Beer from Finland: American Expat Conducts Taste Test, Violence Ensues

Look at these tiny, handsome gentlemen… all lined-up and ready for some cheeky competition.

You know who’s really awesome? My German wife. She’s a Gymnasium teacher here in Hannover, and every couple years she travels with a group of visibly hormonal high school students to Finland on an exchange program. And you know what this beautiful, wonderful, magical woman brought home for me on her last trip to the Land of a Thousand Lakes? A “Big 4 Sun” sampler box of Finnish beer.

Tell me, good Sir: What secrets lie within you?

Inside were four, half-liter cans of beer from the Pyynikin Craft Brewery, each of a different variety: ale, pilsner, saison and IPA. Oh, and just so you know what kind of beer drinker you’re dealing with here, I tend to lean toward reds, ambers and anything strong enough to anesthetize a member of mid-1980s Mötley Crüe. My absolute favorite beer of all time is Double Dead Guy Ale from Rogue Brewery, and my absolute least favorite beer of all time is Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale, also from Rogue Brewery. (Seriously guys, what the fuck.)

Anyway, here’s the first brew I pulled out of the box:

Sweet artwork, Finnish brewers. You’ve already tickled my fancy.

With 4 half-liter cans — a combined volume of 2 liters of beer and an average alcohol content of 4.7% — I expected this Finnish sampler pack to help me get a pretty decent swerve on.

Let’s see what happens when you, “brew with love.”

But before I even get started with the taste test, I really must make one thing absolutely clear: I love the fact that Pyynikin Craft Brewery has the balls to venture out into the land of craft beer. See, I’m from Portland, Oregon, meaning I was born in a microbrewery and baptized in a keg of Triple-Nut Nipple-Twister Sugar-Beet Ale. I have more craft beer running through my veins than actual blood, which my doctor keeps telling me is “unhealthy,” the pussy. Also, I’ve been living in Germany since 2012. Although I adore German beer, I’ve been drinking nothing but pilsner, generic light beer (Helles), dark lagers, and the occasional hefeweizen ever since. (And by “occasional hefeweizen,” I mean when I can find absolutely nothing else on the menu to get me drunk and take away the generalized anxiety and existential dread which haunts my every waking minute.) So these craft beers from Finland were like a breath of fresh, intoxicating air to me, and for this, I must already award the Pyynikin Craft Brewery with a brave 4 our of 5 Merkel Diamonds:

Merkel Diamond from Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany
Nicely done, Finnies. I admire your testicular fortitude.

Alright, so with my gratitude clearly stated to my German wife, the brewery, and by proxy the country of Finland as a whole, let’s begin the taste test…

First up: Pyynikin’s Ruby Jazz Ale

What in god’s holy gobstopper is this fizzy poison? I was expecting an ale, here, not the half-retarded lovechild of an IPA and a sour, tongue-stabbing hop-golem. Jesus H. Tits, I love the artwork on the can and all, but this hoppy skullfucker could strip the spray paint off the Berlin Wall. Fuck you, Ruby Jazz Ale; you were supposed to be my favorite, and yet here I am trying to unpucker my anus as I reach with shaky hands for the next practical joke from Finland.

I award Ruby Jazz Ale with a pimp-slapping 2 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds:

Merkel Diamond from Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany

…and sentence it to Death by Impalement with Mechanical Pencil.

Next up: Pyynikin’s Dammer Pils

Christ on a cracker, why does this pilsner smack of nutty lemonade? Drinking it was like deepthroating a lime-flavored dildo with a hot walnut ejaculate. I’m not saying it should have followed the stringent guidelines for a proper German pilsner or anything, but I suspect the brewers might have shown up to work that day and just said, “Fuck it, let’s see if anyone notices Luukas has been pissing in the kegs again.” Still, cool can and all, and much respect for the effort, but god damn; I can’t award this uppity squirrel piss with anything more than 3 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds:

Merkel Diamond from Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany

…and sentence it to Death by Stabbing with Ballpoint Pen and €0.50 Office Scissors to the Jugular.

Next up: Pyynikin’s Cloudberry Saison

Okay, okay — I understand saisons are supposed to be both fruity and French — but that is no excuse for this lemony, panhandling street orphan from the intersection of Hefeweizen Blvd. and Tugjob Ave. It’s like licking the lime juice from Dionysus’ pendulous nutsack. The next time I have a thirst for some prancing sugar juice, I’ll just head on down to the nearest brothel and ask for a Raspberry Enema with Yeasty Breathplay.

God dammit, Cloudberry Saison, that’s a nancy 2 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds for you:

Merkel Diamond from Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany

…and I sentence you to Death by Decapitation So I Never Have to Hear That Fruity, Pursed-Lip French Accent of Yours Again.

And finally: Pyynikin’s Session American IPA

“American IPA,” you say? Why, that sounds promising. IPAs are currently all the rage back home in Portland. Perhaps I have misjudged the good brewmasters at — oh wait, no; by the stiff nipples of Uncle Sam himself, I declare this IPA the sourest, most aggressively hoppy shartwater I have ever tasted. My testicles are still huddled in fear against the soothing warmth of my taint, begging me never to consume such bitter venom again.

God damn you, Session American IPA. You deserve even less than 1 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds, but I am lazy and forgot to make an absolute zero Merkel Diamonds graphic:

Merkel Diamond from Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany

You already know what you need to do: Pick up that tantō blade and commit Suicide by Seppuku. (Don’t forget to cut left AND right, you dishonorable son of a bitch.)

Okay, so that wraps up my highly professional and totally objective taste test of the “Big 4 Sun” sample pack from Pyynikin Craft Brewery. Thank you to my lovely wife for this gift, and thank you, Finland, for getting me both drunk and angry on a random Monday night. Keep up the good work!

And to my awesome readers: Thank you for visiting and please come again soon. You’re the best.

Have an awesome day!


16 thoughts

  1. Yes, I wrote you have the beer in the world; the best beer in the world, and I haven’t even had a beer yet.


  2. I just wanted to give a shout-out to the Finns (I have ancestral ties to the country, so I’m biased). They apparently have a word for “drinking at home in your underwear with no intention of going out” – kalsarikännit. Don’t ask me how to pronounce it, but it’s an admirable word.
    “Got any plans for tonight?”
    “Yeah. Kalsarikännit. You?”


  3. Have you tried Köstritzer? I don’t like beer myself (even though I am German – I know, I know), but everyone I know who likes dark beer loves it. And I can personally attest to the fact that it is delicious in chocolate stout cake. :-)


  4. As an American working in Finland, this is a sad, sad place for beer. There us one, though, if you can possibly find it. An American Pale Ale from Solmu Brewery. It’s like the brew master actually studies the style guide or something.

    I can only find it in 1 singular restaurant in Helsinki, and that makes me the sad.


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