Barrel Aged Porter – Danish: Mikkeller Texas Ranger Aged in Eagle Rare Barrels

Mikkeller Texas Ranger

This Wednesday’s beer is from the Legendary Mikkeller. It’s an iteration of Texas Ranger, a Porter with Chipotle peppers added. This particular version has been aged in Eagle Rare Bourbon Whiskey casks.

Let’s start with Mikkeller‘s Description of the brew:

Ale Brewed with Chipotle Chili & Aged in Eagle Rare Bourbon Whiskey Barrels.

Quite a modest description from Mikeller, but he’s known to be quite a mellow and quiet person. I feel it lets you make your own mind up on the beer, and gives you a guideline on what to expect. I don’t think I need to say much more!

The recipe for this one is quite a basic American Porter recipe, the malts being Maris Otter Pale, Smoked, Chocolate, Cara-crystal and Brown malts. The hops in this brew are Simcoe and Northern Brewer. What really gives this it’s flavour is a generous offering of Smoked Chipotle Peppers and the fact it’s aged in the famous Eagle Rare Bourbon Barrels for 6 months after fermentation.

When you pour this beer, it’s Black with a dark Tan coloured head. The head sticks around for quite a while with good retention throughout drinking, starting medium and ending with a small head. It leaves a lot of sticky lacing around the glass on the way down. On the Nose there’s lots of Roasted Malt akin to Coffee, Caramel, Chocolate and a slightly fruity Smokey smell coming from the Chilli Peppers. On the Palate, first there’s hints of Roasted Coffee but it quickly goes into a lovely, smooth Bourbon flavour which balances out the heat from the Chipotle peppers. In the background you get Caramel, Chocolate and some Fruity and Smokey tones from the peppers. The body is quite thin, but it works well with this style. It finishes dry and a little bitter with a touch of heat coming from the Chilli Peppers.

I bought this beer from Cotteridge Wines in the UK, recently voted the UK’s best Bottled Beer shop. Unfortunately it’s the only place I have seen it! Including having a search of the web. It may be worth giving them a shout on Twitter to see if they have some, as it’s a really great brew – even if you don’t like Chilli!

EST. CALORIES: 198   ABV: 6.6%

Fruit Porter – Danish: Mikkeller I Bet Yuzu Glad I Said Orange

Orange Yuzu Glad I Said Porter

With all this rainy weather, I thought a nice Porter would be a good pick me up. This week’s beer is the legendary Mikkeller‘s I Bet Yuzu Glad I Said Orange. A Porter brewed with a fruit called Yuzu, a popular fruit in Japan and Korea. I’ve only ever posted up one other beer on here brewed by Pressure Drop with this fruit in, and it was a great beer!

Let’s start with Mikkeller‘s description of the beer:

A porter with Yuzu (Citrus fruit), wheat and lactose. Flavor is sweet of yuzu with notes of orange and coffee.

A short but sweet description of this brew. Sources say Mikkel can be quite a quiet man, and this description seems to be evidence towards this. Although it’s short, it’s to the point. As it’s so to the point, I can’t really say much more apart from it’s got the extra ingredients listed and some idea on how it should taste.

The Malts are usually very important in a Porter, but in this one less so. The Malts used are Pale Malt, Brown Malt, Caramel Malt and Chocolate Malt. There’s also Malted Wheat. The Hops in this one are Challenger, Fuggles and to up the Citrus a little I think Mikkeller have used Cascade. After this, the Yuzu is added, I would imagine mainly juice as Yuzu can be hard to work with. During fermentation the Lactose is added.

When you pour this beer, you get a typical Porter looking beer – Black with a big Tan coloured head. The head retention is absolutely great, owing to the Wheat in the brew. On the nose you get lots of Citrus/Orange notes, owing to the Yuzu and some Coffee and Chocolate undertones. There’s also a bit of sweet Lactose in the Aroma too. When you taste this beer, you get a big initial kick of Coffee, followed by some Lactose sweetness and ending with the Citrus and Orange notes in the beer. The mouthfeel is quite light for a Porter and is a little more acidic than some beers. It finishes quite sweet. Quite lightly carbonated also. At 6% I can see myself drinking quite a few of these beers in one day and really recommend it.

