Winter in Sweden is no joke. Days are short, jackets are thick, and temperatures can drop to -30°C (-22ºF) in the northern stretches of the country. Through it all, the ice-locked and frost-gilded landscape draws people in, especially at the ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi. Each winter, ice from the Torne River is hauled up and hand-sculpted into a beautiful residence and party space, destined to melt in the spring. This year, our friends at Nya Carnegie are getting in on the fun.
Torne Islager is a strong Vienna-style lager crafted by the brewing team at Nya Carnegie using melted ice from its namesake waterway. It took the brewing team eleven days to slowly melt down the massive chunks of river ice, but they say it’s totally worth it. The beer will be released at a special release party at ICEHOTEL on Saturday, December 12 at 4 PM. The beer will be available in limited quantities at ICEHOTEL and Nya Carnegie’s beautiful Tasting Room, so you’d better get there quick.
We caught up with Nya Carnegie Brewmaster Anders Wendler via email to learn more about Torne Islager. Check out his thoughts below, then start bundling up for the release party.
How did you partner up with ICEHOTEL? Did they approach you for a beer, or did you come to them with an idea?
I got an idea about using ice to highlight water as the main ingredient in beer. I wanted to use ice that was well known and thought about the ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi. They were immediately interested when I presented the idea.
What sort of planning went into sourcing the ice? Did you run into any problems?
ICEHOTEL cuts the ice each winter to save for next season’s hotel. They keep in giant freezers all summer. The main challenge was how to melt the ice and finding containers that were possible to clean and were mobile. After a lot of phoning around to suppliers I have worked with, one of them finally found some at a neighboring dairy. Melting ice takes a looooong time.
Have you brewed an ice lager like this before? Has anyone?
Never tried this before. Actually, I don’t know if anyone else has done it.
What is your favorite part of the beer?
The whole journey starting with an idea 2-3 years ago, finding out where to get ice and how to handle it, getting to work with ICEHOTEL, making everything work together with the team. It’s just a fun crazy idea that ended up in a bottle.
Do you think this project will be repeated?
Sure, but we need to melt the ice somewhere else. We don’t have much space in the brewery and these containers have been lifted in and out of the brewery every day during melting. On the other hand, it was worth it.
What would you pair this beer with?
Many thanks to Anders for his insight into this amazing project. And props to ourselves for recounting this whole tale without a single “cool” joke. We’ll see you at ICEHOTEL!Back to all blog posts