And a bottle of your finest Champagne landlord!

But perhaps not that one.

Friday, I left the house at 6.00am, a little late to catch the ferry to Åland so I had a white knuckle drive 3 hours through ice and snow to the terminal at Grisslehamn. I made it though, fell fast asleep for the 2 hour ferry trip and got to my soundcheck on time at the Stallhagen Brewery.  My friend Nicklas Lanz started the evening with a one man performance of Hamlet. Minus 3 and the stage and audience were outdoors on a frozen lake. I watched him from the brewery as each utterance was accompanied by a plume of steam from his mouth and the cliff behind echoed to the words of the bard.

The audience trooped back into the brewery and I played the longest sets I have ever done in my life, 24 songs, I included a lot of english folk songs as well as most of the songs from both my albums. It was a nice place. The Stallhagen microbrewery is out in the country on an island with a tiny population, nevertheless it hosts a lot of popular cultural events and, among other things, a rock festival (the stage is a large raft on the lake). The manager Christian Ekström not only brews great beer but is also a diver. He was in fact THE diver that found the wreck with all the old Champagne bottles in 2010

The bottle in the picture was the best Champagne in the house on Friday night, but at 32,000 Euros it was a little out of my price range. I asked what an 1829 bottle of Champagne tasted like? Very nice, quite flat, strong tastes of leather, apricots, citrus fruits and very very sweet he said. Surprisingly, it is probable there are plenty more where that came from with an estimated 5000 ship wrecks around Åland alone. What makes the Baltic particularly good for preserving very old drinks is that the low salinity keeps the the little creatures at bay who like to eat things like wood and corks.

I left with a selection of beers, including his recreation of a beer found in the wreck, they had a lab in Helsinki analyse the DNA sequence of the yeast, it’s a wheat and barley beer. Mmm, wonder when I will pop those? Thanks Christian.

Me, Christian and a pricey bottle of fizz.

Me, Christian and a pricey bottle of fizz.