Visiting Carlsberg Brewery was high on my list of things to do while spending 72 hours in Copenhagen. If you haven’t noticed by now, I love a good brewery tour, even more so when admission is included in the local tourism pass as it is with the Copenhagen Card.
From its widespread history and massive footprint to its mindblowing beer bottle collection, visiting Carlsberg Brewery is a unique one to say the least.
Visiting Carlsberg Brewery – How to get there
Visiting the Carlsberg Brewery from Copenhagen is easy, especially if you have a Copenhagen Card. Not only is admission to the brewery included but transportation on the well-connected transit system is as well. The Carlsberg Brewery is located in the newly developed Carlsberg neighbourhood and can be reached on the A or B metro line from Nørreport station. Once you get off at Carlsberg station it is a short 7-minute walk to the brewery gates.
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22,000 Bottles of Beer on the Wall
Turns out, Carlsberg has a thing for beer bottles. Since 1968 Leif Sonne, a Danish engineer with unthinkable willpower, started collecting unopened beer bottles from around the globe. In the 1990’s his massive collection caught the attention of Carlsberg who offered to store his bottles at their brewery. In 2007 it was officially titled with the worlds largest collection of unopened beer bottles by Guinness World Records. This was a cool surprise to me and the first thing you see on the self-guided tour while visiting the Carlsberg Brewery.
The History of Carlsberg
Past the hoarding of beer bottles, the self-guided Carlsberg tour continues through not only the history of its beer but the history of beer itself.
Dating back 3000+ years, the massive circular display walks you through the creation and celebration of beer in the most informative way possible. Literally placards for days.
Carlsberg’s story picks up in 1845 when a young J.C. Jacobsen began studying (drinking) Bavarian brewing in Munich. He returned home to Copenhagen armed with yeast and a head full of ideas. After perfecting his first batch in his mother’s tub, Jacobsen built a brand new brewery to share his creation with the world.
Pulled from his son’s name (Carl) and the Danish word for “hill,” Carlsberg is born. Years of pitfalls are followed by success and in 1868 Carlsberg begins exporting to the world with awards and accomplishments following suit.
Today Carlsberg is one of the biggest beer brands out there, an impressive feat coming from such a small Scandinavian country.
Fine Beer Calls for Fine Art
Back outside in the expensive brewery grounds, the tour continues through Jacobson’s personal art collection. Turns out he was a lover of the arts and is even the man behind Copenhagen‘s famous Little Mermaid statue, something he gifted to the city. A replica of such is on display in the gardens just outside the Carlsberg stables.
Aside from the factory, a highlight of visiting Carlsberg brewery is strolling the stables. To keep with tradition, on-site you will find Jutland horses and all their beer hauling glory. Carriage rides and tours are included with admission but only at allotted times. You can refer to the activity board in the ticket office or your handy itinerary. I missed out by the time I strolled through but was able to check out the stables and meet the horses up close.
The true highlight of visiting Carlsberg Brewery is, of course, tasting the brew. There is something about sampling a famous beer straight from the source that makes it so much better. Visiting Carlsberg is no exception. It could’ve been the unseasonably warm Copenhagen weather or the beer history I was steeping in for the past hour, but this Pilsner rivals even the original I sampled at the source in Pilsen.
Sidenote, I am currently writing this half cut at a brewery in Valemont BC so my judgment and memory may be impaired on this. Point is, Carlsberg beer is really good from the source.
One beer voucher is included when visiting Carlsberg and you have two options on where to redeem – the outdoor patio or pub upstairs. I chose both.
The upper Jacobsen Brewhouse & Bar bar offers a few extras that make the stumble up the 10 steps worthwhile.
- There are several other beers available
- You can sample these extra beers next to some original copper kettles and…
- The bar is located above a functioning bottling floor with plenty of windows to view the action below.
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Beyond Visiting Carlsberg Brewery
Equal parts tasting and local construction led me to an end extended tour through the Carlsberg campus. I was trying to get to the nearby catacombs and got turned around. As I stumbled around the grounds I got a sense of just how big Carlsberg is in the beer world. The brewery grounds extend far beyond what you see at the brewery tour. Spread out over several blocks, the Carlsberg neighbourhood includes the Scandinavia School of Brewing, shops, and it’s in by the looks of the construction, very cool condos in the near future.
Although I would live next to a lot of breweries, Carlsberg is appealing with its close proximity to Søndermarken Park. Copenhagen being listed as one of the best cities in the world to live in doesn’t hurt either.
Later that day while watching the sunset from a patio in Nyhavn I was able to appreciate my beer that much more. Looking down the busy street I spied countless people doing the exact same thing. This made me wonder, without J.C. Jacobsen’s grand vision and clean tasting Pilsner, would these people even be here? Where would Copenhagen be?
After visiting Carlsberg Brewery it is undoubtedly clear that Carlsberg has been huge for Copenhagen and the country of Denmark. Looking around now was living proof. Cheers to that Carlsberg.