The archipelago for thirsty travellers
We’re sure you’ve heard that the archipelago is filled with incredible restaurants, but what about more liquid kinds of refreshments? Well, in fact, the archipelago is home to some fascinating breweries, vineyards, cideries, and farm shops. Fancy tasting a locally produced IPA by the sea, a fresh cider in the shade of an apple tree, or a glass of wine on a bright summer’s day? This article will introduce you to some liquid gems, which you won’t find on the shelves at your local store or even at Alko, Finland’s national alcohol outlet. So, if you’re thirsty and over 18, get going on this tasty tour! And, of course, remember to take a designated driver along if you’re travelling by car!
A taste of craft beer
Turku has a great selection of craft breweries. On the infamous Kakolanmäki Hill, for example, you’ll find the laid-back Kakola Brewing Company. Head to the KBC Taproom and try the ‘Funi’, which was named in honour of the funicular; it’s an elegant dry-hopped ale with a fresh taste. You can also grab a slice of New York-style pizza while you’re there. If you want to pick up something to take home, make sure to stop by the Minibar & Shop.
Close to the Turku Market Square lies Koulu, one of the largest brewery restaurants in Finland. The beer here is still brewed in accordance with the Reinheitsegebot, a 1516 German law which decreed that only four ingredients should be used in the production process: water, malt, hops, and yeast. As well as beer, Koulu offers ciders, wines, and high-quality whiskies. Come summertime, you can enjoy your local brew in the courtyard.
As you head deeper into the archipelago, you’ll come across some creations inspired by the sea. Rousal Brygghus, which is found on the island of Rosala, prepares unfiltered and unpasteurised beers on a small scale, but with a big heart and only the best ingredients. Their products shine with craftsmanship and creativity, drawing on the surrounding landscape; the head on the Rousal Ale, for example, looks like a foamy sea. During the summer months, you can pair your beer with some treats from the nearby smokehouse. Rousal Brygghus is a paradise for beer-lovers in an awe-inspiring setting.
Found on Kimitoön, Kimito Brewing is a welcoming family-owned brewery, where you’ll find a variety of beers to suit every palate. Why not try the Imperial Stout, for example, which is inspired by maitokahvi (coffee with milk)? If you’re looking for a more Belgian-inspired beer, order a pint of 300 Triple; the balance of flavours will delight your tongue. Once you’ve nailed down your favourite, you can pick up some more to take home.
Apple-flavoured ciders, liquors, and more
If you fancy sweeter, apple-flavoured drinks, make your way to Pargas. Here, your first stop should be Bornemanns. It’s a small, family-owned business, which makes cold-pressed juice, lemonade, and alcohol-free bubbles from delicious apples grown in the archipelago. Of course, Bornemanns also makes cider, which is handmade in an old-fashioned way. Make sure you taste the fresh apple-ginger juice, which has no added sugars or preservatives. You can order more from the farm shop, and you can also take part in a tasting, which includes a tour of the brewery and juice factory.
From here, head to Tammiluodon Viinitila, which prepares apple wine, sparkling wine, ciders, and apple liquors from ingredients grown onsite. Try the apple cider while you’re here; it’s fresh and dry and gets its unique aroma from apples ripened in the sea air. As well as its own products, the farm shop here sells locally produced beer and other treats.
Close to Tammiluodon Viinitila is Nude Cider. This cidery has earned the Aito certificate, which means it prepares its products in a traditional way, making the most of fresh Finnish apples. And it’s fair to say that the cider does taste like a tart Finnish apple with a splash of bubbles. When you close your eyes, you can imagine that you’re relaxing on a pier on a summer’s evening, surrounded by the scent of flower-filled meadows. You can visit Nude Cider on Saturdays during July, but if you’re passing at another time, their products are also available at Tammiluodon Viinitila.
The archipelago for wine lovers
Even though grape vines don’t necessarily thrive in this far northern part of the world, you can still try some great wines in the archipelago. Pop by L’Escale in Nagu, which has an intriguing selection of French wines. The list includes specialties like Chateau Margaux wines from the 1900s. Don’t forget to try the French-inspired menu as well!
Archipelago Hotel Vaihela is found in sunny Naantali. The restaurant is home to a staggering 4000-bottle-strong wine cellar, where the bricks are more than 100 years old. Wines were once sought from France, but the collection nowadays includes red and white wines from all around the world. Give your taste buds an experience in the atmospheric cellar: can you work out which wines are more oaky, and which have stronger fruit flavours?
Back in Turku, you can put your feet up at Zaké Pizzeria & Wine Bar at Ruissalo Boatyard. Here you can find a whopping eight shelves of quality wines from Mediterranean countries. Make sure to stop by the terrace on Mondays in summertime to try different types of champagne. Did you know that the restaurant got its name from Zaké West, who was the chief designer at the Turku boatyard which later paved the way for the Ruissalo Boatyard? Come and enjoy a glass of something sparkling in this unique setting.