Hazy IPAs and wine barrel-aged Saisons have made their way to Finland. Maybe 2018 is the year we´ll get some of those Pastry Stouts with names long enough to stretch across a couple tweets. But we like traditional beers, also. And by "traditional," I mean Real Ale—which, of course, is not actually traditional beer in my country.
Nonetheless, I recently stood by the bar trying to get a sample from the few casks still left after three days of Real Ale Festival. The event was held at Gallows Bird Pub in Espoo, a drowsy little town near the capital city of Helsinki. The place was stuffed with 19 hand-pulls and 10 hands pulling them. "Sold Out" stickers appeared from seemingly out of nowhere, repeatedly landing on the very beers I was trying to drink. But all was well, since every single beer I did have was tasty and fresh.
All of this year's Real Ale Festival beers were from East Anglia, because that’s where publican Thomas Aschan ended up while searching for this year´s lineup. The festival is not new, starting in 1997 with only two beers on offer. After 21 years, I´d like to think that what we have here is a tradition.