You can buy Orange Yuzu Glad I Said Porter in the UK at:

Mikkeller Webstore (In Stock, Coversion is around £3.45)

Beer Gonzo (In Stock at time of Writing)

EST. CALORIES: 180   ABV: 6%

Barrel Aged IPA – English: Siren Whiskey Sour

This Friday, something completely different to the beer on Wednesday.

This beer starts life as the fantastic Mikkeller, Siren Craft Brew, Hill Farmstead Brewery Limoncello IPA and is then aged in Bourbon Barrels. More on that later! This beer’s a little stronger at 10.2% and is a great brew to warm you up during those cold evening, even though it’s not a dark one!

Let’s start with Siren’s Description:

The crazy invention that is Limoncello IPA, the collaboration between Siren, Hill Farmstead & Mikkeller, has been aging in bourbon barrels.  The infusion of the oak and bourbon has added huge layers of complexity and hits the spot as a Whiskey Sour.  Slice of orange and a cherry anyone?

I quite like the description of this one. Not as in depth as a lot of other Siren Brews, and also not as nautical themed. I think it’s quite qwerky, assumes you’ve tried the Limoncello IPA and tells you about what they’ve done to it and what you should expect. Quite a good description here, to the point and not too over the top, gimmiky or arrogant!

The recipe for this beer is much the same as the Limoncello IPA, Pale Ale malt and some Malted Wheat to help the sourness of the brew. A sour mash is then added to aid the sour tartnessCitra and Sorachi-Ace. A very well informed hop choice, as Sorachi-Ace is a hop that injects tonnes of Lemon aroma and flavour into the brew, whilst Citra is a crazy fruity hop that will help with the Citric Acid tones in the brew but also add some delicate Gooseberry and Lychee smoothness to the beer. After this, a bucket full of lemon zest and juice is added for good measure. It’s then aged in Buffalo Trace Barrels to impart the bourbon flavours.

When you pour this beer, it’s not as fizzy as the original. The barrel aging has mellowed the carbonation meaning there’s no head. It pours an amber colour with bubbles resting on the bottom of the glass. It really does does look like it could be a cocktail, and it’s a similar colour to a Whiskey Sour. On the nose of this beer, you get tonnes of bitter Lemon and bitter Orange, after this there’s lotes of Bourbon notes to remind you it’s been Barrel Aged. What an inviting smelling beer, and so close to an actual Whiskey Sour! The aroma brought me back to a classy Cocktail bar in Cambridge and I couldn’t wait to take a sip. When you taste this beer, it starts with sour Lemon and a little bit of Glacé Cherry in there too, so far so good as far as it being like the cocktail! After this you get a huge hit of Bourbon and then some Bitter Orange on the finish. The mouthfeel is very smooth (like a well mixed cocktail!), crisp, clean with a dry, bitter finish. This really is a fantastic beer despite some untoward reviews and definitely something to keep you warm in the winter!

You can buy Whiskey Sour at:

Chester Beer and Wine (IN STOCK at time of writing)

For any bars/shops wanting to stock this, contact Siren Craft Brew Directly.

EST. CALORIES: 306   ABV: 10.2%

Stout – Danish: Mikkeller Beer Geek Vanilla Shake

 

This week, as the winter is taking it’s hold I will be writing about a Legendary Stout from Mikkeller – Beer Geek Vanilla Shake. A Stout brewed with French Press Coffee and Vanilla.

This beer really is one of those sought after brews, and as soon as I saw it I knew it had a place here for Winter. I’ve had it cellared away for a couple of months.

Let’s start with Mikkeller‘s description of the beer:

From the beer geek breakfast series – the beer that really put Mikkeller on the map – we decided to shake things up by adding a truck load of vanilla to the french press coffee trick, creating a whole new dimension to the beer that are loved by freaks and geeks worldwide.

I like Mikkeller’s descriptions – he always knows that the beer he has brewed is good and he taught some of the best brewers in the world. Tobias Emil Jensen and Tore Gynther, who went on to form To Øl for example. The French Coffee trick is impressive, and although I’m still not 100% sure of it I have the recipe for the base Stout and I will attempt to decipher what they do. There’s always a mystery to the descriptions, and I think that creates a good interest in the beer itself. As Mikkeller is a Gypsy Brewery, this one was brewed at the Lervig Brewery.

