Today's beer comes to us all the way from Teerenpeli Breweries in Lahti, Finland. I love Finland, and not just because I like so many bands from there (Sonata Arctica, Turisas, Nightwish, Stratovarius, et al), although, yeah, that is probably a big part of it. Finland strikes me as a place that, like Canada sometimes, has learned to make do with less, all while living in the shadow of a larger culture. It's a scenic place with a rich history, and one of the most unbelievable war heroes of all time.
So does this beer, listed as an extra special bitter on the label, represent something novel or distinctly Finnish? Not really, no. It's a perfectly drinkable session ale (described on BeerAdvocate as an English Pale Ale), that pours a clear gold colour, with only the barest of heads that swiftly dissipates. The smell is not particularly fresh, more grainy than anything else.
The bitterness is all intentional, and in the taste, rather than the aftertaste; the kind of mild, almost nutty bitterness that makes you consider another beer...but maybe not this one. I tend to prefer darker ales in the first place, so it may be that ESBs just aren't my cuppa, as it were.
Not so much disappointing as pedestrian, I wouldn't mind trying Hippaheikki on tap, but hey, every calendar has to have a few to round out the field, and trying a beer from Northern Europe is a wonderful opportunity.