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Archive for the ‘Country: Denmark’ Category

Mikkeller Single Hop IPAs

May 26th, 2010 by Aaron Goldfarb | 6 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Mikkeller, Country: Denmark, Style: IPA

As someone who doesn’t homebrew, I thought ingesting all of Mikkeller’s single hop IPAs in one sitting would make for a nice crash course in beer education for the price of a night at the bar (and perhaps bail money.)  For those unaware, the Danish brewer Mikkeller–I keep wrongly thinking I need to put an umlaut or one of those O’s with a diagonal line through it whenever I write their name–decided to release a series of IPAs built with the exact same recipe only altering the one single hop they use.  Now most IPAs are created using various different hops for bittering, aroma, and taste and rare is it to try an IPA made with one simple hop.

A completest, of course I had to try all nine available at Rattle ‘n’ Hum during Mikkeller week, and I surprised the bartendress upon placing my order*.  “You wanna order nine beers?  All for yourself?!”

She actually CUT ME OFF.

Before I’d ordered a single beer.

Before I’d even had a sip of alcohol for the day, so preposterous was my order she thought.

Eventually I laid on the Goldfarb charm and got my nine bitter ducks lined up in a row.  Now I didn’t expect most if any of these beers to be masterpieces, I was more looking to enjoy them side by side as experimental curios.  But, quite frankly, they all were pretty good and I gave them all fairly respectable scores.  It’s pointless for me to throw out your standard adjective descriptors for each of the nine, all between 6.9 and 7% ABV, so instead I’ll simply note that Nelson Sauvin was far and away the best of the lot, and no surprise I suppose being that Alpine Nelson, another IPA made solely with Nelson hops is maybe the best IPA in the world.  Simcoe and Warrior I would also add as the other two beers that could be simply enjoyed as “great beers” and not just “pretty good beers for what they are.”  I’d drink the three aforementioned any time, any place.  Meanwhile, Cascade and Centennial were each clearly the worst, quite a surprise considering those are perhaps the two most “famous” hops varietals.

My rankings:

1.  Nelson Sauvin (A-)

2.  Simcoe (A-)

3.  Warrior (A-)

4.  Chinook (B+)

5.  Tomahawk (B+)

6.  Stateside (B+)

7.  East Kent Golding (B)

8.  Cascade (B-)

9.  Centennial (B-)

*There are currently 10 available and Rattle ‘n’ Hum only lacked Nugget for some reason.  Mikkeller is soon to release 5 more single hops, plus an even more intriguing yeasts series.

Mikkeller Beer Geeks

November 4th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 4 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Mikkeller, Country: Denmark, Grade: A regular, Grade: A-/B+, Style: Stout

10.9% ABV bottled

On Geekiness

Now it makes perfect sense to me how the world of comic books and sci-fi and computer games can attract geeks.  Of course they attract geeks.  Geeks are stereotyped as overweight undersexed obsessive loner nerds.  Why wouldn’t they commit their free time to fantasy worlds better than their own?  To worlds where nerds just like them can get bitten by a radioactive spider and are all of the sudden the coolest pajamas-wearing dude in all of the five boroughs.  Where innately knowing how to wield a lightsaber gets your hot sister to want to make out with you just to make Harrison Ford jealous.  Where being a shut-in who is really good at video games affords you the opportunity to play Super Mario Bros. 3 in front of adoring fans.   Geekiness makes sense among fantasy world devotees.  These people aren’t geeks because they follow fantasy.  They follow fantasy worlds because they are geeks.

Then what about sports?  Sports, at first glance, would seem surely less a bastion of geekiness.  I mean, aren’t jocks the ones usually picking on geeks since the beginning of time?  And, any how, everyone likes sports.  And most people played them at one point in their life too.  So how does geekiness infest the sports world?  I would argue here it’s an aspirational thing.  A fantasy world that is actually feasible for real humans to achieve so long as they practice hard and take lots of PEDs.  Sports also attracts nerds because it allows them to implement their honors math skills in a real world setting.

Now, I don’t think most people could possibly understand how beer could be geeky.  I’ve been a beer connoisseur of varying degrees for at least a half decade and I didn’t even fully understand the magnitude of beer geekiness until recently.  I mean, beer is so cool, right?  Beer is what the “bad” kids in school drank under the bleachers while the rest of us were cheering at pep rallies.  Beer is what we fed to girls in college to get them to sleep with us.  And have you seen beer commercials?  Uh, does that look like a geeky time?  Shirtless hunks and gummy-bear-implanted women and a lot of “woohoo-ing” and Spuds McKenzie!  No fucking way is that anything but the antithesis of geekiness.

But, sorry to say, beer culture is just as geeky as Star Trek or comic books or LARPing or baseball card collecting.  Go to any beer tasting or convention or special release party or event where a legendary brewmaster is set to appear and you will be slack-jawed at the geekitude.  The air will be permeated with the stench of dork.  (It smells kinda like inappropriate sweating and unfounded pretentiousness.)  Oh man, could you imagine if craft breweries had commercials depicting the true world of craft beer?  It would’t be hunks and sluts and party animals and Wassssuppping and Clydesdales.  No sir, an accurate craft beer commercial would depict a sausage party with a paucity of pussy and guys with pubic-like beards in too tight of brewery t-shirts proudly wielding their own personal tasting glasses like Minnesota Fats brandished his prize cue while debating the difference between storing their cellared bottles upright or sideways and waiting for Sam Calgione to arrive so they could pester him with arcane questions about yeast strains.  Par-tay!!!!!)

