It’s cold, but the beer is perfect. Craftsmanship in Software Testing

Imagine the scene. It’s cold. Very cold. Freezing in fact. It’s dark and I’m in a foreign country. But the weather is perfect. It’s Denmark and I’m in Copenhagen and the weather is just like I expect. It’s perfect for the time and place.


As I wander the streets of Copenhagen, with its glittery lights of Tivoli gardens and the huge signs that adorn many of the buildings and miles of dug-up roads, I feel a sense of trepidation as I keep checking my phones Sat Nav. I’m on my way to meet Rob Lugton; fellow tester, spirited tester, Australian and a man of impeccable taste.


I’m heading for Mikkeller bar on Rob’s recommendation,(, but I’m lost. The snow starts coming down hard and my Sat Nav is going nuts. But Rob finds me wandering the last.



So we enter the bar. It’s minimalist and trendy. Everyone looks so smart; bohemian even. There’s a real sense of design, care and attention. It’s a bar where the owners know your surrounding matter. That’s obvious.


The bar itself is tiny. Me and Rob, the two foreigners, are surveying our surroundings. There’s a board on the wall with 15 squares on it, each one containing the name of the beer and two prices. One for a small. One for a large.


Under the board are 15 generic, but elegant, beer taps. No names. No boards. No signage. Just 15 elegant taps. Most likely relating to each of the 15 beers on the board.


There’s not much information to go on. Our Danish is not good, but we both opt for the same beer.


The barman gives off the appearance of a biker. He’s stocky, small, bearded but friendly. We order the large beer and wait.


The barman suggests it might take some time. We look around…it’s not that busy….he takes payment. We stand for a while longer. He pours one beer. The froth taking up about two thirds of the glass. Maybe that’s why it takes time. It needs time to settle.


We stand and watch. The barman takes another glass and does the same. There’s our two beers. But then the barman takes two more glasses and does the same. He proceeds to pour two more. 6 in total. Wait. No. Two more. 8 in total. I only ordered 2.


He suggests we take a seat. Things are getting interesting.


Me and Rob observe from our lofty perches. The barman lines up all 8 drinks and, after leaving them time to settle, starts to spoon out the froth, leaving just the liquid. He does this for all 8. A process he does not rush. He is focussed. Concentrating. He’s a master craftsman. It takes time. It’s engaging to watch. This is a show.


All 8 done, he then pours 4 in to one glass. Beer number 1 done. The final four. That’s beer number 2. This really is something special. He finishes them off with a quick drop from the beer tab. He smoothes the froth from the top and delivers them to our table.


We are scared to pick them up. This is a work of art. We thank him. We take a sip.




It was the finest beer I have ever tasted. It was incredible. No chemical taste. No unpleasant after taste. No generic fizzy “brewed in X” here. It’s home brewed. It’s created with care. It’s delivered with care. It’s in an environment that cares. It’s a beer the Barman and the Brewer can be proud of. It’s an experience and a great one at that.


This is craftsmanship at its best. Care, attention, passion for the job, delivering value and joy to the customer; all packaged and delivered in an environment that both the customer and deliverer of goods can thrive in and be proud of.


Craftsmanship is making a welcome return (or is it new?) to software development and testing. That was evident at the EuroSTAR 2010 conference <– the reason I’m in Copenhagen.


Weekend testing, weeknight testing, coding Dojos, local user groups, testing communities and many new companies dedicated to bringing the care and craftsmanship back to delivering software are the rays of hope for the future. Things done well. Done the right way. Done with care. Done to delight the customer.


Why can’t all software be created and delivered in this way?  After all, anything less than craftsmanship is..well…is it simply not good enough?


Image from Brostad

One thought to “It’s cold, but the beer is perfect. Craftsmanship in Software Testing”

  1. Must thank @teemuvesala for suggesting Mikkeller on the Software Testing Club Forums in the first place 🙂

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