Friday, November 10, marks 170 years since the very first beer was brewed at the Carlsberg brewery in Valby, Copenhagen. All Carlsberg’s employees across its 150 markets will celebrate the brewery group’s anniversary with a traditional Danish Layer Cake.
Decorated with whipped cream and red berries, the special birthday cake is being prepared as far away as China - baked for the very first time by the local team for its employees.
Carlsberg’s 170th anniversary kicked-off with a full week of celebration in Copenhagen in August, with guests from all of Carlsberg’s markets visiting the historic brewery site. During the week, Carlsberg brought its founder back to life using the latest techniques in hologram technology, erected the world’s first ZERO Carbon Windmill Bar, and organised a huge street party on Old Carlsberg Road in Carlsberg City district for more than 10,000 guests.
The special Layer Cake came to Denmark at the same time as the Carlsberg pilsner in the late 1800s. The first recipe is published in the famous Ms. Jensen's Cookbook from the same time that Carl Jacobsen, the founder’s son, donated the Little Mermaid to Copenhagen. Now, more than 100 years later, the recipe has traveled over 7,000 kilometers and will be used for the first time in China to celebrate the anniversary.
Bjarke Bundgaard, a Danish beer historian, recommends pairing the special Layer Cake with a stout.
“It’s super fun to think that the cake made its entrance in Denmark while Carlsberg invented the cultivation of yeast and launched the world’s first quality beer. Therefore, as a first try, I would taste the cake with the new Carlsberg 1883, launched in Denmark earlier this year, and brewed on the same yeast as Carlsberg discovered in 1883. This will complement the whipped cream and add a taste of mocha and nuts. Alternatively, you could serve an ice cold Imperial Stout,” says Bjarke Bundgaard.
Already in 1871, Carlsberg began brewing a top-fermented porter for the Danish market. Later, in 1895, the beer was re-launched as a bottom-fermented porter and the still existing label was designed for that purpose.
The new porter quickly became popular, especially among artisans and construction workers that appreciated the porter’s full-bodied warmth and heightening of the spirit, during the long cold winter days.
“Carlsberg Imperial Stout is the oldest existing stout in Denmark, and an important beer in Carlsberg’s 170-year history, as it is brewed on Carl Jacobsen’s recipe. Most beer connoisseurs has for long celebrated its deep malty flavour and rich aromas of chocolate, liquorice and coffee, and today it is first and foremost praised as the perfect beer for dessert because its rich taste matches whipped cream, delicate layers of cake, vanilla and chocolate really well. It will match Carlsberg’s 170-year-old birthday cake no matter whether it’s eaten in Denmark or China,” says Bjarke Bundgaard.
Other stouts that pair well with a Layer Cake include Jacobsen Porter from Denmark or Aldaris Porteris from Latvia, Alivaria Porter from Belarus, Baltika #6 Porter from Russia or Black Panther Foreign Extra Premium Stout from Cambodia. He also points to Carnegie Porter or the organic Hingstin Eko Stout from the New Carnegie Brewery in Sweden. Other stouts good stouts include Lvivske Porter from Ukraine, Lübzer Schwarzbier from Germany, Sinebrychoff Porter from Finland, Švyturys Juodas or Utenos Porteris from Lithuania, and Okocim Mistrzowski Porter from Poland.
An alternative stout could be the exciting, non-alcoholic Super Bock Non-Alcoholic Black from Portugal, Bundgaard points out.