Tag Archives: beer reviews

spoiler: there’s nothing about cellos

There were loads of things I intended to do today, but I got caught in reediting/reformatting a work-in-progress Dantean circle of hell. Hardly surprising…often (personal experience with poems over prose) a supposedly ‘final draft/version’ of something will still nag, and I’ll stupidly believe that I can fix it.

With poems, you have to make a decision at some stage to actually stop. Maybe it’s like social drinking? You know how much is going to hurt you the morning after, but that doesn’t always mean you stop…

zine: Play My Cello issue 1 by Astrid (2011)

drink: Tangerine Dream Altocumulus dry hopped tangerine Berliner weisse (4.4% ABV, 355mL can) by Sailors Grave Brewing (Orbost, VIC)

music: Insen by alva noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto

As a result of fretting over another hardcore edit, it’s a tad difficult to wind down. I tried watching The Mighty Boosh but its ridiculous racist/transphobic jokes and appropriation bug me so much, and it makes me feel like a killjoy. Yeah yeah, I know it’s a cult classic and all, and it’s different today, but for fuck’s sake, they do blackface. I started watching London Spy which so far, is fucking fantastic and tantalisingly slow but also makes me wish someone could do a Merthur fanfic crossover/rewrite (yeah, sorry, I’m sad and have no life).

Anyway, the zine. The creator has the most beautiful, uniform capital letter handwriting ever. I mean it! How on earth did they get it to be like that?! There’s a few photos and collages, but the zine is mainly made up of vignettes about life or life-like imaginings with photos. There’s also a double-page chart with comprehensive cider reviews! It just comes out of nowhere, yea!

It’s probably no secret by now (especially if you’ve ever read my Froth reviews) that I loooooove Sailors Grave beer. They do so much weird, wonderful shit. I’ve this one before. The can notes say it’s dry hopped with Amarillo and Cascade hops, and has tangerines and cumquats. It’s also given me a delightful buzz (yes, seriously, just from the one can?!)

As I try to wind down, I put on a gorgeous minimal techno album I’ve been listening to a little this week as noted above. I’ve used it as one of my ‘sleep’ albums…it’s perfect late-night lone listening. My only complaint is that it’s too short…I kind of want it to be a 3-hour set and lull me to sleep. I love glitchy music, and am so ready to blissfully crash now thanks to the beer, so maybe it’s okay.

waiter, there’s some coffee in my beer

Mikkeller’s Beer Geek Breakfast.

I’d never had it, despite having had its newer sibling Beer Geek Brunch and a couple of its variants. How odd. So when I went to pick up a bottle of Beer Hop Breakfast (stay with me…) and saw that Beer Geek Breakfast was available, I grabbed a bottle.

Beer Geek Breakfast is supposed to be special because of the addition of ‘gourmet’ coffee. It’s too bad they don’t actually specify what coffee – don’t they know some people are sensitive about this sort of thing?! I mean, come on, we’re avid (or rabid?) coffee snobs here in Melbourne.

This imperial stout is rich, but smooth. Whatever the coffee may be, it is very prominent and complements the beer well. I was quite surprised that it’s actually got a fairly savoury finish – the coffee taste lingers on after you’ve swallowed. For some reason, I was expecting it to be sweeter. As you can see above, it’s very dark and completely opaque. The head is lighter than that of the Brunch. Unlike the Brunch, I think I would actually drink this with breakfast. The Beer Geek Brunch I would leave for the end of an evening.

As can be imagined, the newish Beer Hop Breakfast is very bitter. It’s a curious bitterness given that the stout and coffee compete in the flavour too. I find this a less savoury beer than the Beer Geek Breakfast and a little less coffeeish. I don’t think it’s limited to hopheads for enjoyment and full appreciation, but admittedly it is a challenging beer. Thinner mouthfeel than its vanilla sibling. My head is still twisted due to the fact that one doesn’t really expect coffee, hop bitterness and oatmeal stout to work. Am beginning to think that Mikkeller’s head brewer has signed some awesome pact with the devil…or perhaps with Bacchus. Truly – can the fellow do no wrong?

waiter, there’s some whisky in my beer

If you’re puzzled as to why there is whisky in my beer, then you probably read yesterday’s post. It may help demystify you, as this is the second in a series of posts devoted to the Mikkeller showcase tasting at Slowbeer in Hawthorn. The first part of the tasting was on Mikkeller Beer Geek Weasel and some whisky barrel aged variants. The second half was for the Mikkeller Blacks. The Mikkeller Black series was brewed at De Proef Brouwerij in Belgium – as previously mentioned, the Mikkeller brewer is ‘homeless’ of a fashion. I just can’t get over how cool the concept is, of having a roving brewer…

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The Mikkeller Black is a formidable beast. It is an imperial stout with a whopping 17.5% ABV. To get it to this ABV, champagne yeast was employed for fermentation, as was brewer’s sugar. Chris, our humble host and the manager of Slowbeer did well to warn us to have a full stomach prior to tasting! It had quite a savoury aroma but was very sweet, a thick, rich mouthfeel and did feel like too much after a while. I think it would be fantastic with dark, bitter chocolate (we’re talking the 75% cocoa content and above!).

The Mikkeller Black Whisky edition was sweet. At first, it was “zomg this is amazing and soooo delicious” and then all of a sudden, pow! it’d hit you and you’d be saying “get it away from me!”. Again quite rich, with a slight head due to less carbonation than its vanilla sibling above. This beer was aged in French whisky barrels for three months – they don’t say what alcohol exactly but it could be either calvados, cognac or armagnac. I found that the alcohol of the barrel permeated the taste very nicely and was well integrated.

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The last of the special Mikkellers was the Black peated edition. This lives in peated whisky barrels for three months and it’s so obvious in the final beer. Jourdan of The Salving Font and I were really quite taken by this beer and even the day after, I could still taste it…taunted (and haunted) me for quite some time after. Easily the winner of the three for me.

To recap…

Mikkeller Black – even thicker mouthfeel than the Beer Geek Weasel Brunches. Higher alcohol content. A little goes a long way. Try with dark, bitter chocolate. Very sweet, rich imperial stout.

Mikkeller Black Whisky Edition – shame they do not specify what French liquor barrel used to contain (I find calvados quite appley). Sickeningly syrup-sweet but whisky is well integrated into the beer. Least favourite of the three.

Mikkeller Black Peated Edition – very little carbonation, with the peat adding a wonderful depth to the beer. A special drop indeed. Clearly for the serious beer lover, but if you can get your hands on a bottle, try it!

Alas yes, these were special releases and the Slowbeer tasting (seriously $30 for a taste of six beers!) was ridiculously good value. It was a great way to challenge the palate too. There are whispers of a lambic tasting in the future which I think would be terrific. There also tends to be discounts on purchases made in store after the tasting – can’t wait for the next one.