#336-339 Mikkeller Single Hop Series

Mikkeller Single Hop Series (various)
Brewery: Mikkeller (Denmark, Copenhangen)
Style: American IPA
ABV: 6.9%
Source: The Beer Cellar

First up, apologies if this blog post looks completely bizarro to you. I spent a lot of time placing the photos just so, meanwhile creating an HTML nightmare and a post that probably looks like it was published by Picasso in any other browser. 

All up there are about 19 beers in the Mikkeller single hop series, each showcasing – as you might have guessed – a different hop variety on its own. The recipe is exactly the same across each of the beers, which means that any differences any flavour, aroma and bitterness are all down to the ol’ humulus lupulus.

Don’t fret, I’m not going to write about all 19 beers because a) I didn’t have
them and b) how tedious would that be, but I will smoosh the four I did try into this one, easy-to-swallow post:

1. Chinook (USA)
Fantastic aroma with loads of grapefruit marmalade and burnt toffee. In the mouth my instant association was with a sherry – dry, alcoholic and perfumey, with a little sweet caramel malt that balanced a herbaceous bitter finish.

2. East Kent Goldings (England)
Citrus, caramel and flowers on the nose, smooth and well-rounded in the mouth. Not quite as sharp or exciting flavour-wise as yesterday’s Chinook, but I like that it’s less bitter. I could drink a lot of this.

3. Centennial (USA)
Flowery, herbal aroma – almost medicinal – as well as a little grapefruit sweet caramel. In the mouth it was quite malty and sweet, with more grapefruit and flowery notes, leading to a dry bitter finish. Interesting hop I reckon, and not just another version of cascade, which I was expecting.

4. Simcoe (USA)
This one had a lovely aroma – lots of citrus (orange and lemon), passionfruit, and something a bit exotic/perfumey. Lots of juicy ripe fruit in the mouth, well-balanced with a soft caramel malt underlay. The finish was piney, bitter and long.

It’s a bit hard to pick  favorite as I didn’t drink them side by side, but I reckon the EKG is probably the one I’d most like to go back to. I loved those gentle, flowery English hops, and I like that the finish didn’t wring out my tongue to dry.

Does this prevalence for softness mean I’m getting old and boring?  Will I be harping on about the label font being too small next? I am writing this in bed with a hot water and a cup of tea, so the answer is undoubtedly yes.

Published in: on July 22, 2012 at 2:42 pm  Comments (1)  

#252 Mikkeller – Black

Alice Galletly with Mikkeller Black Name: Black
Brewery: Mikkeller (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 17.5%
Source: Hashigo Zake

Everybody! It’s my birthday!

At least, it was seven days ago when I drank this beer, but lets just pretend I’m not the world’s worst blogger and a week behind on posting and that I drank it today. Happy Birthday to me!

Sigh. I wish it was still my birthday, if it was I’d be sitting in my Langham Hotel Suite (hot tip: journalists get a free voucher for joining their Press Club) and sipping the kind of beer I have wild fantasies about when I should be doing things like blogging.

Let’s go back a little further though, to the day before my birthday. I woke up in the morning and realised I hadn’t  organized anything special for my birthday beer, which was like waking up and realizing my bed was on fire: cause for serious alarm.

I hastily Tweeted my distress, asking followers where I could find special beer at short notice in Auckland. The answer that came back? Get it sent up from Wellington.

On the morning of my birthday a little care package arrived from Hashigo Zake, containing four beers that they had picked. The Mikkeller Black, one third of the Black Tokyo* Horizon collab I blogged a while back, was the obvious one to drink. At 17.5% it wasn’t just a beer, it was a super-beer, the kind of beer that says “Look out world, I’m 26-years-old today and I’m not afraid to get wasted.”

Everyone in the roam went “Woah” as I poured the thick black liquid into the glasses, partly because of the beer, partly because they were impressed with the bottle-opening iPhone case* I had used to open it.

The nose was heavy with espresso, chocolate, molasses, wet wood, and soy sauce. In the mouth those flavours came through with much more bitterness than I was expecting, with burnt malt flavours dominating the sweeter notes of raisins and cherries. The finish was sharp, and the bitter coffee aftertaste sat on my tongue forever, refusing to budge until I intervened with creamy blue cheese (an excellent match it turned out).  A warm heat as it left the mouth hinted at the ABV, but there was no raw alcohol burn and it was surprisingly smooth. That said, the intensity of the flavour meant there was no danger of quaffing it.

You wouldn’t drink this beer every day, much like you wouldn’t have your birthday every day (unless you could convince everyone around you to keep buying you presents and taking you out to dinner, in which case you obviously would), but it was just the kind of outrageous, indulgent treat I was looking for. Trust Hashigo Zake to come through with the goods!

*I realise this looks like weird product placement, but I don’t think it is because they didn’t pay me – in fact I have twice now been bought the Openacase as a gift. It makes my phone weigh a million tones but it makes me totally popular at utensil-light parties. (I presume). 

Published in: on April 25, 2012 at 12:26 pm  Comments (1)  

#238 Mikeller – Mielcke & Hurtigkarl

Mikeller - Mielcke & HurtigkarlName: Mielcke & Hurtikarl
Brewery: Mikkeller
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
ABV: 8.7%
Source:  Shiggy from Hashigo

On Tuesday night I went to Galbraiths to taste some beers with Ian the head brewer, Dave the manager, and Shiggy – who works at Hashigo Zake in Wellington and had bought a few beers up to taste. Ian spent a lot of time trying to convince me to break the rules of my blog so that I could post about all the beers, but I insisted that my weird self-imposed rules were set in stone (I think this exasperated him).

I chose this one to write about because the chance of me having it again before the blog ends are pretty much nil. Also because it’s one of the most goddamn beautiful beers I’ve ever tasted.

This beer was brewed especially for a Mikkeller and Three Floyds dinner at a restaurant named Mielcke & Hurtigkarl (try and pronounce it, I dare you!) in Copenhagen. It was aged in Château d’Yquem barrels,  Château d’Yquem being the world’s most famous (and probably the most expensive, too) dessert wine.

This might sound like being fancy for the sake of it (like edible gold – wtf?), but I can tell you that the resulting beer was out-of-this-world delicious. I’m going to find it hard to decribe because it seemed to be so many contrasting things – full of flavour but subtle, boozy but delicate. It was just so… so damn elegant.

If it were a food, it might be liqueur-soaked peaches with freshly whipped cream. There were definite stone fruit flavours -peaches, apricots, mangoes too, as well as floral notes and a little lemony tartness. The mouthfeel was excellent – creamy yet dry like champagne. I felt instantly pissed after having one sip (granted this was the fourth strong beer we tasted), but the alcohol wasn’t that obvious in the taste. It was – and I don’t say this lightly – my idea of a perfect beer.

Thanks so much to Shiggy, Ian and Dave for sharing with me, and apologies again for spilling that other Mikeller beer all over the table. I’m just bloody glad it wasn’t this one.

Published in: on April 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm  Leave a Comment