There were a lot of things that stand out in my memories of this year’s Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival.
The fact this was the first year my fledgling brewery Beer Studio was there was one of them, squeezed in between the insanely talented Danko and Mattias Hammenlind from CAP pouring up keg after keg of outstanding experimental brews and the crew of FrEQuency serving up IPA with kumquat in it and Muddy Water loveliness.
The moment Stone Brewing Co’s founder Greg Koch, a demi-god in the US craft beer industry, came over and sipped on a Beer Studio Long Play Pale Ale was both exhilarating and quite frankly made me want to poop my pants at the same time. That he muttered “this is cool’ was enough to fuel my craft beer engine for years to come.
Signing copies of the new book I co-wrote with Mr Joel Linderoth was wonderfully weird (the only thing I normally get to sign are cheques these days) but the interest and enthusiasm from festival-goers for what Joel and I had set out to do was motivating and inspiring.
The camaraderie of fellow brewers, distributors and the pub and restaurant crowd is something I’ve grown to look forward to each year and yet I still walk away from each SBWF amazed at just what a remarkable group of people they really are. For me this festival isn’t so much about amazing beer – it’s about the amazing people that get it into your glass. And there were lots of them in the halls at Nacka Strand this year.
But more than the beers, the hugs and high fives, the kind words about our beers, the trending session IPAs and the dubious after-festival drinking sessions there was one moment that stuck out above all others.
It involves a guy called Kalle and a paper napkin. And it’s the reason why you’re reading this article right now.
Kalle, a complete stranger, was sipping on a beer at our stand when he asked what was happening with BeerSweden. I recounted the sorry tale of it being hacked, of the thousands of kronor it would take to get it cleaned up, of the many hours I don’t have to bring it back to life again.
Kalle calmly listened, took a swig of beer and then offered to fix it. To bring BeerSweden back. For free. Because he liked reading it and didn’t want it to fade away like an old bottle of IPA.
Just like that.
So we exchanged details, grabbing the first thing we could find to write down our numbers on. A couple of paper napkins.
A few days later, after several email exchanges entitled ‘Paper Napkin Guy’, Kalle has been in, driven out the demons and bought BeerSweden back online.
Kalle’s kindness is my brightest memory of this year’s Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival. It reminded me, once again, that one of beer’s greatest qualities is that it brings you in contact with awesome people.
So to you, Kalle, my paper napkin guy, what can I say?
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!
Category: Articles in English