As with all Stouts, the all important Malt comes first. As Vanilla Shake is based on an Oatmeal Stout, there’s quite a lot of fermentables involved! Pilsner Malt, Flaked Oats, Cara Munich, Smoked Malt, Chocolate Malt and Roasted Barley are in this one. As for the hops, we’ve gone American as this is quite a sweet stout. Centennial and Cascade hops are used, aiding the sweeter and fruitier tones in the brew. The next part is where this brew comes into it’s own – Coarsely ground Coffee Beans and Vanilla Beans are brewed using the French Press Method. Scalding water is used (just before boiling point), a little salt is added. Whilst the water is reaching scalding point, the coarse ground Coffee and Vanilla is put into the French Press. The scalding water is added, the Coffee and Vanilla mix stirred and left for 4 – 5 minutes to steep. After this, the plunger is pressed down at a steady speed and the Vanilla Coffee is added to the Fermentation after cooling.

When you pour this beer, it pours a thick black. I know everyone describes Stouts as something light cannot penetrate but light really cannot penetrate this one! There’s a thin Cola foam coloured head which dissipates quickly, leaving a mocha coloured ring around the glass. The lacing is very sticky and leaves a small ring after drinking. Now on to the aroma, wow! As soon as you open the bottle you get a blast of Vanilla Beans, with big Roasty malt and Sun-dried Fruit with Rum notes in the background. Given the fact this beer is 13%, it’s expected that there will be some sort of boozy smell but the Vanilla and Chocolate malt have transformed this into a satisfying Vanilla Rum smell. The taste initially goes with the Aroma, lots of Sweet Vanilla to start with, making way to some huge Roasted Malt flavours and Espresso. There’s some Belgian Dark Chocolate finishing with some Rum-Rasin Ice Cream notes. The Beer is very thick in your mouth, a lot like a Vanilla Milkshake. Carbonation is low making way for a Creamy Mouthfeel. You’d expect this beer to finish bitter, but it finishes sweet with a final Vanilla note. This beer would be great with a Christmas Pudding (or even baked into one!) or after a Roast Dinner on a cold Winter’s evening and it’s something I’d definitely recommend to anyone.

You can Purchase Vanilla Shake online at the following places, unfortunately it is always in high demand and it’s a hard beer to get at times. I got mine from Bottledog in Kings Cross, London.

Mikkeller Website

The Beer Boutique

Bourbon Barrel Aged version can also be bought from Mikkeller’s Website here.

For any Bars/Shops wanting to stock this beer, Mikkeller beers aren’t imported in big numbers to the UK. The best people to speak to about getting some of their beers are Brewdog or Mikkeller themselves!

EST. CALORIES: 390   ABV: 13%

Special Post – Craft Beer In London

I have been requested lately to write a blog post about where to go Craft Beer wise in London. As you can see from the map above (The best £1.99 on an app you’ll spend drinking in London. Craft Beer London) there’s a lot of places. So I decided to put a twist on the question and test, how many high profile bottle shops and bars can you realistically visit in a day in London without stretching yourself too much? As well as doing that, I’ll do a few mini beer reviews during this post to keep it interesting!

Sourced Market, St. Pancras Station

Since it opened in 2009, I’ve always thought Sourced Market in St. Pancras Station is a great idea. Fresh produce, great craft and local beers, wines, small batch coffee and other great bites to eat. Imagine a Train Station M&S on steroids, and you’re nearly there. Sourced Market really is a great concept and I recommend seeing it for yourself.

I arrived at around 12:15 due to the great British train system’s delays and made my way over from Kings Cross to St. Pancras. Sourced Market is easy to spot, as it’s right under the clock and train times as you walk through the main entrance facing the back of Kings Cross.

Sourced Market’s Beer Selection

Sourced Market’s Craft Beer selection really is something else, if you’re a London brewery there’s a 99% chance you’ll be represented here. There were also some brands from further afield – Anchor Brewing from San Fransico and Vedett from Belgium amongst others. You can buy your beer refrigerated to enjoy in the Market’s Café area or if you prefer that sort of thing and there’s also well kept shelf beers to take home or if you prefer your beer slightly warmer.

