As a beer aficionado, one of my quests is to try at least one beer from every country in the world. Or at least every country in the world that actually brews beer. Even this goal is ambitious, of course, as even the well-stocked beer stores I’ve discovered have their limits. But aim high, right?
One of these countries I was missing was
. Therefore, I was quite excited when I found not only a Finnish beer for sale, but a new and unique beer type—sahti. This traditional concoction is beer flavored with juniper berries, and often filtered through juniper twigs. I’m not a fan of juniper—for example, I’m not fond of the smell or taste of gin—but I was still eager to give sahti a chance. Sahti is a top-fermented ale, and the brand I tried was Lammin Kataja Olut, which I assume is one of the more popular types. It’s also very strong, with a 7% alcohol content. Finland
Alas, my misgivings about the juniper proved completely founded. It was pretty awful—very sour, not like any beer flavor I’ve ever had, and not in a good way at all. I tried to finish it, but was unable to—it became a drain pour at least halfway through. It wasn’t as horrible as Cave Creek Chili Beer (for more detail, see earlier post), but it wasn’t that much better, either.
I looked it up on Beer Advocate, and read through some of the reviews. Some of the folks agreed strongly with my assessment of it. Unlike Cave Creek, though, Lammin Kataja Olut did have a good percentage of appreciators, perhaps as high as 50%. Various other breweries around the world have tried out their own versions of sahti, again confirming that the type has its fans.
In closing, while I emphatically don’t recommend sahti, I realize that some people enjoy it. I respect the fact that the Finns experimented and came up with their own special contribution to beer. If you like juniper, you might like this beer. I won’t, however, be joining you.