100W IPA, Nya Carnegie
Nya Carnegie Bryggeriet (translates as New Carnegie Brewery) is located in the rather spectacular setting of a former lightbulb factory on the waterfront in Hammarby Sjöstad, about a 45-minute walk (including a short ferry trip) south from Stockholm Central Station.
It began life as a collaboration between Brooklyn Brewery and Carlsberg Sweden back in 2011. To celebrate the 175th anniversary of Carnegie Porter, Sweden’s oldest registered trademark, the two breweries created a decadent bourbon barrel-aged version of the beer. “Everyone had a blast, and the seed for today’s collaboration was sown. After securing the support of private investors, including local bar owners and restaurateurs who shared our dream, the brewery was up and running by February 2014” explains Christina Körmendi, Managing Director at Nya Carnegie.
Nya Carnegie is one of a handful of small breweries in Stockholm riding on the wave of Sweden’s exploding craft beer scene. It has come on leaps and bounds in the last 10 years as the country slowly unravels a complex relationship with alcohol; taxation is high and the distribution network tightly managed. The only retail store allowed to sell alcoholic beverages over 3.5% ABV is Systembolaget, a government-owned chain of liquor stores.
This has resulted in a couple of unexpected benefits for breweries like Nya Carnegie. Firstly, the focus of drinkers is on quality, rather than quantity. Secondly, bars don’t have to compete against supermarkets or independent retailers. As a result, Stockholm’s bar scene is probably as vibrant as anywhere else in the world and, first and foremost, Nya Carnegie is a craft beer destination. A team of 20 stereotypically beautiful people work in the brewery, taproom and restaurant at the old Luma factory, built in 1930 to produce and test different kinds of light bulbs. They offer 10 beers on tap at all times, including a range of Nya Carnegiebryggeriet in-house rotating specials brewed on site, plus a few from Brooklyn Brewery. There’s always a couple of decent guest brews from other craft breweries across Sweden, too.
Such is the local demand for Nya Carnegie’s beers, 70% of their output is consumed within Stockholm. 100W IPA is the first beer they’ve exported. We asked Chris Thurgeson, their Head Brewer who happens to come from Bristol, to introduce it.
“We had to make a big deal of our 100th brew, which came out about a year after we opened. During our first year, along with brewing our flagship beers, we found time to design and brew over a dozen specials... saisons, schwarzbiers, witbiers, imperial stouts, imperial brown ales and more, but you know what? We hadn’t yet brewed one of the most classic beer styles. This had to be rectified, and we hope you like what we’ve added to the big, wide world of IPAs.”
It’s an unfiltered American-style IPA and the first thing to hit you is grapefruit and citrus on the nose as you pop the cap. It’s super fruity, with a lingering bitterness you’d expect from a good, punchy IPA, but with a strong malt backbone, not too dissimilar to Sierra Nevada's Torpedo, to add a touch of sweetness and balance.
The future of craft beer in Sweden is looking bright. Not least because of Nya Carnegie and 100W IPA; a beer that would light up anyone’s day.