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Back in April, I was invited onto the Mackmyra Inn by my Quaich podcast co-host Micky Plummer. The Inn is a live-streamed show hosted by Micky and Rich, two of Mackmyra’s UK-based brand ambassadors. I wanted some interesting booze to talk about and, sticking with the pub theme, I decided at least one of those drinks should be beer. Since Mackmyra is Swedish, I looked around for some Swedish beer. One name kept popping up above all others: Omnipollo.
A bit of reading, and some advice from my brother-in-law and his wife, both of whom are passionate and knowledgeable beer lovers, convinced me that this was the brewer I was looking for. I searched for a retailer and found Beer Merchants had an impressive selection. I chose a few bottles, leaning towards pretty basic styles because I would be pairing the beer with a whisky from Mackmyra. The number of styles available was incredible and I knew I’d be back to explore Omnipollo further at a later date.
Fast forward a few weeks and an email came from Beer Merchants notifying that they were running a tasting with Omnipollo, complete with a virtual tour of their new brewery. £35 would buy you five beers and a glass. That may seem expensive to some, but compared to the prices of the individual beers, it was actually a bit of a saving.
Omnipollo was founded by brewer Henok Fentie and artist Karl Grandin in 2010. They brew a huge array of different styles with the intention of changing the perception of beer. Though they often work in collaboration with other brewers from around the world, Omnipollo opened their first permanent brewery in Sundbyberg, just north of Stockholm in early 2020. Despite a rise in popularity however, they continue to release some of the most creative beer in the world.
Below I’ve written some thoughts on the beers we enjoyed throughout the evening. I haven’t awarded a score because tasting five strong beers one after the other is hardly an accurate way of assessing the individual quality of each one. Still, a few thoughts can’t go amiss…
Omnipollo X Camba – Der Schwedische Lehrling
A Bavarian-style Lager brewed together with Camba. 440ml bottle at 5.2%. Retails at £3.80.
A fairly straightforward lager to start us off. Malty with a cooking apple note. Slightly grassy. Bitter hops. Almost old-fashioned. Reminded me of the way beer used to taste when I’d dip my finger in my Dad’s glass as a youngster. Decent but unspectacular compared to what was to come.
Omnipollo Boy IPA
Described as a hyper focused double dry-hopped pale ale. Bottled at 4.9% abv. Retailed at £4.75.
Beautiful hazy appearance on this one. Malty start with lots of citrus notes. Orange and lemon. Zingy lime as the bitter hops come through. Slightly herby. Lemongrass. Nice effervescence. Not as OTT on the hops as some contemporary IPA’s but I enjoyed this one. Refreshing and flavoursome.
Omnipollo Jean in a Bottle
Lactose-free, vegan Milkshake IPA with an extra dose of vanilla in honour of Jean Broillet of Tired Hands. Bottled at 9% abv and retails at £8.80.
Creamy vanilla. American cream soda. Orange and lemon. A little bit of ginger. Chilli. Someone on the tasting suggested Milk Bottle sweets and I can’t state enough how much they nailed it with that note. In truth, I couldn’t taste anything else after that notion had taken hold. Couldn’t quite make up my mind on it. I think it came across like a beer of decent quality but just wasn’t really in my wheelhouse where flavour profile is concerned. I don’t think the Milkshake thing is for me.
Omnipollo Tefnut Pistachio Milk Toffee Ice Coffee Pineapple
A triple fruited Imperial Gose. Brewed with loads of pineapple, pistachios, toffee, lactose sugar and a dash of coffee. The result of a partnership with The Veil in Virginia. Bottled at 10% abv. Retails at £9.60.
Pistachio, Toffee, Pineapple and Coffee don’t exactly sound like natural partners and they’ve come together here to create one of the strangest drinks I’ve encountered for quite some time. Strange, but not unpleasant. It starts out very fruity with lots of pineapple and mango. Then there’s some nuttiness, followed by some woody spice and then coffee comes through at the end. It shouldn’t work, and on the first taste, I would have said it didn’t but after a few sips it started to make a strange sort of sense. In the end, I think I rather enjoyed it. This is just as well because my wife thought it was hideous and left me with 330ml of it. Very weird, and I’m not sure that it’s something I’d opt for on a regular basis but I’m still glad I tried it. Nice to challenge the palate with the bizarre from time to time.
Omnipollo X Horus – Pluckin’ Feathers
A transatlantic double brew with Horus Aged Ales. A Blueberry Coconut Hazelnut Imperial Stout. This one retails at £12.45 and comes at an impressive 12% abv.
A huge aroma rising from the glass. Lots of coffee and chocolate notes. Reminds me of chocolate-covered coffee beans I once tasted at Laphroaig distillery. There’s almond and coconut, then blueberry and raspberry with coffee, chocolate and rich caramel. More and more these days I find myself going for Stouts and this was the beer of the night for me. At £12 a bottle you wouldn’t be buying a case but at 12% you wouldn’t need one. One or two of these bad boys will see you through an evening comfortably. Absolutely exquisite stuff.
Some great beers throughout the evening. My only grumble was over the running time of the thing. It seemed to go on for hours and sometimes it felt like the hosts at the Craft Beer Channel forgot there were people watching and got a little lost in their conversation with the folks at Omnipollo. That being said, there was a lot of useful and interesting information disclosed and it was lovely to see around a brewery in Sweden whilst still stuck at home in Glasgow.
Omnipollo look to be something quite special. Particularly if you’re one of those drinkers who appreciate the weird and wonderful in their drink. Beer that’s like the liquid embodiment of unshackled creativity.
Visit the Omnipollo website here
Check out Beer Merchants here.