Drinking Buddy

November 17, 2009 By: erik Category: Denmark, Nostalgia, Photography 199 views

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Carlsberg Bottle OpenerI had never really drunk much alcohol before going to Denmark as a naive 20-year-old. There in Scandinavia, I fell in love with the two main lagers available, Tuborg and Carlsberg. Upon returning to my homeland, now of legal drinking age, I sought them out, only to find no sign whatsoever of either brand. Once, shortly thereafter, I was on a business trip in Chicago when I entered a bar that had a neon Carlsberg sign. I rushed up to the bartender and asked if they really had Carlsberg, but he told me that hadn’t had it for a couple years and that the sign was left over from some publicity from ten years earlier. Apparently Carlsberg had stopped exporting to the US just before I’d learned of its existence.

Having cut my teeth on real European lager, I was doomed to a life of buying imported beers, disgusted by the watery domestic products. Not only that, but due to the prohibition of aluminum cans across Denmark, I also found myself unable to comfortably drink beer out of a can – which wasn’t too much of a curse because the only beers sold in cans were the crappy American ones that I couldn’t stand anyway.

All of this history is symbolized for me in one object, which I have taken with me to every house I have lived in for the past decade, a Carlsberg bottle opener that I bought in Copenhagen in 1999. She’s a little rusty, but she’ll pop a cap as fast as anything. One day our ways will part, but until then… Skí¥l!

Carlsberg Bottle Opener

  • I know a lot of American students who discovered beer on trips to Europe. Our university had an exchange programme with American colleges and it never failed to amuse us how your compatriots, mostly under the age of 21, would come over to the UK and go a bit crazy because they suddenly realised that they could legally drink alcohol.

    • On the flip side, the European exchange students in the States will walk into the grocery store, pick up a six pack and head towards checkout, and their American friends have to say, “Dude, what are you doing!? You can’t buy that!”

      Nothing like a good exchange program to teach you that foreigners are weird. 🙂

  • I appreciate your fetishizing this object.

    My education in beer began on my year-long exchange, not so much in Italy (Nastro Azzuro? Really?), where I was studying but on my travels to places like the UK, Belgium, Germany, and the other usual suspects. The irony is that the microbrewing revolution that took place, particularly in places like New England and the West & Northwest, where I spent my later twenties and early thirties, completely spoiled me not for imported beer but for beer brewed behind that door there. So since I returned to Europe — some of the more lager-obsessed parts of Europe — at 37 I have been pining (PINING, I tell you) for Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (California), Cadillac Mountain Stout (Maine), and Moose Drool (Montana).

    Though Bulgaria makes a handful of pretty fantastic bocks, The Slovenian beer scene is pretty damn two-dimensional.

  • Sorry — me again. Just realized that the link in the above comment doesn’t really make sense. Intended to link to this one, which makes marginally more sense in the context.

  • herrbutzie

    In 2009 Carlsberg was the 4th largest brewery group in the world employing around 45,000 people.[3]