Brewery tour of Espoo
Espoo is nowadays a versatile beer and brewery city with plenty to see and experience. You can explore micro-breweries one area at a time or even spend a whole day on a beer tour in Espoo travelling either on public transport or by bike.
Our four suggestions for a beer outing in Espoo:
1. Otaniemi – Fat Lizard Brewing and Olarin Panimo
One of Espoo’s most dynamic areas is the red-brick campus of Otaniemi with its large amphitheatre and parks which provide pleasant places to enjoys a few beers as you watch the buzzing student life around you.
The Fat Lizard Brewing Co. located there is Espoo’s first commercial brewery and was founded in 2015. The brewery produces American-style, easy-to-drink and refreshing beers.
Fat Lizard is located in the old Kattilahalli designed by Alvar Aalto, which used to house the heat production research building. The proud history of the building includes the invention of dual-flush toilets.
Fat Lizard has its own shop and a bar with a summer terrace where you can enjoy the brewery’s beers. The brewery also organises tours and tasting sessions. Just a stone’s throw away, you can also find the Fat Lizard restaurant which serves American-style food and boasts a wide variety of beers from Fat Lizard and other, mostly Finnish, micro-breweries. The restaurant also serves insects as a crispy starter snack.
Despite its name, Olarin Panimo brewery is not in Olari but next door to Fat Lizard in Otaniemi. The brewery was established in 2015 in Brewmaster Ville Leino’s garage in Olari and echoes the skateboarding and rap vibes of 1980s’ Olari. The brewery is known for its IPAs, especially its NEIPAs of which Runaway won the Best Beer in Finland award in 2021.
Olarin Panimo has its own bar, which is creatively decorated with assorted flea-market finds, and a small brewery shop. The bar’s terrace attracts Espoo locals as well as visitors from as far as east Helsinki on the metro. You can often spot Edu Kehäkettunen on the terrace playing his records, and on summer evenings, the spirits are high.
2. Keran Hallit - Tired Uncle Brewing Co., Masis Brewery and 8-Bit Brewery
Keran Hallit event hall is home to a relatively new brewery scene with as many as three Finnish micro-breweries: Masis Brewery, 8-Bit Brewing and Tired Uncle Brewing Co., which has opened its own taproom too. Keran Hallit is also a good spot to take a coffee break and to enjoy art, in addition to beer, of course.
8-Bit Brewery, originally from Pitäjänmäki, is a gaming-themed micro-brewery established in 2016, and the names of the brewery itself, its beers and their labels are all based on the brewery founder’s passion for video and computer games. The beers are American style and approachable and, thus, perfect for enjoying on terraces and whilst gaming. You access the brewery through the courtyard of Keran Hallit.
Masis Brewery is an Espoo-based brewery which opened at Keran Hallit in summer 2021. The brewery got its name from the late “brewmaster” Masi the dog, which is also featured in the brewery’s logo. Masis’ beers are modern interpretations of IPAs and the currently very trendy sours. The Masis shop, where you can buy beers to take away, is in connection to the brewery. You access the brewery shop through the courtyard of Keran Hallit.
The name of Tired Uncle Brewing is older than the brewery itself; it is a name coined in 1998 for a group of friends. The brewery opened in 2018 and found its home in Kera a year later. The brewery is known for its cloudy NEIPA-style beers whose names are also largely based on the family theme. You can also buy beer to take away from the brewery shop.
Tired Uncle Taproom, whose more than a dozen taps include beers from all three breweries at Keran Hallit, is also located in the building. The restaurant serves pub grub to enjoy with your beer.
3. Bemböle - Salama Brewing
Salama Brewing close to Espoo Ikea is known for its flavoursome beers and its distinctive, metallic and psychedelic labels. Salama is a firm favourite among beer enthusiasts, and the brewery often produces interesting new creations with imaginative flavours. The brewery is located slightly off the beaten track, so it is a good idea to check the shop’s opening hours before making your way there.
4. Kivenlahti - Espoon Oma Panimo
The beers of Espoon Oma Panimo brewery are local down to their names as the majority of the brewery’s products are named after different Espoo districts. The brewery wants to be part of the Espoo scene and as local as possible. The brewery, located in Kivenlahti, has its own shop where you can buy Westend as well as Kauklahti beers among others.
Text: Anikó Lehtinen
Food and Beverage Journalist, Beer Specialist, Presenter
Photo: Antti Rastivo