Shakespeare once wrote, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." That's certainly not true this season. Danes are making our holidays sweeter than ever. Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, in particular, is brewing up some celebratory specials.
A former physics and English teacher (and according to this video, a champion disco dancer), Jarnit-Bjergsø started Evil Twin Brewing in his home country of Denmark in 2010. He already had a successful beer distribution business. His Copenhagen beer store was rated best in the world in 2007, and his home brews quickly became legendary. He made a Belgian-style lambic that's so sought-after, it goes for $300 on eBay.
In March 2012, he moved his family to Brooklyn with the modest goal of making New York the beer capital of the world. He exports to a dozen countries, distributes to some of New York's (and Denmark's) best restaurants and has had two of his beers named among the top 10 best beers in the world.
With the holidays upon us, Jarnit-Bjergsø's mind turns to Christmas beers. In particular, he's thinking about Gouden Carolus Noël from Belgium. "An old favorite of mine," he says, "one of the beers I remember drinking when I first got into craft beers." A classic Christmas beer, this one is dark, fruity and spicy; brewed with prunes and raisins. It also has a light menthol note that makes it a little refreshing. "It doesn't get more Christmassy than this," Jarnit-Bjergsø says.
Except that it does. Jarnit-Bjergsø recommends that you pair the beer with a decadent chocolate dessert. He's taken that idea one step further, creating his own legendary holiday beer, made with chocolate, for the season. It's called Even More Denmark, a smoked chocolate chestnut stout, created in collaboration with fellow Dane Fritz Knipschildt who runs Chocopologie, a chocolate shop in Norwalk, Connecticut.
Knipschildt started making chocolate out of his one-bedroom apartment in 1999. He's won numerous "Fancy Food" awards and was named one of the best chocolatiers in the world by Gourmet magazine. He's doing for chocolate what Jarnit-Bjergsø is doing for beer. It's a quiet Danish invasion, and our palates thank them.
Knipschildt's chocolates went into the brewing of the Jarnit-Bjergsø's Even More Denmark beer. In return, Jarnit-Bjergsø used the beer to make some limited-edition Even More Denmark chocolate truffles. The cycle of deliciousness continues. Both the beer and the truffles will only be available at Whole Foods Market Brooklyn, which is set to open December 17, 2013. The beer will be packaged in 22-ounce bottles at 8 percent ABV.
This video from Dark Rye originally appeared in the holiday 2013 issue, "Gather."