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Mikkeller It’s Alright

June 9th, 2009 beckel

Though I have yet to take a single sip or even pour this brew I am confident saying that this brew is an example of why Mikkeller has been such a successful brewery in its short history. Only an adventurous soul would contemplate brewing a session beer (4.5% ABV) yet add Brettanomyces into the fermentation process. Mikkeller takes inspiration from American breweries who joyously experiment with their brews and are not afraid to challenge the palates of their consumers and is like wise trying to take its Danish fan base on a similar adventure (as well as those of us lucky enough to find their beers across the world). Upon pouring this beer it creates over three fingers of loose white head that very quickly starts to dissipate leaving you with no head in just under a minute aside from a very small amount of lacing around the edge. Color is a largely translucent crisp golden hue. As soon as I opened the bottle a rush a Brettanomyces tartness hit my nose and upon smelling it in a glass it is even more funky. Your typical horse blanket notes are even more musky than many brews creating an aroma similar to mustard seed and some sort of fungus hint. There is a bit of sweet malt in the aroma but it is difficult to isolate. Whoa. That was an interesting first sip. Going from some solid tart funk into a wheaty biscuit flavor mid palate. This is truly one of the strangest sour beers I have ever had, not because of its funk but because of its balance, which I am still trying to grasp. As I continue to drink the initial tartness declines a bit and becomes a really neat accent to the light but bready flavor of this beer. The body is light and the mouthfeel is smooth and clean yet the finish tastes just like a biscuit. The more I drink this beer the more I can see its sessionability as the distinctly sour and grain based flavors start to mesh creating a balance that I initially thought was a bit unpleasant but ends up smooth and really quite nice. If you are a fan of funky beers and English biscuits this is the beer for you. If not you will still probably find it intriguing and surprisingly enjoyable after drinking half the bottle as I have. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Mikkeller It's Alright

Orval Trappist Ale

July 22nd, 2008 beckel

Orval is one of the 7 Trappist monasteries that produce beer and a foreign one to me. First produced in 1931 in the Gaume region of Belgium, this beer is sure to be an experience. Pours with massive head that is quite impossible to disturb as a proper Belgian beer should. Color is a lovely orange red, not hazy but not penetrated by light either.  Aroma is almost like a wine, full scent of alcohol and fermentation. This beer has a complex flavor, lots of smooth malt sweeps over the palate accompanied by bitter and almost sour citrus flavors. The bitter and tart flavors are most notable in this beer but the malt and yeast manage to balance this 6.9% ABV beer quite well. Probably a beer you want to sip on but its mouthfeel is amazingly light. The yeast doesn’t stand out as much as it did in the Chimay Trappist beers I’ve had but it is still an unquestionably unique drink with some flavors not present in most beer. If you like different and complex beers you should certainly give this one a try, though you will probably like it more if you prefer a  sour beer or are a fan of fermented fruits. Trappist ales are always unique and I’m glad I got the chance to try this one. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Orval Trappist Ale