So on Wednesdays we have “field studies” which is free time in our schedule to go on excursions with our classes. Each of my five courses has two Wednesdays reserved through the course of the semester. One course will attend a paneled discussion, another will visit a refugee asylum. You get the idea. It also means I have a lot of Wednesdays with no classes, and a chance to do day trips or touristy things around Copenhagen.
This Wednesday I was going to get up early, but in classic fashion I slept until 1pm. So I had some breakfast and met up with friends to make a plan. With what was left of the afternoon we decided to go to the Carlsberg Factory/Museum. I am not much of a beer drinker but I figured it was part of the cultural immersion process. We walked about fifteen minutes to edge of the factory property where we were greeted by the elephant gates. I thought they were adorable and took a picture.
I took a few steps further and to see the other side of the elephants saddle was engraved with a Swastika. Seeing that symbol towering above me in such a public place was extremely unnerving. I became concerned for what kind of history we were going to learn at the factory.
Just beyond the elephants there was a plaque explaining the presence of the symbol.
I found out later in the tour, as I saw swastikas branded on different building, that the Jacobsens had used the symbol as a part of the original logo. In 1939, as the Nazis began to invade Europe, the Jacobsens permanently removed the image from their branding so as not be associated with Nazism.
Once we got in the building it was 80 dk ($12) for a ticket, which provides a self guided tour and two vouchers for beer from different stalls in the factory. The first room we entered was the old brew house where we were served a Carlsberg Dark Lager, which is made according to the Jacobsen’s original recipe. It is only produced in Denmark and on a very limited basis. Im a beer novice but I thought it was tasty. The information sheet said I was supposed caramel, chocolate, and a mix of other flavors, but I missed that.
We then went upstairs to the beer bottle collection where they have 22,527 bottles of beer on display. They are different Carlsbergs from all over the world dating back almost a century.
After we went through the Carlsberg historical timeline of beer production that dates back to 400 ad. I was surprised while wandering around to find a large star of david amongst the beer paraphernalia
Turns out it is something called the “Brewers Star."
I thought this was a fun bit of folklore and as it turns out even beer needs a divine guardian. After this we walked through the old parts of the factory that are no longer in use. They were dark and underground so I don’t have any pictures. It was a little creepy since they piped in sound effect of workmen rolling barrels and working. Also they had wax figures of the workmen. There was something a little horror movie about it.
The final stop before the gift shop was the stables. I assumed it was a converted stables, but as soon as we walked in I smelled horse. Turns out it is where the Carlsberg horses live! just like the Budweiser Clydesdales. I spent a solid thirty minutes petting the horsing and talking to them, to the point where my friends had to pull me from the room. There are some cute pictures of me bonding with the horses, but they are on my friends camera so I will have to post them later. I am definitely having separation issues here in Copenhagen without my dogs and the horses made a solid replacement.
This is the only blurry picture of them I had on my phone.
We stopped in the giftshop where I found some excellent gifts, which I am going to keep a surprise. I have to say I am impressed the Carlsberg Factory was way more fun, interesting, and educational than I had predicted.