Did you know that two of Mihir’s favorite things in the world are beer and whisky? With that in mind I was looking for a day trip destination not too far from Copenhagen which would let us have a taste of both. After a little bit of research, I stumbled upon Braunstein Distillery & Brewery in the small town of Koge. After a little bit of more research I also came across Vallo Castle and decided that this was the very best way for us to spend a free Saturday. Have you seen everything else that Copenhagen has to offer? Or do you simply want to get off the tourist track? Then plan a day trip to Koge and Vallo Castle! Below we have gathered some practical information for you!
Why & When to Visit Koge
Koge is a small harbor and market town only 40 km from Copenhagen. It was first recognized as a market town in 1288 and remained an important hub for trade throughout all of the Middle Ages. Much of its medieval past can still be observed in the few remaining half-timbered houses which dot the town’s streets and allies. It’s an incredibly cute town in and by itself. In addition, Vallo Castle is only a 7 minute train ride away. Sure, you can visit Kronborg Castle, or Frederiksborg Castle. But if you want to get away from the tourist crowds and enjoy a fairy tale castle in almost complete privacy, come here instead!
Koge and Vallo Castle can be visited throughout the year. If you are planning to really enjoy the gardens at Vallo Castle, though, you may not want to come in winter. However, we strongly recommend that you visit anyway, because this place is just special!
How to Get to Koge
Koge can easily be accessed from Copenhagen by S-Train. You can board the “E” line at Copenhagen Central Station and ride it all the way until the end. You can plan your journey here. From Koge station it’s only a few steps to the historic center or even Braunstein Distillery.
How to Get to Vallo Castle
Getting to Vallo Castle is not the easiest thing, I’ll admit. But it is totally worth it! From Koge get on the Local Train (“L-Torg”) towards Rodvig. Get off at the first stop named “Vallo” and cross the tracks to the right. You then follow a seemingly endless street until you reach the castle. It’s about 1,7 km from the station to the castle and it will take you around 20 minutes on foot. Fortunately, the walk is very pleasant and not too strenuous. If you only want to take a couple of pictures, you should plan about 1 h for this (40 minutes walking back and forth + time at the castle). Be aware that trains don’t run very often (about once an hour), so this requires a little bit of planning.
We actually started our day by visiting Braunstein Distillery, but later had a little bit of time to explore Koge before we got on the train to Vallo. Koge struck us as an incredibly cute town and we had fun tracking down some of the remaining half-timbered houses. They are just too pretty! There’s also a city museum, but unfortunately we didn’t have time to take a look inside. The street Brogade is littered with tiny boutiques and cafes. We stepped into a cafe which was part of what seemed to be a flower shop. What a lovely idea!
Braunstein Distillery & Brewery
Braunstein is a micro distillery & micro brewery established in 2005. The brewery is not usually open to the public, but on the first Saturday of every month they open their doors for an open house and tasting. We arrived at 10 in the morning and were places in group number 4 which meant we still had to wait quite a bit of time. We looked around in the tasting room a bit and then finally decided to try a couple of beers. With our tickets we had received a tasting card with 5 options each.
First, we tried the Classic, the IPA and finally also the Wheat Beer. We had left the house early without breakfast and needless to say that 3 glasses of beer had us wasted. Thankfully you can buy grilled sausages on site, although I’m not sure we would have spent 60 DKK on two sausages otherwise. But alas, it saved us, because our tour was up next.
The Brewery Tour
The tours around the brewery are given by the owners themselves which we appreciated very much. Undoubtedly they have a great amount of passion and take pride in their work. We were led through the different production rooms where each production step was briefly introduced. We enjoyed seeing the machinery and taking in the smell of the raw brewing materials.
Unfortunately the tour was exclusively in Danish and we only understood about 5% of it. We were offered some quick information in English, but it left us wanting for more. We were rather disappointed in this part of our visit as nowhere on the website it was stated that tours would not at all be held in English. Also, no printed material was available in English. If you’re trying to learn a lot about the beer brewing process and don’t speak Danish, you might not enjoy this tour very much. Perhaps we’ll come back in a couple of years once we can speak a bit more, let’s see.
The Tasting Room
Although we were disappointed with the tour, we were still determined to make the most of it and went back to the tasting room. Fortunately the serving staff was more than willing to introduce us to all the beers, liqueurs, and whiskeys. Whiskeys are served in 1 cl cups and liqueurs in 2 cl. Beers are served in standard 25 cl plastic cups.
We tried one of the smoky whiskeys which was certainly too strong in flavor for me, but Mihir enjoyed it. Personally I had my eyes on the table with the liqueurs, and in particular one of the distillery’s most popular liqueurs, a beer schnapps (ølsnaps). It’s distilled from beer and stings as it goes down your throat. It wasn’t my favorite, but the bartender recommended two sweet liqueurs which both Mihir and I really enjoyed. The vanilla and the chocolate liqueurs were our favorite of the day!
As we knew that Vallo was only really accessible through Koge, we simply had to go and see it. So we hopped on the local train and rode it for one stop until we reached Vallo station. And I say station, although it is not more than a platform and a ticket machine. We crossed the tracks to the right and GoogleMaps confirmed we were on the right path. We laughed as we were walking as we had landed in the middle of nowhere. After all we were surrounded by nothing but fields with not a single soul in sight. And on we marched until we could make out the castle’s towers behind the trees.
We finally reached the castle after about 20 minutes and had a quick look around. Unfortunately the castle is not open for visitors, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. We walked around a bit and took a couple of pictures. The gardens are very inviting and we felt perhaps we would have brought a picnic!
Soon we were on our way back. Along the way we noticed a couple of daisy signs and upon our return found out that the path along which we walked is actually part of the Marguerite Route, a network covering about 3000 km all over Denmark! I think we’ll have to come back and explore it a bit more 🙂
Now, what do you think? Are you planning a day trip to Koge soon? Is there a brewery tour you have enjoyed during your travels? What’s your favorite Danish castle? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below! Let’s stay in touch!