I opted for the Chilli, Falafel and Hummus wrap that had been made fresh earlier that morning, a Beavertown Quelle Dry Hopped Saison to take home and a Brixton Electric I.P.A. to eat with my wrap. The wrap was great lunchtime food, was spicy and filling. As I’m a bit of a Chilli Head this went down well but some people may find it a tad too spicy. It went well with the IPA.At first I was a little nervous about trying the beer, as the Pale Ale by Brixton Brewery had mixed reviews and it seemed as though they had a quality problem for a while. I noticed nothing bad about this brew at all. Lots of Pine and Citrus aromas and flavours with a slight sweet and bitter finish. All in all it was a great brew! After a good look in the fridges, filling up and finishing my beer it was time to move on.

Bottledog, Near Chancery Lane Station & 15 Mins walk away from Kings Cross/St. Pancras

Photo Credit – Tobias L

It was a nice day, so I opted for the 15 minute walk from St. Pancras to Bottledog.

Although this shop is relatively small, it has a great selection. Plenty of Belgian beers, American Craft beers, some of the best Craft Beers from London and further afield (think Mikkeller, Evil Twin!) as well as most of the Brewdog offerings (it’s owned by them after all!) I went here as Brewdog had launched a new beer called CapDog, a Black IPA brewed in collaboration with CAP Brewing with cascara, the fruit from a Coffee Plant. I picked up one of these first, together with an Evil Twin/Prairie Fine Ales Bible Belt Stout, Mikkeller Orange Yuzu Glad I Said Porter, a Siren Whiskey Sour (their Limoncello IPA aged in Bourbon Barrels with more lemon zest added) and a Siren Tickle Monster. Some people complain about Craft Beer being overpriced, but this came in at just over £34 which was reasonable.

Photo Credit – Digital Newsroom

All in all, the staff at Bottledog are friendly and very knowledgeable (although usually busy!) and most of the beers are reasonably priced for what they are (Between £1.75 and £18) and I recommend any beer lover to take a trip there. There’s definitely something for everyone!

Utobeer Cage, Borough Market, London Bridge

Credit – Better Bankside

After I finished at Bottledog I made my way to Borough Market – a historic food and drink market to visit the legendary “Cage” Much like Bottledog, this place is small but full of some real gems. There’s a big focus on Belgian beer and American Craft beer as well as some unusual and Craft beers from the British Isles. The Cage is somewhere to go if you’re after something a little harder to find and there were plenty of gems around. The first time I’ve ever seen bottles of Left Hand Brewing‘s beers, Maui Brewing‘s cans in the UK and the biggest selection of Flying Dog Beers (one of my friends favourites) – I had to indulge.

After having a good look on what was on offer, I picked myself 2 Maui Brewing Mana Wheat Beers from the fridge, a Left Hand Brewing Black Jack Porter, a Goose Island Bourbon County Stout and a Founder‘s Breakfast Stout. There is no end of great beer at the Cage, and I plan to pay another visit very soon! Again, the prices were reasonable at £27 for these beers. After a quick chat about ABInbev purchasing Goose Island and selling the rights in the UK to Greene King with the guy serving I was on my way. I didn’t ask the staff at The Cage any questions, but from what I heard whilst I was there they too seem very knowledgeable indeed.

The Anchor, Near London Bridge

Photo Credit – Ewan Munro

I stumbled upon this pub by accident, it’s not listed anywhere to do with craft beer but it’s right next to The Borough Market and the River. In all honesty I just wanted to sit by the river and enjoy my Maui Mana Wheat as it seemed too good to save both cans. It’s a Wheat Beer brewed with fresh Hawaiian Pineapple. I’ve got a review for this coming up, so check the Coming Up page!

After this, I had to do something you need to do after a few beers and headed inside the pub. When I went in I noticed they had a few Meantime Keg Pumps at the bar, a Belgian Kriek beer and Shipyard Pale ale on Keg. I couldn’t resist and ordered a half of Shipyard American Pale Ale. I’ve tried their IPA before and quite enjoyed it so thought I’d give it a try as it was the first time I’d seen anything by them on keg. It was an orange colour with a fluffy light head, on the nose some grapefruit, light citrus and some malts. The taste was a little bit disappointing, very malt forward with a touch of grapefruit hops at the end. Although don’t get me wrong, it’s worth a try and still better than the stuff you can get in most normal pubs!

