The first brewery, or USA Finnish beer, was founded in Helsinki in 1819; Finland has the most significant breweries per capita. Many different beers have been brewed throughout the years, but you can find many traditional types and a few new ones.
Most beer is brewed without any additional ingredients besides yeast, hops, and barley. However, some brewers use other elements such as herbs, honey, and berries.
One of the oldest Finnish beers is Olvi, established in 1907 and has been brewed ever since. Helsingin Olutravintola (HOPS) has a wide selection of Olvi and other traditional beers on its menu and offers beer tastings and tours to visit the factory.
History Of Finnish Beer In USA
Traditional Finnish beer is Sinebrychoff, which has been around since 1819 and was a staple in many bars before prohibition. It is still brewed but not as widely available as other beers. The new generation of craft breweries produces a wide variety of beers, some with very unconventional ingredients. The Pelican Brewing Company is one of these breweries located in Isojoki. They make an IPA called the ‘Iron Horse’ with juniper infusion that gives it a distinctive flavor.
Some craft beers are brewed to appeal to beer drinkers with more conventional ingredients and produce many different types, such as Lapin Kulta, a golden lager. The craft beer industry in Finland is growing, and the Lapin Kulta brewery is expanding its operations to supply more of Finnish consumers’ needs.
In addition to the many different types of domestic beers, there are also a few international ones. For example, Carlsberg can be found, and it is brewed in Finland under the supervision of the Carlsberg Group. Many different bars, pubs, and restaurants sell craft beers along with other types of beer. A few places to try some Finnish brews are HOPS, Olutravintola Kuka, and Humalbaari.
Top 13 Finnish Beer In The USA
You probably need a break from heavy stuff like IPAs or stouts. You deserve something refreshing for once! To help relieve you of your pain and stiff muscles, we compiled a list of the best Finnish beers in the USA for you to take a dive into.
1) Karjala – Dark Beer – 4.0% ABV – 45 IBU
Karjala is a black beer that was first produced in 1959. It would be cool to say it’s made with ancient Finnish magic, but in reality, they use roasted malt and barley. That said, the beer is still very dark with low bitterness levels. It pairs well with fatty meat dishes or even desserts; especially chocolate-based stuff like cookies.
One thing this sweet black drink doesn’t love is carbon dioxide (CO2) and it’s all about controlling just that. The fact of the matter is, CO2 can cause the beer to go bad, so you want less of it in your bottles and whatnot. To get this done they use a ‘bottle conditioning’ process where stored yeast eats more sugar than usual and produces even more CO2 than the amount found naturally in beer. If you want to know how it’s done.
Karjala is the best Finnish dark beer for those who don’t want anything breathtakingly strong, yet still great tasting. The alcohol content is 4.0% ABV which isn’t bad, but not necessarily good either. It was brewed by Hartwall and is currently owned and operated by Sinebrychoff.
2) Olvi – Blueberry Beer – 3.5% ABV – 13 IBU
What’s for dessert? When it comes to this blueberry beer, the answer is ‘blueberries’. This Finn has a pretty low alcohol content, but if you’re into fruit-flavored stuff it’s worth a shot. It also has nice levels of carbonation and bitterness that are almost unnoticeable, but there is some mouth-coating resinous flowery flower flavor that lingers on your lips for quite a while.
The blueberries give this beer an aroma and flavor not too dissimilar to rubbing alcohol, but the flavor is still artificial and not as memorable as it could be. You can get this beer in 355ml cans and bottles at 0.5% ABV for those of you who want to reduce your alcohol intake and/or use this as a chaser after some other drinks.
3) Karjala – Apple Beer – 4.0% ABV – 45 IBU
This beer is colored apple red by using the juice of apples as a natural colorant. It’s also quite popular in Finland, but whoever thought to put apples into beer deserves a round of applause because it was an inspiration that no one else ever had… until now that is!
The aroma is very sweet and fruity; you can’t really mistake it for anything else. The flavor has both a creamy texture and a slightly acidic taste, but not in an unpleasant way. There’s also a very distinct aftertaste that lingers for quite some time. This beer is definitely one of the best Finnish beers on this list!
4) Olvi – Session IPA – 4.8% ABV – 40 IBU
Not everyone can handle huge amounts of alcohol in their beer so this is one of the best Finnish beers out there for those who want something with a little more flavor than your average lager, but less alcoholic content than some other ‘near beers’. This one has a well-balanced blend of malt and hops with a bit of lemon added in for good measure.
It was brewed by Hartwall and is currently owned and operated by Sinebrychoff. The beer pours a golden yellow color that reminds you of the olives in your martini or even a milder version of German pilsner.
5) Olvi – Amhertd Imperial Ipa – 8.0% ABV – IBU
The aroma of this beer is very aromatic and flowery, but with a hint of citrus from the grapefruit that was added in. The flavor is one-of-a-kind with a strong bitter aftertaste and a hint of sourness from the hops. It isn’t very heavy, so you can easily drink this one all night long without getting too tipsy. There was also a little bit of sweet orange flavor added in to cancel out some of the bitterness so it wouldn’t be too overwhelming.
6) Valte – Saison – 6.5% ABV – IBU
Valte is fairly low in alcohol content, but a little stronger in flavor than your standard lager beer. The aroma is quite fruity and citrusy which makes you want to try it out immediately to see if that’s how the taste will also be like.
7) Kvasermaister – Soppio Stout – ABV
This is one of the best Finnish beers to have if you’re a fan of Guinness stout. It has a nice creamy texture and taste that, unlike Guinness, isn’t bitter at all! The flavor is very smooth so this makes for a great beer when you want something with a little alcoholic flavor but not too much of it.
8) Sinebrychoff – Koff Porter 6% ABV
Sinebrychoff is one of the oldest breweries in Finland, but it has only been making beer since 1819 when Carl Gustaf Mannerhjelm opened up a brewery that exclusively produced porter for him. The aroma of this beer is very rich and sweet with some roasted malt notes that smell just like coffee.
9) Olvi – Saison – 4.5% ABV
This is an unfiltered beer with a citrusy taste, but if you want something more flavorful than your typical lager or pilsner then this is one of the best Finnish beers out there to check out.
10) Olvi – Brown Beer – 5.0% ABV
This beer is one of the best Finnish beers if you want something to fill your stomach with since it has a rounder flavor than some other lager or pilsner beers have. It’s also smooth enough so you can down multiple bottles without feeling like you’re going to choke on your tongue.
11) Olvi – Xtra Pale Ale – 4.8% ABV
This beer is very easy to drink and has a pleasant aroma that isn’t too overpowering or strong; it’s just right! If you want a more traditional pale ale without a too bitter taste, then this is one of the best Finnish beers out there, just for you.
12) Olvi – Xtra El Grillo 4.5% ABV
The aroma of this beer is almost like a cross between something fruity and some kind of cereal grain so it’s very unique and not too overwhelming. The flavor is very sweet with hints of citrus from the orange and a little bit of alcohol from the yeast. There’s also a hint of caramel at the end which makes you want to have another drink so you can try out what flavors are hidden in there!
13) Hartwall – Perhelager 19.0% ABV
This may not be for everyone since it’s one of the strongest Finnish beers out there, but it’s definitely one of the best! It has a very strong flavor and aroma with hints of caramel and some fruit mixed in. There is also a hint of pine which gives off the impression that you’re drinking something forest-y or outdoorsy.
Even though there isn’t that much variety in the best Finnish beers out there, they still deliver quite a bit! You can definitely find something to fit your fancy whether you’re looking for some light beers or some strong ones. So keep an eye out for this up-and-rising country’s beer brands and you might just end up finding your favorite one!