carlsberg brewery, Copenhagen

This is the sign you see as you arrive to Copenhagen Airport which states that, according to the World Happiness Report 2013, Denmark is the world's happiest nation, therefore we should toast with a Carlsberg! (and since we're there, visit this historic brewery...)


The Carlsberg Brewery is located in Valby, in the outskirts of Copenhagen, it is easily reachable by bus (number 26 or the 6A+5mins. walk) or by train (between the stations of Enghave and Valby - 10/15 mins. from Copenhagen Central Station) - or by bike, if you want to imitate the locals. In its visitors center, one can buy tickets to take a guided tour (125 DKK - in English or Danish) of the brewery, ride a typical horse carriage or buy all the different kinds of beer, ciders, merchandise and souvenirs.
We went for the English tour, got the tickets and at 1 pm, our tour started from the main courtyard. The entrance fee includes 2 vouchers for drinks in one of the bars inside - try to keep them for after the tour, your tour guide will give you tips of how to use them to taste the nicest beers.
Right now, the areas around the brewery and the visitors center are going through the construction of the coming "Carlsberg City" which will be finished around 2025, it will have everything: houses, a university, a train station and it will be very eco-friendly - CO2 free and bikes everywhere, if you take the tour you'll hear more about it.
Anyhow, at 1 pm, our walking tour started from the main courtyard behind the visitors center and it took us through the first steps of the brewery, from the background of its founders, Christen and J.C. Jacobsen (first Carlsberg brewery in Copenhagen was founded in 1826). It was J.C. Jacobsen who moved the brewery to this area in Valby in 1847.
The brewery is named Carlsberg after the name of J.C.'s son, Carl (and berg because it means mountain - of course Valby is in a tiny hill, but in flat Denmark it might seem a mountain - as explained by our guide).
The beer then was very different from what we drink now, and Jacobsen's dream for constant improvement made him set up a laboratory in the brewery that studied the art of brewing and all the problems regarding the yeast, which brought to the isolation of the yeast still used in lager beer nowadays, discovered by Emil Christian Hansen in this laboratory (and therefore called Saccharomyces carlsbergensis).
J.C. Jacobsen was an art and culture lover and used to invite scientists, politicians, and intellectuals into his Italian-inspired villa next to the brewery, among the visitors were the writer Hans Christian Andersen and Louis Pasteur, to mention some.
Jacobsen was an art lover, but it was his son Carl Jacobsen who started the important art collection which is now hosted in the beautiful Carlsberg Glyptotek next to Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen's center.
A dispute started between father and son and in 1871, after the big fire of 1867, the New Carlsberg, Carl's Brewery became the competitor of the "old" Carlsberg.
The tour guide brought us from the old Carlsberg "Gamle Carlsberg"'s buildings, to the new ones "Ny Carlsberg", which are still kept for the visits.
The famous four elephants carved in granite from the Danish island of Bornholm are here (each bears the initial of one of Carl Jacobsen's four children), it is known as The Elephant Gate and is a landmark entrance to the brewery.
Eventually father and son made peace and merged the breweries, which were left to the Carlsberg Foundation, still owning the Group (other brands property of the Group are: Tuborg, Somersby ciders, Kronenbourg, etc. brewing about 500 different beers).
The guided visit finishes back in the visitors center, with the guide suggesting you to visit the tasting areas where you can learn more about the aromas of the beer and also taste some beer (if you kept your vouchers).
We tasted the delicious Jacobsen beers pictured above and then went for a quick walk in the museum - useful also for those not taking the guided visit - where we could see some images and old bottles and ads. Then back to the visitors center to buy some beer to take home.
What else? This calls for a Carlsberg!

Carlsberg Brewery
Gamle Carlsberg Vej 11
1799 København V
Tel: +45 33 27 12 82
Fax: +45 33 27 47 09
Email: visitors@carlsberg.dk
http://www.visitcarlsberg.com/
Office hours: Monday - Friday from 10.00 - 16.00
Opening hours
Monday to Sunday 10 am – 5 pm. Last admission is 30 minutes before closing time.
Closed on 24, 25 and 26 December, 31 December and 1 January. Visit Carlsberg is also closed on Mondays between 1 October and 1 May.

Prices:
Adults (18+) DKK 80
2 beers/soft drinks included
Young people (6-17) DKK 60
2 soft drinks included
Children (0-5) Free
Free admission for visitors with a Copenhagen Card