Brewdog, Camden (Near Camden Town Station)

Brewdog Camden is always such a great place, not too busy but with a good atmosphere, an extensive bottle list which involves Craft Beer from around the world, friendly staff and the opportunity to try a flight of some of the guest beers on tap at the time. A flight?! What’s that you ask?

A flight is 4 1/3 of a pints in a little paddle. In Brewdog they usually cost around £8.50, which isn’t too bad seeing as they’re a fun way to try potentially 4 new beers and you get one pint and one third of good beer. This particular one was (left to right) Brasserie de la Senne Jambe De Bois (A Tripel) which I found although strong, a very nice Tripel with hints of Apple, Funky yeast, other fruit flavours and a hint of Coriander, Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, a Hefeweizen with big hits of Banana Bread in the flavour, Brew By Numbers 04|01 Berliner Weisse, one of the best Berliner Weisse Beers I’ve ever had with big sour Lemon and Apple flavours and Brasserie de la Senne Taras Boulba, a Belgian Pale Ale with hints of pepper, grapefruit and sweet caramel.

Credit camdentown.com

I stayed for a little longer, as I’d been rushing around a little and wanted to taste some of the Hopinator, Brewdog’s Hardcore IPA sitting in even more Whole Leaf Hops and Pink Peppercorns and really did create an interesting experience. It made it even hoppier, especially on the Aroma and had a hint of the pink peppercorns on the finish. I stayed for another Brew By Numbers Berliner Weisse and after looking at the time decided to move on. It was a well needed sit down in Brewdog, with reasonable prices, friendly people and friendly staff. They also sell cocktails, wine and spirits for people who maybe aren’t into beer as much.

The Craft Beer Co, Covent Garden (Near Tottenham Court Road Station)

Craft Beer Co. in Covent Garden was probably the busiest of all the places I went, but after you look at the numbers you can’t really resist. 15 Cask Taps and 30 Keg Taps, 45 Craft Beers in Total. On top of this, hundreds of different spirits and an endless bottle selection. You can even take away some harder to find bottles here at 33% off.

Photo Credit – The Craft Beer Co

I went up to the bar and saw a great mix of World Craft beer, including offerings from Dogfish Head, Stone Brewing, Evil Twin, Beavertown, The Kernel, Five Points and more. I opted for the Stone Brewing Co Levitation Ale, as it’s one of my favourite Amber Ales and something I’ll be blogging about on Friday. I’d never tried it on tap, and it was just as good if not better. After this I moved on to a Siren Calypso – a sour beer with lots of tart cherry and lemon flavours, a beer I think is a fantastic seasonal brew from Siren. I finished off with a Five Points Brewing Co Railway Porter a great roasty, dark beer with lots of Coffee notes and then it was time to go. The light was fading and I had one more stop on my list before heading back. The staff at Craft Beer Co. are very friendly and knowledgeable. Even when it’s busy they’ll take the time to speak to you, which is nice. This place is a little pricier, but in a central area it’s expected and definitely somewhere to visit.

The Euston Tap, Outside Euston Station

As the sun was setting I arrived at the Euston Tap for a final drink. I had to include this place in the blog, as it’s been my go-to bar for great beer in London for a long time. If you want to try something you’ll probably not have again on tap in London, this is the place to go. The staff are friendly, the bottle selection either side of the bar is absolutely amazing and the tap list is always to die for.

Photo Credit – pubsandbeer.co.uk

The Euston tap is a tiny place, with some seating downstairs, a little bit more upstairs and a nice open outside area with a relaxed glass policy. This place has been here for a long while, and it’s definitely a great stop if you’re waiting for a train at Euston or you fancy trying some great beer. I picked up 2 of my favorite beers – Buxton Far Skyline to take away and ordered a half of Buxton / Omnipollo Pomperipossa – a Sour Cherry Stout. The barman accidentally poured me a pint, and I quickly told him. He said it was his mistake and charged me for a half. This truely is a complex brew, the roastyness expected from a stout is there but isn’t as heavy as usual and the sour Cherry hits straight away and remains the whole way through. It’s a refreshing stout and it was a great end to a great day. My test was over.

