Mikkel Borg Bjergso is a busy little fella, Beer Advocate lists 223 brews bearing the Mikkeller name. For a brewery that opened in 2006 that’s a beer about every 8 days, aka a shedload of them.
Now the smart arses amongst you will note the error in the sentence above. There is no such thing as a Mikkeller Brewery. Mikkel goes from place to place brewing with other people’s stuff (mainly de Proef Brouwerij in Belguim), so essentially he’s like that shit friend everyone has who just turns up at your house, steals your food, sleeps on your couch and never really leaves.
Because beer folk are a friendly lot though Mikkel is not considered a shit friend but rather a gypsy or phantom brewer (I prefer phantom brewer, because I can then imagine Mikkel wearing a purple lyrca suit and stripped undies on the outside, which is a nice change from the regular hipster garb that all Danish people seem to wear). And it’s not considered that he’s using your stuff, rather he is collaborating.
Mikkel popped down to Victoria back in March and whilst here managed to bang out a couple of collaboration brews with two of the mainstays of the craft beer scene in this here southern state, Mountain Goat and Bridge Road. Fast forward a couple of months and both brews are out and about in Melbourne stores and pubs so it seemed apt to try them both and review them together.
First up is the Mountain Goat effort going by the name of ‘The Gypsy and the Goat’ part of their Cross Breed range, which in turn is part of the Rare Breed range and it’s a Black Pepperberry IPA. Got all of that? I know it’s a little confusing. What is not confusing is that this beer is fricken awesome.
It looks brilliant, jet black with a great solid head. The mouthfeel is dense, almost oily and it laces well down the glass as you work through the brew. The smell is citra hop pineapple tones mixed with roasted malt, quite similar to Feral’s Karma Citra. There is a slight spiciness in the nose and in the taste which I can only assume is the pepperberries, not really understanding what pepperberries actually taste like. I loved this, it was everything I like about a Black IPA with an oilier, silkier mouthfeel – Jug.
This brings us to our second brew, Bridge Road’s ‘The Dark Harvest’ which makes me feel like it should always be accompanied with a soundtrack comprising of the imperial march from Star Wars. This brew is a dark beer version of Bridge Road’s Harvest Ale, which uses fresh hops picked just up the road at major Victorian hop farms in Rostrevor. This variety is so new that it doesn’t even have a name yet.
The beer is jet black as well, the colour belies its drinkability though, this is refreshing, the body is thinner and less roasty than I was expecting (but not in a bad way) and the fruity hops, pineapple and orange, particularly in the nose made it feel strangely summery. As I worked through the beer I started to pick up piney resinous notes as well. It is a really interesting beer, not what I was expecting from the name and the look but I really enjoyed it, not quite as much as the Mountain Goat, but still worth picking up a bottle or two to try – Pint.
Long Bow YouTube Clip: Darren Hanlon on his theories on Couch Surfing, Zombies and Swedish sayings about beer, fish and hatchets, which I think are all things going into the next Mikkeller collaboration brew.