“Syd-Øst for Paradis” means “Southeast of Paradise,” which refers to an apparently lovely beach town called Hullehavn southeast of Svaneke on the island of Bornholm. The beer’s label describes Hullehavn as a place of “volleyball and genuine comfort” and cheerily boasts: “We have bottled the summer for you.”
In need of some sunshine during this increasingly dark and grey English November, I cracked open a Syd-Øst tonight and I poured it into three different glasses. Why three? Because I wanted to conduct a little experiment. I am something of a glassware geek, but only partly because I just think good glassware is fun and pretty. The main reason I own twice as many glasses as all three of my flatmates combined is because good glasses make for good drinkin’! I recall once drinking an Ommegang Three Philosophers, a blended Belgian-style dark ale brewed with cherries. In my Delirium Tremens tulip glass, it smelled of bananas, Scotch, and amaretto and tasted of ripe cherries and caramel; poured into to a pilsner glass for a friend, it smelled and tasted of yeast, earth, and allspice. It was entirely different – and much worse, in my opinion.
So proper glassware is important. And to prove it, I’ve chosen three very different glasses from which to enjoy my Syd-Øst, all of them from Holmegaard: the Skibsglas goblet, the No. 5 beer glass, and the Det Danske Ølglas. Oh, and by the way: Syd-Øst for Paradis is brewed with elderflowers!
In the Skibsglas:
Smells primarily of honey, biscuits, and lemon-lime, with a mild but certainly detectable elderflower fruitiness. Tastes very sweet and very elderflowery, almost more like an elderflower cordial with some white wine notes and a trace of lemon in the background.
In the No. 5:
Much more resinous and much less fruity in the nose, hop-forward with notes of hay and lemon, but the elderflower is still there. Somewhat less sweet and more tart on the palate, but the overall flavor profile is the same.
In the Ølglas:
Surprisingly, this globe glass seems to combine the aromas of the Skibsglas and the No. 5, but subdues them both while adding unexpected smells of grape juice and herbs. The inward-turned lip of this glass delivers the beer to the front and sides of the palate, emphasizing bitterness (but the beer is still predominantly sweet).
Overall, this 3.5% ale is a bit too sweet to session, but served chilled it would make an excellent apéritif or pairing for buttery, earthy foods like foie gras or Brie. As for the best glass, it would be something between the No. 5 and the Ølglas – specifically, a narrow glass with an inward-turned lip, which would amplify hop and fruit aromas while downplaying sweetness on the tongue. A champagne flute, come to think of it, would be perfect.