Thursday 11th June 2009
The name of this brew pub is "School" and it was built for that purpose in 1889. Externally and internally it is a very beautiful building in the classical style. Originally it was constructed to provide education for girls from the Swedish speaking population of Turku or Åbo, as it is known in that language. It name and function changed over the years, but it remained as a school up to its closure.
It reopened as a brewery-pub-restaurant in 1997 and is said to be the largest of its kind in Finland. It is certainly impressive as you enter and look up the wide stairs to the upper floor. The bar is on the right with the beer storage tanks above. There are a number of rooms, mostly former classrooms and the main room is to the left of the entrance; this was the assembly hall.
The brewery produces around 170,000 litres per annum and the beers take the titles of the various functions in a school and when Linda and myself visited they were as follows:
Maisteri (5.5%) (Master of Arts) is a dark lager made with Pilsener, Münchner and Dark Caramel malts along with Northern Brewer and Hallertau Tradition hops.
Lehtori (4.7%) (Lecturer) is a light unfiltered lager which uses the same malts as Maisteri but with Saaz and Northern Brewer hops.
Reksi (7.2%) (Head Master) is a massive unfiltered light Bock which is brewed with Pilsener and Caramel malts with the addition of Hallertau Tradition and Northern Brewer hops.
Ope (4.7%) (Teacher) is a filtered pale lager. As it is the same strength as Lehtori it may be a filtered version of that beer.
We tried them all with only a small glass of the Reksi, for obvious reasons! Naturally this was a very intense beer, too sweet for my palate, but well crafted nevertheless. The others we thought were all good without being exceptional in any way. The beers are all made according to the Rheinheitsgebot pure beer law and utilise German hops. We were told that they brew up to twelve seasonal beers each year but are not sure whether one of the four we had was a special or not.
All in all, this is a great pub to visit and it is highly regarded for its cuisine.
Koulu, Eerinkatu 18, Turku 20100
Open Monday to Sunday 11.00-02.00
Turku is well served by rail with an hourly express train service to Helsinki taking around two hours. There is also a line to Tampere, for connections to the north of the country, with a more infrequent service. Turku is also connected to Stockholm in Sweden by ferry, serving the Åland islands en route.