6/12/2014: Visit Carlsberg in Copenhagen, Denmark

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Hey Everyone! Welcome to another trip report from the Traveling Mr. Taylor! Today we’ll take a look back at when my friend Jeff Cohen and I went to Visit Carlsberg in Copenhagen, Denmark during our Cultural Pre-tour, before we would join other friends for the Theme Park Review Scandinavia Tour back in June of 2014.

Visit Carlsberg is the site of the original Carlsberg Brewery, which was opened by J.C. Jacobsen, and would be passed on to his son Carl, whom the brewery and company was named after. Carlsberg is to Copenhagen culturally what Budweiser is to the United States. Where ever you go around Copenhagen, there is a very good chance you will see advertising for it.

The attraction is just a few train stops and about a 15 minute walk from Copenhagen Central Train Station, and is one of the many attractions that is included on the Copenhagen Card, a pass that you can purchase for numerous days that will grant you free admission to many cultural sites and places throughout Copenhagen (definitely worth it!).

Here at Visit Carlsberg, you can learn about this history of the company and its beers as well as the beer making process. You can walk around the grounds and enjoy gardens while visiting the garage with old delivery vehicles including wagons and trucks. You can enjoy a meal at the onsite restaurant while enjoying samples of their different beers (which are included with your admission). You can also purchase Carlsberg branded merchandise and souvenirs. So let’s take a look and see what Visit Carlsberg is all about!

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Upon entering Visit Carlsberg, We would come upon the gift shop of Visit Carlsberg.

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After getting our tickets and sample vouchers, Jeff and I would begin our tour in the Old Brewhouse. Here is where you meet J.C. and Carl Jacobsen, and learn about their roles in the creation and growth of the Carlsberg Brewery.

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Just upstairs from there, we had a chance to see the largest collection of beer bottles from around the world (Certified by Guinness World Records as seen above). Most of them (if not all) are different bottles and labels of their various brands that they sell all over the world, and from different periods of time. The shelves were separated by continent, and the bottles organized by country in which it would have been sold. It was quite an impressive collection to see.

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Once you come back downstairs from the bottle collection, the next room you go into is where you learn about the history of beer, and more specifically the history of Carlsberg. Throughout this exhibit you can follow the timeline of history for beer and then when you get to the founding of Carlsberg, you learn more about the company and their different brews, you also can find old bottles that they used to be sold in along with a few other artifacts as seen below.

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But if you take a closer look at a few of the items, there may be something rather curious that you will see…did you notice it? Take a look at the close-ups below…

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That’s right. Some of the bottles and artifacts have swastikas on them

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Here Jeff shows his disapproval for their being a swastika on display at Carlsberg. The good news though is that they didn’t have swastikas on their bottles as a sign of support to the Nazi Party in Germany, rather it was once a part of their branding.

Back in 1881, The swastika was adopted as part of the Carlsberg logo because of its ancient Indian meaning of “that which is good”. However, Carlsberg would drop the use of the symbol in the 1940’s after the symbol became associated with the Natzi party of Germany.

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As you go into the next room, you learn about the beer making process and how they used to store it before the advent of modern tanks.

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You even learn a bit about what it was like to be an employee for the brewery, which included the perk of having a beer ration that you would earn as an employee. Apparently our friend above had his ration all in one sitting.

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Next we came out into the gardens of the brewery where several statues can be seen, including a replica of the famous Little Mermaid Statue located on the canal of Copenhagen. The Statue was commissioned by J.C. Jacobsen as a tribute to the story written by Hans Christian Andersen.

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Here I decided that I would do my best to replicate the statue…NAILED IT!

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Here Jeff is doing his best to blend right in. I don’t think anyone would notice the difference.

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From the gardens, Jeff and I would find ourselves in the stables where they keep the horses that pull their old wagons that they previously used to transport beer (They may still use them for promotional purposes like Budweiser does with their Clydesdales), as well as many of their old trucks.

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Some of the vehicles looked more practical than others, but I’m not gonna lie, I would be down for driving the keg truck down the highway!

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You could also pay a visit to the horses and see the wagons that once used to be a part of the transit of beer to various pubs and taverns.

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Jeff and I decided to try our hand at transporting beer, but as you can see, neither of us has the strength of a horse.

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So after enjoying the tour of the place, and trying to pull a wagon solo, it seemed like a great time to try some beer!

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The first beer that Jeff and I would try was the Jaconsen Dark Lager. This is the same recipe as the first beer that J.C. Jacobsen made when he first started his brewery. A while before this trip, I was not much of a fan of beer, as I usually stuck with hard ciders, or if I did have a beer, it was usually the weak stuff like Bud Light or Coors Light (the kind that people outside of the United States frown upon). As I went to Mexico the year before, I started to get to a point where I enjoyed others a bit more, and by the time this trip came along, I had gotten to more of a taste for different varieties. With that being said, I really liked the dark lager.

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While J.C. and Carl couldn’t verbally approve their sampling, Jeff and I knew in our hearts that they approved just as we did.

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That would lead to us having a grand old time with the two of them.

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We would venture outside for our second sample which would be the Carlsberg, which I believe is a Pilsner (like Miller Lite, but much better). I was a pretty big fan of this one as well, and it would become my go to beer for the rest of the trip when it was available. (I was pretty happy to learn that there is a pub about 10-15 minutes from where I live in Shoreline that carries Carlsberg).

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Back inside, you can visit the onsite restaurant where more of their beers were available, and you could watch the beer making and packaging process as seen below. The Dark Lager was the one being made onsite. I find this type of machinery fun to watch.

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And with that, we end our report of Visit Carlsberg in Copenhagen. If you make it to Copenhagen and are a fan of beer, this place is certainly worth a visit. Not just for the free beer samples, but for the history and cultural significance that it plays for Denmark. I certainly enjoyed it, and thank you all for checking out the report, and I thank Jeff for joining me on this adventure as it was a fun visit. But for now, I’ve got to ride off…..

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Take Care and Safe Travels

-Gary Taylor

“The Traveling Mr. Taylor”

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