Around Town with Amateur Drinker

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MBCC: first stop WarPigs

Apologies for a late report this month, but no prizes for guessing that May’s highlight was the Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen, MBCC.

After landing, it was straight to WarPigs for a Tired Hands TTO. Notable beers included Royal Double, a sushi rice DIPA, Individuation Sanguine sour red and Alien Church IPA. However, the real highlight was the atmosphere, drinking with brewers who had flown in for the event. Apparently we then finished at Fermentorem!

The festival itself was two sessions on Friday and two on Saturday, with most brewers bringing two beers per session, excepting a small section of up-and-coming that brought just one each. All free-pure, we were encouraged to try as many different small samples as possible, rather than concentrate on a few. Therefore, I apologise that this article might be a bit ‘listy’, as I remember so many wonderful drinks!

Prominent Friday Morning beers included 7venth Sun’s Anniversary Ale, a saison with chardonnay grapes and Everybody in the Pool, an exotic fruit Berliner weisse, Omnipollo’s Julie Triple Mango Crème Brule Lassi, Stillwater’s Gose Gone Wild Phuket, Jester King’s Atrial Rubicite raspberry sour, and Toolbox’s Cooper with Meyer lemon saison.

Superstition had two amazing meads, the Grand Cuvee and Coffee Marion. This style was to pop up a few times during MBCC. It is emphatically not the session-y UK honey beer that is too sweet to drink a lot of. It is much stronger, 12%+ ABV, and competes in the dessert wine category. Still very sweet, but to be sipped and savoured. The Coffee Marion was probably the best of the event as it combined the two classic after-dinner beverages. It felt like a new style that doubtless we’ll soon see British brewers imitating.

There were only a couple of beers that were so rare as to attracted large queues from the start and ran out early: The Three Floyds Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout and Bokkereyder Lambic. Both were stunning but it was nicer to begin four hours of drinking with the latter!

Other than that, there were not too many queues as the event. Logistics worked very well, including an excellent, easy-to-use MBCC App which listed all the beers that were pouring.

Friday afternoon saw a plethora of outstanding beers: 7venth Sun again shone with a kumquat oak fermented tart grislette and Score with Cheerleaders, another Berliner weisse. Alefarm’s Nordic grape barrel fermented saison with sour cherries. Alpha State’s Galaxy DIPA, American Solera’s sour cherry ale.  Brekeriet/local king/ jester king BA sour ale with raspberries, Cigar City’s Doublenut brown ale. Gigantic Pipewrench gin BA IPA. J Wakefield bourbon BA imperial stout with dulche de leche and Napabier’s Pumpkin Tzar

Overall, on the ‘Promising’ brewers stand, Stigbergets and Kees were the stand-outs, doubtless to be promoted into the main event next year! From a UK perspective, it was gratifying to see Cloudwater receiving such positive attention from a largely international crowd. Their DIPA’s were in deservedly strong demand

We were given an excellent goodie bag, including a free can of Mikkeller Celebration 2017, a glorious oak-aged sour ale with yuzu. There are a few cans still floating around London, and I advise anyone who hasn’t yet tried it, to do so.

In homage to the famous Likely Lads episode in which they tried to avoid the England result, Saturday morning was spent unsuccessfully trying to avoid discovering who had won MasterChef the night before.

Mikkel taking it easy on day one of MBCC

The beers that successfully took away the hangover included Angry Chair Rainbow Sherbet Berliner weisse, Flora Flora Fuyu, a saison, Half Acre’s Battle of Trenton, a wild Kentucky Common, an old-fashioned style that was very new to me, B Necktar’s graham encrusted version of their Apple Pi Mead and San Adairius’s Lucy Belle saison.

BRUS in all its glory

During lunch, the Editor and I visited BRUS Brewery, opened by To Øl in a disused iron factory in Nørrebro. The space was designed by Fleet Architects who also did Mason & Co. I confess that we had such a good time and bumped into so many notable faces from the London scene that we ended up making an afternoon of it, and criminally missed the final session.

However, that becomes a bit more forgivable when you see the pictured list!

Finally, Saturday night drunkenly ended at Mikkeller’s main bar. Overall the festival was unbelievably good and easily the best beer event I have attended. There was no music and the food was not intrusive which meant that everyone concentrated on the beer. LCBF and Beavertown Extravaganza should remember the former whilst GBBF should heed the latter.

Sunday was spent at Mikkeller Baghaven, their new barrel-aging venue on the outskirts of town, although your correspondent certainly did not participate in the Mikkeller Beer Mile Danish Championship Open

Arizona Wilderness and Monkish shared a TTO, but the undoubted highlight was a small truck with eight lines, selling halves of the leftovers from the festival’s kegs, properly random in that even they did not even know which each was, at just 10 Krone per half. This was brilliant fun, as everyone tried to guess what they were drinking! Terrific value too.

Back in Blighty, Good Beer Hunting broke the news that AB Inv had bought a stake in Ratebeer back in Oct last year (Read story here).

This led a few brewers absurdly asking to be removed from the site, completely forgetting the 1st Amendment. As this article went to press, the magazine did point out some worrying irregularities (Read story here) so it’s a story that’s worth watching.

Yeastie Boys poured the 2016 versions of two of their annual specials at The King’s Arms: His Majesty, a hoppy golden ale blended with 2-year wine-BA Cherry Ghost, a pale ale, and Her Majesty, fresh dark ale blended with the Cherry Ghost and a 3-year old wild PKB, a black IPA. Confusingly they were named the wrong way around at the pub, but I’m reliably told that’s right! Both were stunning.

At full production capacity in Tottenham, Beavertown announced that Redchurch would be contract brewing for them. As I’ve praised Mikkeller and Yeastie Boys, I clearly have no problem with such activities. However, they disclose a lot more detail (the Dane’s cans say Product of Belgium) and so Beavertown need to specifically tell us the exact provenance of every beer.

A Scandinavian theme this month at The Bottle shop as they separately hosted Dugges (Orange Haze IPA), To’Ol (Campale Grapefruit Blonde and Grätze Mille, a citrusy take on the Polish smoked wheat ale Grodziskie) and Omnipollo (Fatamorgana IPA). Controversially, The Bottle Shop now devotes two of its 12 taps to Prosecco and gin & tonic. Sacrilege!

Bagby went on a European Grand Tour after MBCC, with the London leg at The Cask, Pimlico. Unchartered Cherritory, a fruit beer, and two DIPA’s, Dinkus and Totally Coned stood out.

The last weekend of the month saw new DIPA’s launched from both sides of the river. Beavertown’s Humuloid was billed as the “natural extension” of the Lupuloid. In fact, it was just a New England DIPA trying way too hard to be fashionable, rather than naturally stylish. I much preferred Four Pure’s Hop Tripper, brewed with New Realm. (Beavertown’s other newbie, Psychotropic was excellent, containing a lot of favour for just 3.1% ABV)

I enjoyed Oude Beersel Oude Geuze and Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus at Mother Kelly’s Sour Power 4 weekend, held every year since their launch in 2014

If my 2017 round-up doesn’t have MBCC scooping awards, then we are truly in for a magnificent next seven months.

Reporting from the front-line – Amateur Drinker manages to get along to all the beer things you’d like to but couldn’t.