Thinking about how such a seemingly cool thing like beer drinking could have as great a geek quotient as a Half-Life party got me thinking.  Are there geeks in other aspects of life?  Perhaps in all aspects of life?  Are there geeks even in what would seemingly be the most super-cool niches of this world?!

Rock ‘n’ Roll

With drug-addled, chain-smokin’ long-haired men on strobe-lighted stages singing symphonies to the devil while gyrating the armadillos in their trousers in overt sexual manners, rock music has long attracted a committed following from two specific groups.  Reprehensible sluts is one, obviously.  But scratch the surface just a bit and you see that rock also attracts massive geeks.  For whatever reason, gross Matt Pinfield/Lester Bangs/Cameron Crowe types have long loved obsessing over men that are much cooler than them and the minutiae of the music these men create in the spare ten minute refractory periods in between their groupie fivesomes.  Like beer geekdom, a “High Fidelity” like obsession with rock music also involves a lot of hanging out with men men glorious men.  Perhaps the reason John Norris is such a big rock ‘n’ roll geek, come to think about it.

Drugs

Surely there must be hard-core drug geeks that take their love for illegal narcotics to the same highly-critical extremes that we do.  There’s got to be a Coke Advocate website somewhere.  “The pour of my Bolivian Marching Powder from my two gram Ziploc baggy onto my West Elm mirrored coffee table cascaded out in a luxurious white stream akin to Niagara Falls in December…”  There must be a RateMeth too.  “The symetrical crystals had a nice mouthfeel as I swallowed them whole, unable to locate my pipe and a spare sheet of tin foil, no matter how frantically I searched my house…”  And there’s surely the Great American Weed Festival held every year in Boulder or Portland or Madison to honor the year’s best in marijuana releases.  I’m certain of all of this.

Sex

The idea of sex geeks seems paradoxical, impossible even, but I know they must exist too.  Men that go on message boards to scrutinize technique with each other.  Who attend conventions of some sort to trade insider secrets on the state of the art of fucking.  Men with Excel spreadsheets where each sex geek meticulously logs his “wants” and “hads.”  (Had:  twins, GMILF, ginger;  Wants:  Albino, hermaphrodite, circus clown.)  Actually, come to think of it, I may very well be a sex geek.  Moving along…

But even if I am a geek in any other genre, by now beer geekiness must surely be my forte.  And my geek fancy couldn’t help but be tickled by a line of beers that so brazenly holds a mirror up to us.  Aside from last year’s collaboration with Stone, these would be the first beers I had ever had from Mikkeller and, whoa, what a place to start!

Beer Geek Brunch Weasel

10.9% ABV in a 500 mL bottling

I was lucky enough to try this at the wonderful Paradiso in our nation’s capital and so glad I did because this is a stunner of a beer.  From what I understand, Mikkeller doesn’t have their own brewery–in fact, the Mikkeller brewmasters actually have day jobs!–and this was brewed at Nogne O’s brewery.  Brunch Weasel is an asskicker of an oatmeal stout brewed using “the world’s most expensive coffees” (according to Mikkeller it’s around $100/lb) and “from droppings of weasel-like civet cats. The fussy Southeast Asian animals only eat the best and ripest coffee berries. Enzymes in their digestive system help to break down the bean. Workers collect the bean-containing droppings for Civet or Weasel Coffee” (again, according to Mikkeller…uh, are they joking????)  Whatever the case, this cat-shit beer is incredible, frequently residing in the 95-100 range on the BA Top 100*.  One of the most coffee-tasting beers I’ve ever had, yet not in that burnt, unpalatable roasted way a lot of coffee beers unfortunately are.  This has a nice chocolaty sweetness and a good boozy burn.  Much better for waking you up during Sunday brunch than a measly Bellini.

A

Beer Geek Breakfast

7.5% ABV in a 500 mL bottling

Based purely on anecdotal evidence, Breakfast seems to be easier found than Brunch Weasel and, such is life, it’s also not quite as tasty.  Though it’s still solid.  Opened for me with a frothy, latte explosion.  Bitter and muted, oaty and dark chocolaty, I missed the lack of booziness in this one compared to Brunch.  Good, but not worth trampling over a kid in a wheelchair for (Brunch most certainly is worth trampling over a handicap child for.)

I’d passed over Mikkeller beers for far too long–perhaps due to their lofty price tags (about $12-15 for the smallish bottles where I live)–but now I’m most certainly eager to try more of their offerings to see what these crazy Danes have a-brewing.

Looks like there’s a few more from the Beer Geek line, though they appear to be small-batch bottlings only available in Europe.  Darn.

A-/B+

Question of the day:  Where have you seen utter geekiness where you least expected it?

*I should note I have now become almost disenchanted with the BA Top 100.  It has become just too much of a Sisyphean task to tackle it.  Every time I have a Top 100 beer, a new exciting release comes out and meteorically jumps onto the list.  And, then, that same release usually has several similtaneous, even rarer, tap-only iterations (bourbon-barreled, oaked, vanilla beaned, cocoa nibbed) which add two to four more beers onto the Top 100 and all of the sudden you’re not gaining any ground on conquering the Top 100.  And let’s not discuss those times when you finally take down a Top 100 “white whale”–see Veritas 004 which I had last night–only to see that beer become “retired”–which Veritas 004 will almost certainly be in a few weeks or so–and then totally disappear from the list.  It becomes frustrating and I feel like I’ve been stuck in the “had” 65-70 of the Top 100 for the last few months with little traction made.  Which actually makes me happy, because now I’ve decided to just enjoy great beer, may the Top 100 list be damned.  (Unless of course I ever get me hands on some Black Tuesday and then, woohoo!, #1 beer in the world!!!!!!)