Helsinki and more than one great beer bar is only a two hour train ride from Tampere - that's where we went. We had a plan to visit Mikkeller Helsinki, Sori Tap Room and what other craft beer places that we found interesting. In between the visits we went to Saint Petersburg, Russia and Tallinn, Estonia. The theme for our beer bar visits in Helsinki seems to be something like black, hoppy and sour beers - not the worst in combination with sunny Finnish summer weather.
The first place we went was a bar called Ølhus København. Being Danes the name intrigued us and we had to check out the beer selection. We went to Ølhus København in the afternoon which ment that there was plenty of space for us to choose beers and where we wanted to sit and enjoy our beers. The selection of beers was nice with Amager Bryghus among them, but we settled for a straight forward Finnish porter with nice bitterness and a fair amount of roasted malt flavors - a tasty Finnish porter. The beer was Helsinki Portteri by suomenlinnanpanimo. We enjoyed the porter on the deck in front of the bar - a nice and quiet place with a relaxed atmosphere, which seems to be the Finnish way dealing with the realities of life. We went on with the realities of being tourists and went on to see some more sights and find other places to enjoy more beers.
Drinking beer and sightseeing makes you hungry at some point. When hunger struck we went for burgers at Gastropub Stone's. The selection of burgers was something like nine or ten different ones. The ones we chose were tasty and paired with the selection of beers Gastropub Stones was a nice place for dinner. To accompany the beers we ordered a filght of four beers - a lager, two fruited sours and an IPA. All the beers were quite tasty and was great company for the burger. If you want to read more about the beers we had, this is the place to look.
Next day we went to Saint Petersburg, Russia by train. Beer was not a big part of this part of the trip, but we had some okay local lagers (Learn more about the beers here and here) where we had dinner. Saint Petersburg is definitely worth a visit just to experience all the great places you may have heard of like the the Winter Palace for instance. Following the days in Russia we returned to Finland and Helsinki and had more great beers.
Back in Helsinki we went for a bar that I had read quite a lot before we went to Helsinki. Sori Taproom had made hopes high that the beers would be great and I wasn't disappointed in any way.
Sori Taproom is definitely a great place if you want to taste beers from all around the world. We decided on flights of four tasters to try as many of the great beers from the 24 taps as possible. The beers are very reasonably priced Finnish beer prices regarded. A flight of four beers from any of the taps was 20€ and a flight of five Sori Core beers was 20€ too. We ended up tasting nine different beers all-in-all - We had to flights of four, but they made a mistake when pouring the second flight and decided to give us the extra beer for free - Great move! The resulting nine beers were of all colors and styles from pale yellow to pitch black, session IPA to bold imperial stouts, fruity and sour to black and bitter. If you want to know more about all of the nine beers you have to look at this Instagram post. It's really hard to point out one beer as being better than the rest, but Speedway Stout Vietnamese Coffee by AleSmith was an absolute hit eventhough it was a hot summer day (Every day is a stout day...). The Nightman Leaveth by Odd Side Ales - a super smooth and velvety creamy imperial stout with just about the right amount of rye whisky and vanilla - was the right beer to end the session. Odd Side Ales was unknow to me before this beer, but it's a brewery that I have to explore some more. If The Nightman Leaveth is one in a line of beers at the same level, Odd Side Ales could be a favorite brewery in the future.
Sori Taproom is surely a craft beer bar that deserves it's reputation as one of the best in Helsinki. I would very much like to go there again some day. Staff is very friendly and helpful in choosing beers and the atmosphere is nice both inside and outside. Only downside might be quite a lot of noise from the traffic when sitting outside close to a main tram line and a congested road.
Being in Helsinki three times during the summer and living in hotels only a few hundred meters from Mikkeller Helsinki left us with no choice but going there more than once.
Mikkeller Helsinki is one of the newest additions to the Mikkeller family and is well in line with the relaxed atmosphere that has characterized all the other Mikkeller bars I have visited. The last time we were there we had a chat with the manager who was a really nice guy. We talked about the beer scene in Finland and Denmark and the great things about this new bar in Helsinki. He told us one thing that surprised us a bit - summer is kind of low season in Helsinki because people are out in the country visiting their cottages and camping by the numerous lakes. We were surprised because it seemed like there was a lot of people all the places we went in Helsinki.
This is all for now - next post will be about places to drink great beers in Tallinn, Estonia - See you!