Today I have a brew that I was very excited to get my hands on. A joint effort by Mikkeller ofÂ Denmark and De Struise Brouwers aka The SturdyÂ Brewers ofÂ De Panne, Belgium. I stopped by The Four Firkins yesterday and was very pleased they still had a bottle available for me as well as a couple of Mikkeller Single Hop brews that I have yet to try including their Cascade which is sure to be the more traditional of the two to our American palates as well as Nugget which I’ve heard some mixed reviews of and am curious to experience for myself. But that is for another day. Even when poured gently this brew creates a massive thick off white colored head that will easily grow as large as you let it and remain for many minutes there after, leaving a good deal of creamy lacing around your glass. Color is a relatively dark date like reddish brown hue that is incredibly opaque allowing almost no light trough. Aroma is full of rich malty notes including a good deal of dark pitted fruits that are very deep and complex yet smooth and sweet. A small amount of alcohol is noticeable in the nose and balanced with a gentle dose of bitterness and some light citrus that is largely hidden by the pitted fruit notes. Wow, this is one complexly flavored ale and with 130 IBUs I suppose that should be expected. Strong pitted fruits such as date seem to be at the front of this beer followed by a melody ofÂ nicely contrasting spices, citrus notes particularly grapefruit and a good deal of bitterness that almost completely distracts me from the hefty 9% ABV of this brew. Considering the complexity of this beer it is amazingly smooth and well balanced with a serious Belgian inspired malt bill and candi sugars that provides enough fruity sweetness to contrast the seriously bitter hop profile. The mouthfeel of this brew is very clean and the body is a bit heavy but not so much that it makes it difficult to down though it is certainly a slow sipping beer. If you are into Belgian inspired brews and seriously hoppy IPAs this beer will bring you straight to heaven. One complex ale that is not for the faint of heart but would make for some marvelous food pairings either with something nice and spicy or something with delicate flavors that contrast nicely with pitted fruits. Unlike many of Mikkellers Single Hop brews that I have sampled I couldn’t drink this beer every day, well not too many of them at least….but I would gladly enjoy it any day if it were available. Though they call this an Imperial IPA I almost think about it as an incredibly hoppy Belgian Strong Ale flavor wise. Regardless if you enjoy bittering hops and pitted fruits bike as fast as you can and find a bottle of this brew. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
My Fridge On A Good Day