A trip to Copenhagen would not be complete without a visit to the Carlsberg Brewery!
Carlsberg is synonmous with Denmark and has a long standing history in the vicinity of Copenhagen. The presence of the original founder JC Jacobson and his son Carl can be felt across the city, not only in the prevelance of the Carlsberg signage on the local brew-pub, but also in the contributions made to the city’s attractions.
A Fascinating History
JC Jacobson started Carlsberg in the 1847, naming the brewery after his son Carl. Over the years, Carlsberg was successful not only in Denmark, but started to export beer (mainly to the UK). Carlsberg had a lot of contributions to the advancement of brewing outside of Germany, including the development of the world’s first pure strain of yeast (named Saccharomyces Carlsbergensis) in 1883 by Emil Christian Hansen in the Carlsberg Laboratory.
The Carlsberg brand has an interesting linage that has endured, grown, and changed over the tenure. Interesting stories are on display in the Old Brewhouse at Carlsberg, that tell the tale of production over the years to where the company is today. Interestingly, Carl started his own brewery and fought with his father for rights to use the Carlsberg name. After some time an agreement was reached, where by Carl could use the name Ny Carlsberg (Ny = new), and JC would go by Gamle Carlsberg (Gamle = old), each with their own branding. This lasted for many years, until the companies and logos were combined. Over the years Carlsberg has created partnerships and made acquisitions to further the production of their beer in Denmark and abroad.
Carl Jacobson had a great passion for collecting art. Carl and his family made many contributions to the fine museums and sites within Carlsberg.
The Ny Carlsberg Glypotek was established by Carl and contains a large collection of art (statues, paintings, and pre-historic findings). The Glypotek is definitely worth a visit especially on Sundays when admission is free.
Additionally, Carl gave Copenhagen the famous Little Mermaid statue, Langelinje in 1913. You can find people lined up to take pictures with the statue, which is situated on the coast (near the cruise port) just northeast of city center. (A miniature replica of Langelinje is at the brewery in the sculpture garden.)
All in all, the self-guided tour was interesting and a nice way to spend a Wednesday afternoon in Copenhagen. Plus, the tour comes with “tastings” of some of the Carlsberg brews. The brewery also offers guided tours–one in English and one in Danish daily–for an additional fee. (Check visitcarlsberg.com for additional times.)
The property boasts a nice Courtyard Cafe, which is a great location to enjoy your tastings, as well as purchase some tasty food. We enjoyed the hamburger and the Danish open-faced sandwiches. If the tastings aren’t enough to wet your whistle, you can also purchase additional beverages for consumption (beer, pop, and water.)
The property also is home to the Jacobsen Brewhouse & Bar which serves some specialty brews branded with the Jacobsen label. The bottles of Jacobsen Beer are for purchase only (not included in the tasting) and only available in the Jacobsen Brewhouse. The Brewhouse also serves up the same food menu as the Courtyard Cafe, just in an indoor setting.
Carlsberg Brewery is located just west of the city center and is open daily from 10am to 5pm. The property is its own only little city. Be sure to visit the Gamle Carlsberg and Ny Carlsberg entry signs, and read up on the four elephant statues that were built as a water tower at the Ny Carlsberg entrance.