Tuesday, 10 December 2013

J-dag and Julebryg

It’s been almost 2 months since my last post – how neglectful of me! It’s been a pretty busy period work wise but no excuses. I’ve actually had this blog post lined up in my mind for some time but actually getting around to writing it was avoided.

At least Tivoli dressed up for Halloween
So typically around the end of October, the pumpkins appear in full force and I start to get excited for Halloween. I’m a sucker for fancy dress, especially the ghoulish kind. I know Halloween is seen as ‘Americanised’ but I’ve always enjoyed it and wish I was still at an age for trick or treating to be acceptable. Here in Denmark however, the fever of Halloween isn’t quite as strong. Decorations popped up here and there, along with some seasonal gifts in the shops and bakeries but it pretty much ends there. Back at home, we would be finding or organising a Halloween party. so on October 31st, my neighbour (also a fellow Brit) and I were left a little home-halloween sick, and resorted to pumpkin carving and watching The Nightmare Before Christmas (a must watch every year), so it turned out a good night.

Pumpkin time!

November 1st however is a much bigger date in the Danish calendar, and something I’ve never experienced before. ‘J-dag’ (or J-day) in the day that Carlsberg, the most prominent beer producer in Denmark, release their Julebryg (Chistmas beer) for the season. I first heard of it when one of the Danes from my course sent us a video, stating ‘the snow would be falling at 8pm’:

Feeling a bit baffled, I went to do some research. The video is an advert that was first released about 30 years ago? (I may be a bit wrong with the timings) but seems to have stuck as a tradition to the Danish like the Coca-cola Christmas advert in my memories. What is meant by the snow falling at 8 would be that the beer would officially go on sale in bars, clubs and shops at this time. So I thought – lets go see what the hype is all about!

The beer has arrived!

We arrived around 7.30pm and ordered a pre-‘j-dag’ beer as we waited. Then just before 8, we spotted a blue and white spotted van pass the window and we followed it with a large crowd. It stopped at a bar just around the corner from us, where this happened:

This supposedly was happening at different bars are certain times in the night. Trucks were driving around and stopping at particular bars on a route, so we were very lucky to have been at one just by chance!  Into the bar they went, handing out some free julebryg’s and Santa hats. Numbers were limited, and it was first come first serve – but with numbers quadrupling the typical size of this bars clientele, you had to fight. I succeeded in a beer (not a hat) but we celebrated our gains. We returned to the first bar for a little while, before deciding to move elsewhere when suddenly the Blue Santa’s entered the bar we were in. Here, I gained a hat and another beer, along with a flashing stick thing (a useful prop for sword-fights as we discovered later).

Free beer!
I dressed for the occasion...

The beer itself is nice, darker and slightly stronger in percentage to typcal Tuborg/Carlsberg – but also tastes sweeter than the former. Being a brand, it’s not the cheapest drink, but there are plenty of ‘knock-off’ versions in supermarkets that don’t taste too dissimilar.

All in all, a fun night. I’ve heard they also release an Easter beer too but its not celebrated in quite the same way. Since that night, blue and white decorations have been popping up (even in the airport) and I still have my Santa hat to get me feeling festive. So see you next year, J-dag!

 Byeee for now!/Vi ses!


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