Typography

A BEER is a beer is a beer…or is it? Finland has been a bit late entering the micro-brewery game, but some of the beers crafted in the country today rival the best found anywhere. Panimo restaurant and brewery, located on the island of Suomenlinna, merits recognition here. Not only does it serve up first-rate suds, but goes the distance in creating excellent dishes as well.

Housed in the old Jetty Barracks close to the main pier, Panimo’s rustic atmosphere provides a good venue for sampling some excellent in-house brewed beers. Their Piper Wit won me over right from the start with its hint of coriander and subtle orange flavours.

A BEER is a beer is a beer…or is it? Finland has been a bit late entering the micro-brewery game, but some of the beers crafted in the country today rival the best found anywhere. Panimo restaurant and brewery, located on the island of Suomenlinna, merits recognition here. Not only does it serve up first-rate suds, but goes the distance in creating excellent dishes as well.

Housed in the old Jetty Barracks close to the main pier, Panimo’s rustic atmosphere provides a good venue for sampling some excellent in-house brewed beers. Their Piper Wit won me over right from the start with its hint of coriander and subtle orange flavours. Their Spithead Bitter is a fragrant, English-style amber, reddish in colour with a strong taste of bitter hops. One of their most popular brews is the Helsinki Porter, which has won several awards at the Helsinki Beer festival. It’s a good foam-top fermented beer with a toasted aroma and a bit of liquorice. Having trouble deciding what to order? Try their tasting tray featuring four of the season’s beers. The restaurant offers four of the brewery’s seven house beers at any one time. If beer is not exactly your thing, then opt for their Vieno Cider, an unfiltered in-house brewed Real Cider made from domestic apples.

Once you have your beverages covered then have a look at their impressive menu. Forget about traditional pub fare, Panimo is on the verge of a gourmet restaurant without all the trappings of stuffiness. The menu is influenced by Scandinavian and Russian traditions, fused with a continental, classic kitchen. The establishment recently changed ownership and new owners Laura and Sami Hiltunen are adding to the already high standard of their cuisine. The restaurant offers such specialities as roasted whitefish and crab (€26.50), brewer peppered reindeer (€32.50), and asparagus risotto (€16.00). They strive to use seasonal ingredients so the menu changes regularly. Their starters and desserts are particularly something to write home about with their sherry-foam forest mushroom soup being among the best wild mushroom dishes I have ever tasted. In addition to the above classic local ingredients, Finnish flavours are also well represented in desserts, with their tar-flavoured crème brûlée among the scrumptious choices.

Panimo
Suomenlinna Jetty Barracks
Tel 09 228 50 30
Mon-Sat 12:00-22:00
Sun 12:00-18:00
www.panimo.com

The restaurant is open year round and they have a separate cabinet that can be reserved for private events. The vaulted rooms of the fortress structure, dating from 1870, do make for a cosy environment during the winter, but one of the most popular features of the restaurant is their summer terrace. Visiting Suomenlinna during the summertime is already on the agendas of many tourists and residents, and so it is no surprise that on a warm, sunny day, Panimo’s beer garden is a magnet for visitors.

It makes sense that one of Finland’s best breweries is located on Suomenlinna. After all, beer has been a part of the island’s history from the very beginning, with many of the early soldiers and fortress builders being paid partially in beer rations, as the malted beverage was considered a vital part of the diet during the 1700s. In fact, it was Suomenlinna where the first beer barrels arrived in Helsinki. No doubt the taste of the beer has improved dramatically since then but the tradition of enjoying a pint or two remains the same. Cheers to that!

Text and photos by Robin DeWan

Based on an interview by Alisa Nirman on 3.10.2016

Interview

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