“Part of why we do this festival is that my father and his friends should understand what craft beer is all about,” co-founder Erik Frithiof told me. “He only goes to Systembolaget and buys the cheapest, but beer is not just light stock.”
Sunday was my last day, and I spent it in the countryside. A 40-minute taxi ride through a landscape that was characterized by red-covered barns and soft hills saw me arrive at Hällåkra Vineyard, one of about 30 wine producers in Skåne. I rushed into the cozy Vinotek dining room where John Taylor, the Yorkshire-born son of a Royal Marine, was waiting. John spent youthful summer holidays in Devon and Cornwall. Now he – together with partners Torun Jorde and Johan Lenason – was about to share his passion for cider with Sweden.
They started with 1400 cider-apple trees bought in Herefordshire and planted on small plots by the vineyard and in Malmö, with the first harvest in the autumn of 2019. The brand is Dryg, a Swedish word that means both “more than” and “Disgusting”, but is also a play on the English word “dry”. “Everyone laughs when we tell them in Swedish, because it has five different meanings,” John told me.
Two years after the first harvest, Dryg has proved to be a big hit, despite Covid-19, and will be among the producers at this year’s festival. I can highly recommend it: a suitable toast to a part of the world that was once almost dry, but is now far from it.
Malmö has its own airport, although there are no direct flights from the UK. Much easier is Copenhagen Airport, which is connected to Malmö Central Station by train that departs every 20 minutes. travel time is 24 minutes.
Comfort Hotel (00 46 40 33 04 40; nordicchoice hotels.se) is a two-minute walk from Central Station. Double from £ 74 per night, including breakfast.
Eating and drinking
Kingdom (riket.net) is open Wednesday to Saturday, 17:00 until late; small plates start at around £ 8 (SEK 100). Malmö Saluhall (malmosaluhall.se/en) is open all week from 11.00; expect to pay between £ 8.50 and £ 14 a pizza at Hedvigsdal Vedugn & Vin. Hallakras Vinotek (hallakra.com) is currently only open for tastings and special events, but is expected to reopen as a restaurant for the high season next year.
The Great Swedish Beer Festival (greatswedishbeerfestival.se) will be held on October 29-30, 2021. Tickets cost SEK 250 (£ 21) per day.