Now that Carlsberg is brewed elsewhere, the old Carlsberg Brewery at the far edge of Vesterbro district in Copenhagen is rapidly becoming one of the city's most fascinating urban regeneration projects. Photograph unique turn-of-the-century architecture, learn about one of Copenhagen's most generous benefactors of the arts, wander into independent art galleries, embark on a brewery tour and tasting, enjoy the company of the old dray horses or simply relax in the brewer's private garden. Carlsberg Brewery is definitely worth a half-day visit. The dray horses of the Brewery stables are one of the most popular attractions on the tour — Photo courtesy of Carlsberg Copenhagen
There are three entrances to the Carlsberg Brewery: the west entrance - at the junction of Valby Langgade and Ny Carlsberg Vej - or the east entrances - from either Vesterfælledvej or Ny Carlsberg Vej. Take bus numbers 18 or 26 or the S-toget to Valby Station (a 15-minute walk) for the west entrance, or stop at Enghave Station for the Vesterfælledvej entrance.
While it's possible to walk around the Carlsberg Byen at all times, the Carlsberg Visitor's Centre is open from Tuesday to Sunday only, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last ticket being sold 30 minutes before closing. Visitors should set aside around 1.5 hours for a self-guided tour, which includes two beers or soft drinks in the ticket price.
About the tour
The self-guided brewery tour offered by the Carlsberg Visitor's Centre takes place within the buildings of the original brewery, which was founded in 1847. Across 10,000 m2, the tour starts at the entrance, where you can purchase tickets as well as browse in the brand store or use the restrooms. Other stops include the world's largest collection of unopened beer bottles, the old grain store from the mid-nineteenth century, and the stables.
Although it's up to you how you plan your route, the typical end to the tour is at the Jacobsen Brewhouse and Bar, where a tasting is included from the modern Jacobsen brewery. The Carlsberg Visitor's Centre is home to the world's largest collection of unopened beer bottles — Photo courtesy of Carlsberg Copenhagen
Where to eat
You can enjoy Nordic-inspired lunches and snacks at the Jacobsen Brewhouse or both lunch and evening menus in Cafe Elefanten, in the foyer of DANSEHallerne (the vast complex for contemporary dance on Pasteursvej).
There are two parks in Carlsberg Byen: the ordered, English-style J.C. Jacobsen's Garden next to the Carlsberg Academy and the Sculpture Garden. The Garden is included on the tour and features the smaller sister of the world famous Little Mermaid statue.
For older children, meanwhile, there's plenty to interest them in the new skate park and basketball court, "Boble Plads," which has an adjacent climbing area. During summer, this area also includes a city beach hangout with deckchairs, bar and music at Urban Beach.
The Carlsberg complex includes some of the most fascinating architecture in Copenhagen, including the Dipylon Gate, the imposing Elephant Gate entrance, the Light House and the Winding Chimney. The architect Vilhelm Dahlerup - who also designed the Statens Museum for Kunst and the Hotel D'Angleterre - was the principal architect of the Brewery buildings. They date from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Other cultural attractions include the changing exhibitions at The Fotografisk Center in the old bottling plant Tap E on Pasteursvej as well as Galleri Nikolaj Wallner at Ny Carlsbergvej 68.
Want to know more about Carlsberg's connection to the arts? Both J.C. Jacobsen and his son Carl (who opened the Ny Carlsberg Brewery in 1882) were keen patrons of the arts. Carl Jacobsen was founder of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptoteket, which opened in 1897. He also donated the Little Mermaid statue to Copenhagen in 1913.