After a good hot sauna many Finns enjoy a type of simple home made beer called "kallia" [ I have also seen it spelled "kullia and "kalja", and can't honestly say which is correct or precisely what it means].

I remember tasting it a few times when I was a kid, but we never made it at home. We always had "sima", which is a slightly fermented lemonade made with brown sugar, and yeast for "fizz", and probably considered more appropriate for kids. I always had the impression that kallia was an adult beverage, i.e. "strong".

I couldn't find a recipe on line - at least not in English - but my mom found one in a book called Fantastically Finnish Recipes and Traditions (Penfield Press, Iowa City), Beatrice Ojakangas recipe editor. I can't vouch for it, having never tried it and with only the dimmest of childhood memories to compare it to in any case, but it looks about right.

They say to mix 1 cup each of rye malt and sugar in a pail. That's right, a pail. Then pour in 5 quarts of boiling water. Let the mixture cool to ca. 110 degrees F, then add 1 teaspoon of dry yeast. Cover it (they suggest plastic wrap, although that sounds a bit modern to me) and ferment at room temperature overnight. The next day it's ready to strain, then chill before serving.

Like I said, it's only a dim memory, but I do remember liking it a lot more than sima the few times I was allowed to try it. My guess is that they let it sit longer than overnight.

Arthur Jarvinen

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