Swedish micro – What do they brew? – Part 1

1 Mar

I’ve always had a soft spot for statistics and I just love Swedish micro brewed beer. However I’ve felt for a while that there is something lacking amongst Swedish micros. For instance I rarely see a Swedish barley wine, wheat beer, double IPA or any of the Belgian style ales. Meanwhile it feels like different types of lager, English ales, porters and stouts are very common. I figured I should have a closer look at it, so I’ve gathered data on what micro brewery brews what beer.

I’ve limited myself to using Ratebeer as my source, the style that is registered on the site is the style I used. This is a limitation in the data due to the chance of mistakes during registry but also that some beers don’t fit just one style. For instance some beer are labelled as ‘Smoked’ even though they can be a lager, stout or anything in between. I also decided to skip the annual beers if they where where of the same style as previous years.

I’ve gathered data from 27 Swedish micro breweries who in total brew 623 different beers. First thing I looked at was which style that was the most popular:

Top by Style
Style Quantity % of tot.
IPA 45 7,22%
Porter 42 6,74%
American Pale Ale 33 5,30%
Premium Bitter/ESB 32 5,14%
Premium Lager 29 4,65%
English Pale Ale 29 4,65%
Bitter 26 4,17%
Golden Ale/Blond Ale 23 3,69%
English Strong Ale 22 3,53%
Pale Lager 21 3,37%
Vienna 19 3,05%
Dunkel 18 2,89%
Belgian Ale 18 2,89%
Low Alcohol 18 2,89%
Pilsener 17 2,73%
German Hefeweizen 14 2,25%
Stout 14 2,25%
Spice/Herb/Vegetable 14 2,25%
Imperial Stout 13 2,09%
Brown Ale 11 1,77%
Oktoberfest/Märzen 10 1,61%
Schwarzbier 10 1,61%
Scottish Ale 9 1,44%
Smoked 9 1,44%
Belgian Strong Ale 9 1,44%
Bohemian Pilsener 7 1,12%
Heller bock 6 0,96%
Mild Ale 6 0,96%
Imperial/Double IPA 6 0,96%
Dry Stout 6 0,96%
Altbier 5 0,80%
Irish Ale 5 0,80%
Amber Ale 5 0,80%
Barley Wine 5 0,80%
Imperial/Strong Porter 5 0,80%
Sweet Stout 5 0,80%
Fruit Beer 5 0,80%
Mead 5 0,80%
Traditional Ale 5 0,80%
Old Ale 4 0,64%
Belgian White (Witbier) 4 0,64%
Saison 4 0,64%
Kölsch 3 0,48%
Doppelbock 3 0,48%
Weizen Bock 3 0,48%
Baltic Porter 3 0,48%
Classic German Pilsener 2 0,32%
Dunkler Bock 2 0,32%
Wheat Ale 2 0,32%
Foreign Stout 2 0,32%
Abbey Dubble 2 0,32%
Abbey Tripple 2 0,32%
Dortmunder/Helles 1 0,16%
Eisbock 1 0,16%
American Strong Ale 1 0,16%
Abt/Quadrupel 1 0,16%
Lambic – Fruit 1 0,16%
Perry 1 0,16%

IPA contains both American and English stype IPAs. The high number can be explained by a few breweries brewing several different IPAs, Monks (11), Nynäshamn (6) and Dugges (5) account for almost half of the different types of IPA. Noticable in this table is that all of the styles I mentioned in the beginning are all very low, with the exception of German Hefe-weizen that is surprisingly high up.

It might be hard to get a closer look at the above table and it is not really reader friendly. But I wanted the whole list for those that want to get a closer look. In the below table I’ve tried to group most of the styles into bigger categories. I have separated Stout, Porter, Wheat, and Barley Wine since I wanted to take a closer look at them. Also didn’t put Smoked or IPA into a category as I wasn’t sure where to put them.

Top by category
Category Quantity % of tot.
Brittish 177 28,41%
German 78 12,52%
Lager 76 12,20%
Porter 50 8,03%
Belgian 46 7,38%
IPA 45 7,22%
American 40 6,42%
Stout 40 6,42%
Misc 38 6,10%
Wheat 19 3,05%
Smoked 9 1,44%
Barley Wine 5 0,80%

The British styles are very popular and there is no competition for the top spot. I wonder how that is, could it be the close relations Sweden have with England. We can deal with the why question later. Among the German styles most of them could have ended up in the lager category, which gives a picture of how popular different styles of lagers is even among micro brewers. The Belgian category is higher then I expected and can largely be explained by the number of Belgian Ale and Belgian Strong Ales. The rest of the Belgian styles are very uncommon. Wheat and Barley Wine end up at the bottom of the list. Only a few breweries brew this style of beer.

As you notice the numbers can be a bit off if there is one brewery that brews allot of the same style. That seems to be a trend amongst the microbreweries to brew the same style of beer. For instance Pale Lager that mostly is brewed by Slottskällans and Grebbestads. So to get a better picture lets look at how many breweries brew each style of beer. I will publish my results tomorrow.

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