Train Station Brewery: Craft beer at the old train station
By Malin Norman
Train Station Brewery produces award-winning craft beer and also runs a popular pub in Knivsta’s old train station. The ethos is about brewing beer that isn’t ‘lagom’, but challenges the palate and the perception of Swedish beer.
In 2012, the brewery was established by biochemist Colin Nordström from California, entrepreneur and sommelier Simon Vikström from Knivsta, and engineer Per-Johan Thörn from Halmstad. The trio decided to use the old train station building in Knivsta, dating back to 1867, as a base for a new beer brand that would revolutionise the so-called ‘folk beer’ (‘folköl’ – or beer at between 2.8 per cent and 3.5 per cent ABV, which can be sold in supermarkets and not just the state-owned Systembolaget monopoly) market in Sweden.
First out was a recipe for an IPA-inspired folk beer, The Hoppy One. “Colin kept on saying that folk beer in Sweden was rubbish, so we decided to make one inspired by hoppy American IPAs,” says Vikström. “We call it an India Pale Folk Ale. The timing was perfect as many people in Sweden were curious about craft beer.”
The beer received outstanding reviews, by magazines Gourmet and Allt om Mat, for example, and the team knew they were on the right track.
Award-winning beers and other craft beverages
In 2014, the brewery pursued full-strength beer production. Its Groundbreaker has been named Sweden’s Best Lager by Umeåguiden and won gold in beer society Gambrinus’ awards. And, impressively, Shipfaced IPA won gold at Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival as Best Swedish Bottled Beer Regardless of Category. “It’s the small details that make the difference,” argues Vikström. “We analyse the water before brewing, we source ingredients carefully, and we constantly work with quality. This is our success factor.”
With the brewer coming from California, there’s naturally a West Coast IPA in the line-up as well. The brewery, now run by Nordström and Vikström, launched the first of its single batch series last autumn, a juicy and tropical New England IPA with loads of hops. The idea is to launch small batches a couple of times a year.
Train Station Brewery has an interesting range, including gluten-free beer and other craft beverages such as soda, tonic and ginger beer. Ginger Rail is a tasty, well-balanced, non-alcoholic ginger beer with spicy ginger and a touch of lime. And in 2022, the team plans to release a non-alcoholic beer, the recipe of which is still under development, as well as an alcohol-free gin and tonic.
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