A market that sells great food and has a great Bottle selection, 2 well known bottle shops, a Pub I stumbled upon and 3 well known craft beer bars. I think that’s quite a success for a day in London. I spent between 1 and 3 hours in the pubs/bars and between half an hour to an hour in each of the bottle shops. I didn’t rush around the transport system often walking around. Midday until 10pm on a Friday battling through the lunch rush and the afternoon rush hour, I don’t think this was a bad sample of London’s more well known Craft Beer scene. I’m planning on doing the Bermondsey Beer Mile soon, so watch out for that!

Imperial IPA – Collaboration: Danish: Mikkeller, English: Siren Craft Brew, American: Hill Farmstead Brewery: Limoncello IPA

I’m going to finish August off with this awesome collaboration brew from 3 great breweries – Siren Craft BrewMikkeller and Hill Farmstead Brewery.  This is an Imperial IPA brewed to mimic Limoncello, honestly an extremely refreshing beer and something I’d never had before until a few weeks back. After tasting it, I knew I had to put it on the blog.

Although this is definitely a summer brew, it’s something you can drink on the colder days to help keep you warm too due to the 9.1% ABV!

Let’s start with Siren’s decription of the beer:

This is a truly different beer. The concept was to develop the flavour and mouthfeel of Limoncello and fuse with the carbonation and lemony hop hit of an IPA. Using pale and wheat malts, the base beer goes through a 24 hour sour process to add to the tartness of the beer. Tons of lemon zest and juice are added to the boil along with all the citrusy lemony hops available.

A very informative, short but sweet description of the beer by Siren. So we’re expecting a nice tart flavoured beer with underlying hop tones and sweetness. Sounds incredible even from the description and very interesting indeed!

After doing a little bit of research (didn’t have to go far!) I found out that this beer uses Pale Ale malt and some Malted Wheat. Wheat usually goes well with a tart tasing beer, and will also help the head creation and retention on a brew with this much ABV! This is then made into a sour mash to aid the tartness. The hops used in this are interesting, Citra and Sorachi-Ace. A very well informed hop choice, as Sorachi-Ace is a hop that injects tonnes of Lemon aroma and flavour into the brew, whilst Citra is a crazy fruity hop that will help with the Citric Acid tones in the brew but also add some delicate Gooseberry and Lychee smoothness to the beer. After this, a bucket full of lemon zest and juice is added for good measure and some Lacto or Lactic-Acid to help with the tart flavour of this brew. I think all in all, this is a great attempt at trying to mimic Limoncello in beer form!

When you pour this beer, you’ll notice the awesome hazy-amber colour of the beer and the big white head forming. It really does take a few pours to get this all into a glass, and rightly so (after all that wheat!) The head dissipates quite quickly after sitting for a while, there is some sedimant in the beer but I think this is due to the lemon zest as it does not seem to have the typical hazy yeast appearance. When you finally get to smell the beer after it settles down, you get a big hit of Lemon Juice and fresh citrus with some citrus hop aromas and some lacto coming through. It smells a bit like freshly squeezed lemonade! Now comes the taste, if you think this is going to be similar to shandy or a lager top you will be disappointed. I was plesantly surpirsed, this beer really is something different. You get a massive hit of clean lemon flavours which then desends into a sour bite. The lemon definitely has the front seat in this beer and the sourness comes after which is a pleasent surpirse. I noticed some lychee and a little bit of freshly cut grass on the tail end. This is a truely different flavour but works out to be extremely refreshing. Obviously you can’t have too many of these due to the percentage, but this beer works well in the sun and after a hot, sweaty days work (or gym session!). It finishes quite dry and sour but with a crispness from the lemon which is second to none. 

Overall, this is a great beer and truely different and surprising compared to other IPAs that have fruit added.

You can purchase Limoncello IPA in the UK at:

Eebria

The Grumpy Goat

And at Brewdog bars and Bottledog Kings Cross.

There may well be some other places too, check google!

For any bars/shops wanting to stock this, contact Siren Craft Brew Directly

EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9.1%