Kalja – Traditional Finnish Small Beer

Kalja – Traditional Finnish Small Beer

In the past people used to drink a lot low alcohol beers. These small beers were consumed by pints as part of the daily diet. Fermentation was just a preservation method with hardly any intoxicating effects.

Very little is written about these small beers, perhaps because of their ordinary humdrum nature. However, from the perspective of beer history small beers are extremely interesting. In some areas, such as eastern Finland, domestic small beers have been brewed relatively recently in a very archaic manner, resembling surprisingly the beers of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

Finnish small beers are no longer made in the most traditional way, but luckily the ethnographers documented fairly well the old brewing methods. My latest story Small Beer Called Kalja is an overview to what I have found from ethnographical texts so far. This is just a first scratch on a very complex surface.

The header photo is taken from my first attempt to brew ancient kalja. I will return to this topic when I have more brewing experiments under my belt.

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