On a cold ferry trip from Hailuoto to Oulunsalo one day, our conversation turned to beer. Not just drinking it, but making it. Even then we had a dream that someday we’d have a “real” brewery in Hailuoto. To brew beer with pure Hailuoto water and local organic malt and sell it to both islanders and people on the mainland seemed to be an inspiring idea.

At this point we knew something about consuming beer, but not so much about the process of making it. So we started getting to know the basics, which meant reading books and frequenting brewer forums online. After imbibing all the theory, we joined a friend who was an experienced home brewer and participated in one of his brews. Soon after we got our own brewing equipment and brewed our first beer, a German Bavarian Lager “ Sendlinger Helles “.

Why did we choose that as our first beer, especially when lagers are known to be a tricky pony for beginners? One obvious reason is that our team is 50% German. Having a strong cultural influence is natural. Another reason dictates that our approach follows traditional brewing culture and base the beer style on the main ingredient: the brewing water.

The difference in local water was one of the main reasons for the richness and plurality of beer culture in Middle Europe. For example, Pilsner beer was only possible to brew with the special qualities of Pilsner water. All local breweries adjusted their recipes over the years to their water and this created differences in taste and brewing styles.

Water quality is an especially crucial parameter for  beers like Lager and Pilsner and it is not easy to find this kind of water.  The water in Hailuoto is very clean and its chemical parameters make it perfect for brewing these kinds of beers. Imagine our surprise when a water analysis indicated that local water matched the demands for brewing in general and our personal beer preferences in particular. In fact the quality is pretty close to the legendary Pilsner water.

Even though making beer is nowadays a technically highly developed industrial process where all the parameters are very much controlled, there is still a good deal of mystery and magic in the whole process. All the chemical reactions while mashing and fermenting is pretty complex and the water as the main ingredient has a massive influence on the entire process and the quality of the final product.

We will boldly say that the Hailuoto water delivered what it promised and obviously we didn´t do anything wrong on our side because our first brew  was a success and we couldn´t believe how fine and tasty this beer turned out.

Soon we started to create our own recipes. One of our goals was to create a tasty beer that reflects the spirit of our island and brings out the best of Hailuoto´s water.

Even though we feel committed to traditional beer styles we are of course also interested in contemporary craft beer methods and we have added some new dimensions to traditional beers. For example, we have created a beer which is based on a nice tasty Bavarian Lager and added some special hops which have a distinct berry flavor in order to get a touch  of the berry island, Hailuoto.

We have brewed typical seasonal beers like fresh and sparkling wheat beers and sour beers  for the summertime and some stronger feast beers like Oktoberfest beer and Christmas beer for the autumn and the long dark winter evenings.

We see beer as a natural healthy food product that delivers important vitamins and has positive effects on the whole organism if imbibed in reasonable amounts. So we were never really interested in brewing very strong beers , but very good tasting organic beers where all the parameters are in nice balance.

Brewing became our passion and we received excellent feedback from the people who tasted our beer.

Almost everybody repeated one variation of a comment over and over. It boiled down to “you have to make your dream come true and get a real brewery “.

Easier said than done, but little by little things were shaping up. We got more islanders involved each of whom had different expertise, like financing, sales, planning and building.  We spent many hours visiting breweries, collecting information, engaging in discussions, searching locations, calculations, negotiations and finally we got our business concept and a roadmap for the first Hailuoto brewery together.

We also started talks with local farmers about the possibilities of a self-sufficient energy supply through biogas.

Our goal is to establish a sustainable business that produces a beverage which will reflect the pure beauty and harmony of Hailuoto´s nature; beers with character and a balanced, fine taste; beers that respect and honor the water of our island; beers that are brewed in a traditional style that follows the German “Reinheitsgebot”, using organic ingredients. People will be able to enjoy a piece of Hailuoto´s beauty and nature whenever they want by drinking a fine glass of Hailuoto beer.

Jürgen Hendlmeier and Kimmo Kaukonen