Sunday, 19 September 2010

Mikkeller Monk's Elixer

I'm not sure how one becomes a "gypsy brewer", travelling from one small brewery to another making specialty beers at every stop along the way. But Dane Mikkel Borg Bjergsø and his Mikkeller series seem to be quite a phenomenon in the world of beer aficionados. Monk's Elixer is his homage to Belgian Trappist darks.

"This is the most beer-snobbiest thing you've ever done", says Fiona, shaking her head.

OK, so it's a bit "niche of niche", but this is a special occasion: my 240th tasting. For a blog that initially set a goal of 40 beers a few years ago, things have evolved quite a bit.

The taste of this unique beer starts off with puffy bubbles of very fine carbonation, initially coming across like a St Bernardus Prior 8 in mouthfeel. A treacly smell turns into a range of flavours: dates, raisins, raw honey, blood, iron, biscuit... Then it finishes off with a bitter and burnt aftertaste that lasts and lasts.

But perhaps the most interesting note we picked up, and which Bob identified, was sesame cracker -- you know, the sticky, baked things made of pressed together sesame seeds. It runs through the overall set of tastes like a thread holding it all together. Yum.

This "gypsy brewer" sure can make beer. Though with a nickname like that, I guess he's not going to be brewing too much in France any time soon.

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