The first time Tempel Brygghus cropped up on my radar was when I somehow stumbled across their Entombed-esque logo online and just thought “this is the kind of brewery for me!” The more I read up on them, the better it got, based in Uppsala in Sweden (Uppsala Metal of Death!) and firmly focussed on sour beer, I’d made my mind up before I could even get my hands on a beer.
Flash forward to last years CAMRA festival in Manchester, I had a flick through the beer list and couldn’t believe my eyes to see one of their beers, this esoteric Swedish sour stout, tucked away in the bottle bar. Still can’t quite believe it the more I think about it.
Tempel produce beer on par with the likes of Somerset’s Wild Beer Co, who aptly they’ve done a collab with in The Enigmatic King Vasa, and Denver’s TRVE who specialise in small batch, mixed fermentation beer with an extreme metal image. I’ve been keen to know more about them for a while so I reached out to main man Arvid Landgren to find out about how they got into brewing sours, craft beer in Uppsala and of course, extreme metal!
“In the early days we made sour beers to a market that didn’t know what sour beer was”
How did Tempel Brygghus get started?
Arvid: I started the brewery back in 2014 for several reasons, in short: the stars were aligned. I was working as a consultant (in grain farming, specialising in barley) and worked at a pretty boring place but liked my job, and had to switch employer. At the same time I got in contact with a startup brewery in my town and we came to the deal that since they only wanted to work weekends and nights I could take the “working” hours. So I quit my job and started brewing, and after a year or so I brewed the absolute majority of the beer in the brewery and felt I needed to build my own place.
In January 2017 we brewed the first batch in the new brew house with the freshly hired brewer Johan [Holmdahl], and since then things have been rolling forward. We are now 3 people working in the brewery and have widened our range of beers. We do a lot of one offs and collab brews, which is awesome. This summer we sold the bottling line and bought a canner instead.
Can you tell me a little about your setup? What kind of kit do you have and whereabouts do you brew?
Arvid: The new brew house is located 15 minutes outside of Uppsala, the fourth biggest town in Sweden. The kit is a direct fired electrical 10 HL system which is a bit cumbersome, but it works. 8×10 + 2×20 HL fermentors and we brew about 3 beers per week.
“Black Metal, Death, Goregrind, Crust and Drone has shaped a lot of the brewery mentality”
What first interested you in producing small batch speciality beers and sour beers in particular?
Arvid: Same as most – home brewing. Got into brewing and dived deep down and tried everything and read as much as possible, talked to a lot of home brewers and commercial brewers, visited all local breweries etc. I’m actually a pretty shitty home brewer in the aspects of brewing philosophy. Ever since the first batch I’ve always thought of how to go pro with this. After a bunch of batches I started fiddling with kettle sours. At that point, there was almost no info on the internet; A LOT of trial and error, e-mailing with home and commercial brewers and after a couple of batches the beer was acceptable. At that point almost no one in Europe was doing more than the occasional sour (outside of Belgium, of course) and I saw a business opportunity and here the story starts.
Tempel Brygghus is laced in Swedish death metal imagery, any bands in particular that inspire you when it comes to brewing?
Arvid: I have (mis)spent my youth and most of my adult life in the presence of (mainly) Black Metal, Death, Goregrind, Crust and Drone music and that has shaped a lot of the brewery mentality. In the early days we made sour beers to a market that didn’t know what sour beer was (our Untappd rating will never recover from those days, hehe). I have always liked the visuals of the metal scene and that was a short step to implement that on our labels and such. Our design guy has been with us since the start and plays in a few local bands, he’s great.
Today I listen a lot to Woven Hand, Sunn O))), Grift, Sleep, Mgla, Drudkh, Earth, Pallbearer, Ved Buens Ende, The Devil’s Blood and various metal acts without any clear connections.
“Uppsala has the same problem as a few similar cities, it’s a bit too close to major cities”
Uppsala is well known for being home to the likes of Watain, In Solitude and Degial, but what’s the beer scene like there? Are there any other Uppsala breweries we should keep an eye out for?
Arvid: The beer scene in Uppsala has the same problem as a few similar cities, it’s a bit too close to major cities (Stockholm in Uppsala’s case) to have a good scene in itself. We have a couple of really good beer bars starting up the last year or two but before that is was nothing special at all. The Swedish laws concerning alcohol makes it hard to have tap rooms etc, and all bars must have a restaurant kitchen which drives the prices up.
The more famous you probably already know about, Stigberget, Brewski, Brekeriet, O/O, Dugges etc. One brewery to keep your eyes on that’s not big yet is Apex Brewing Co, they make super solid IPAs.
What’s in the pipeline for Tempel Brygghus in 2019?
Arvid: At the moment we are growing pretty fast. So this year will probably be a stabilising year, finding the export costumers that we want to work with etc. We are doing more and more non sour beers so one or two new core beers will probably come.
Where can people reading this go to buy your beers?
Arvid: We have no exports to the US as of now, although we are open to suggestions. Beers can be found in Scandinavia, the Baltic countries, Belgium, a couple of online bottle shops and hopefully a few more countries later this year.