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Beers So Far
Beer Review:
Copenhagen, DK
By: George Zhen

June 3, 2005

(Nuuk, Greenland) - Carlsberg is the pre-eminent beer of Denmark, a country with debatably more beer drinkers per capita than any other country in Northern Europe. Founded in 1847 by Jacob Christian Jacobsen, Carlsberg is credited with developing the first commercially available bottom-fermented brew in Europe. Breakthroughs continued with Carlsberg scientist Emil Christian Hansen, who isolated the first single-cell brewing yeast culture in 1883. The impact of this discovery can be found in the term Saccharomyces Carlsbergensis, the brewing industry term for lager yeasts.

The reason I bring you this history disertation is because the modern incarnation of this brew is hardly inspiring. Today's Carlsberg product is a shell of its former self, just another product from a long list of beer conglomerates spanning the globe with remote bottling plants, distribution networks and bland beer designed for mass-market consumption. This is only the second lager we have sampled on our journey, and the first one didn't fair too well (remember Native Lager?). Our hopes were that this beer would raise the bar a bit, which it did, but not by much.

This beer has all the skunk quality of a lager when opened, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. A defining characteristic to be sure, but not overpowering in this case. Pouring this beer is easy; in fact it requires a real aggressive pour to get a decent head to form at all. As the night progressed, I attempted different pouring techniques, and even a sloppy, splashy pour didn't crest the foam over the glass rim. This could be a good thing in some cases, I guess. The color is crisp, golden and clear; a transparency that one could view television through, if desired. Again, nothing of distinction here.

The taste is of a light lager, pouring over the tongue and delivering some mild bitterness to the roof of the mouth. Nothing overpowering here, or defining. Just a light Heineken, really. After a few sips, it loses all flavor or tasting effect. It's just a bland, non-descript balanced lager.

The variety of this brew bottled in the United States is only 3.8 ABV. One could down a whole lot of these before feeling any serious effect on the senses. After about 5, you've been to the bathroom and the fridge several times, but no real over-the-top buzz has landed. Compared to the previous few beers reviewed where the content was such that downing five would land you in the clinic, this beer's comparative affect is as passive as it's taste.

All in all, Carlsberg is an unfulfilling experience. I am to understand that the brewery in Copenhagen is a site to behold, but this beer just isn't very exciting to me. If I were at a party and had a cooler choice of Carlsberg and Heineken, I'd probably pick the latter because I could depend on more affect per bottle. If you are a social drinker and like to stand around with a beer in your hand all night long, this beer just might be for you.

Beer Tasting Scorecard
Attribute Score
Head 1
Color 2
Taste 2
Flavor 2
Effect 2
Overall Score 1.8

For more information on Carlsberg, visit their website at

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