Mikkeller George (Georg) Imperial Stout,
Date: November 27, 2018
The Story— We’ve reviewed many Mikkeller beers her and elsewhere over the years. We’re in awe of this former schoolteacher turned MegaContract brewer. He’s also spun off a couple of students and inspired countless other brewery-less brewers to find a niche in this brewing revolution.
Contract brewers come in all sorts and sized. Some just try to capitalize on a locale or a name and couldn’t care less about the stale pale ale they stuff in the can. Some have breakthrough ideas but have trouble sustaining their businesses after others copy their ideas and the home brewery is no longer available. (Pete’s Wicked and, we’d like to think, Tuppers’ Hop Pocket). Other continue to drift around the world looking for breweries with extra capacity and an interest in collaboration. (To Ol, Evil Genus). Some try to use the contact base as a platform to build brick and mortar breweries – Gary Heurich swore he’d build a brewery but never did. Jeremy Cowan brewed well in a number of places and marketed brilliantly, establishing a state of the art brewery in upstate New York, but selling out in a few years and returning to the contract life. Mikkel Borg Bjergsø brewed superior contract beers– often at Belgium’s De Proef brewery– then opened bars to highlight his and other brewery’s craft beers and finally opened his own brewery in San Diego. AleSmith needed to expand and instead of tearing everything down, sold their old brewery to Mikkel and built a new brewery along side of it.
This is the first beer we’ve had from the Mikkeller’s San Francisco brewery and it’s a winner. “IHTBABS” condensed in our notes to “HTB” stands for “It’s hard to brew a bad stout” -and it is, but really good stouts may not have to worry as much about off flavors as brewers of pilsners, but balancing sweetness, chocolate, roasts and booze in a huge Imperial Stout requires a good deal of skill. Mikkeller’s worked with world-class brewers for years; it’s small wonder that he’s been able to reach world-class standards.
The Beer— Creamy and very rich. Dark malts, range from roast to some chocolate and toffee. Dark fruits mingle and richness rocks the remainder. Ellie found it unctuous (Ellie’s like unctuous) but ultimately hot. No one left any on the table.
Value — Definitely good value. Fairly big bucks for a big bottle. You get what you pay for for sure.
This week we focus on the US to highlight some great American craft beers, some of which we’ve found in researching out first US Beer publication: Brews and Snooze-– Breweries you can visit and walk back to a fine place to spend the night. Look for it in 2019.
Next week we return to HIGHLIGHTS OF EUROPE– Some of the great beers we’ve found in our European travels. A few may be some of the surprisingly good beer we’ve found in “bad beer cities” as we researched our next book – a guide to great beer in European tourist cities. (Planned publication 2019.) We’ll shift back to great American beer finds next week.
COMING IN DECEMBER: THE TEN BEST IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS. We count down to the New Year by thinking back of some of the greatest beers we’ve found in the last five years of hunting. These beers are in our top 0.2% of the beers we’ve tasted recently.