Pipejerks Abroad: Metal Steve & Joe in Sweden
Pipejerks Metal Steve and Joe spent some time brewing in Sweden last August. They worked with the very talented brewers at Brewski and Brekeriet. The collab beers are almost ready to be released and according to Marcus at Brewski and Frederik at Brekeriet, tasting delicious.
Both Metal Steve and Joe look back on the brewdays fondly, but their memories are a bit hazier than a NE IPA...
OK. So how did you guys reach out to Brekeriet? How did this collaboration with a brewery in Sweden come about?
METAL: Marcus from Brewski. We met him at the Brewskival. We originally met Marcus in Florida. At Hunahpu Day. Drew [Fox] brought Marcus here. And then next thing we were hanging out with him at Hunahpu Day.
JOE: Yeah, We were hanging out at Brewskival just having a great time. And Marcus said, "Hey these are my friends. The Ek brothers from Brekeriet. Their beer was really good, and I guess they liked our stuff too because they invited us to brew with them on Monday.
METAL: We had basically one day before we had to get a flight home. And we stopped at their brewery.
JOE: We drove a forklift in a foreign land. Pushed some squeegees. Sprayed some hoses, ya know, did some Charlie work, talked about bacteria -
METAL: They bought us lunch.
JOE: It was Andres's birthday. There was pizza and a cake. We drank barleywine.
What beer did you brew and did you notice any different approaches to brewing?
JOE: 9% sour tripel. And then, all American hops. Mosaic and Amarillo. They did the bacteria. We did the hops. Oh. And tons of different approaches! Everything was done very thoughtfully and well executed. They have a few separate locations. They keep their brett beers separate. It's just three brothers. Everyone's smart. Lots of bacteria propagation, and breweries that are much more peaceful then the madhouse that is Pipeworks.
What did you notice about Copenhagen and Sweden's overall beer culture?
JOE: Everyone is very smart - everyone knows their stuff and it's not like England or German where there's hundreds of years of influence on style. So a lot of what's going on there is similar to what's going on here.
METAL: We also learned about the "beer monopoly" in Sweden.
JOE: Oh yeah, it's just a different system - the Systembolaget. So if you make a beer less than 3.5% you can sell it direct. Anything above that is sold through a government controlled store. Denmark is much more relaxed with it's liquor laws, no container laws, stores sell 24 hours a day. It was my first time in a foreign country.
Can you tell us about Brewskival, the festival held by Brewski?
JOE: It was awesome.
METAL: There were on-duty cops getting tattoos at the beer festival-
JOE: That's a true story.
OK, any stories or techniques from the actual Brewski brewday that you want to share?
JOE: We compared forklift layouts - the European models controls are laid out different then the American ones.
METAL: We showed up on time for the collaboration. I was there at Brewski at 5:30 am from Copenhagen which means I was up at 3. I had to go try to find a boat but it was even harder trying to find the train.
JOE: I didn't go that early because I was out the night before crushin' Tuborgs.
METAL: Yeah, Joe adjusted to the time change better. I didn't. I went to bed at 2pm so then I woke up at 3am and I was just like guess I'm going to go to Brewski and just try to make this beer. And the doors were open. I just was like "Hello, I'm from Pipeworks." And were like "ok come on in".
JOE: No, you scared Marcus.
METAL: Well yeah. It was 5:30 am and I was at their door. I just walked in. And i didn't even know who worked there. I was like "We come in peace, you know. Try not to startle him."
JOE: We were just putting mango into things left and right.
METAL: They made me eat flour. We put flour in the beer.
JOE: Shhh! No there's two different beers we're talking about here. There's the one we made with Brewski, that we wanted to call "Mango F*** Yourself" - that was the working title for the beer. We all really liked the name but the Systembolaget -
METAL: They made us change the Brewski beer name to "Yadda, Yadda, Yadda".
Ok.... so the 3am brew was at...Brewski. And you both went there separately at different times?
METAL: Yeah, Joe was sleeping, so I went by myself. I collaborated on the first shift, and Joe collaborated on the second turn. Shift brewing.
JOE: Yeah 'cus I was walking around drinking bottles of geuze on the streets of Copenhagen.
METAL: Joe showed up around 11.
JOE: Yeah. And I was like "Hey, what's up" and we were talking about how cool their forklift was. I helped them grain out. Ya know, just pitching yeast in the top manway of the tanks. 10 Hectoliter.
What did you like most about the Brewski brewery?
JOE: Oh, it was next to the woodshop. So Mariana's [assistant brewer] dog, Kilo - he's a great dog. They make a bunch of sticks for him. Kilo is adorable and he's next to a stick factory!
METAL: Yeah they were cutting all these different exotic woods and making us smell them all.
JOE: Yeah, "Smell the wood."
OK... So then walk me through the day going to Brekeriet.
JOE: So, that was Monday. So Sunday, a lot of us - me, Metal Steve, Marcus, our good friends from Cigar City, Angry Chair, and Seventh Sun... we all went out to dinner the night before at Garage Bar. And Garage bar is pretty famous over there - it's in the country side outside of Helsingborg. They get a lot of American artists to come play music over there. Kim - one of the founders of garage bar is into motorcycles, trucks, and he gets a lot of his stuff from the states. He fixes 'em up for himself - anyways - the food was fantastic. We even guest DJ'd for a little bit. They have Pabst that is fresher than we can get here. And then, I believe Metal Steve went from playing Pantera to Abba and the whole bar went crazy!
METAL: It's true.
JOE: And then we woke up real hungover the next day. And we took the train from Helsingborg to Landskrona and then we met up with Frederik Ek one of the three Brekeriet brothers, and then we brewed!
What was it like brewing at Brekeriet?
JOE: A little different. Over there, it was just wort production. Knock out into an IBC tote and moved to their sour facility to be fermented with their house culture.
Anything else you want to say about the trip?
METAL: Hotdog John is cool.
JOE: I went inside of his stand.