#2020BlackJanuary – a homage to all kinds of black beers

Since oktober last year I have been part of an Instagram community called BeerBloggersDK. BeerBloggersDK are 11 Instagrammers posting about beer and all of them are from Denmark.

What we mostly post is things related to a certain hashtag. In January 2020 we wanted to do something different from the widespread “Dry January” or “White January”. We quickly agreed on a homage to black beers of all kinds – not only stouts and porters but every beer that is black or nearly black in color. To make it Instagram-friendly we used the hashtag #2020BlackJanuary for the event. If you want to check out what BeerBloggersDK and others posted for this event go to Instagram and search for #2020BlackJanuary.

In January I managed to post 23 different black beers with the best being difficult to point out. I had more than one great black beer from Belgian De Struise Brouwers with different versions of Black Albert being super tasty – Cuvée Delphine, Black Damnation XXVI – Froggie and Black Damnation II – Mocha Bomb were the best!

The best #2020BlackJanuary beer for me was Rocky Mountain Barrel-Aged T.O.R.I.S. the Tyrant Triple Oatmeal Imperial Stout by Hoppin’ Frog Brewery.

The viscosity of this beer is crazy! It’s like thick motor oil from a worn-out beat-up engine. The aroma is amazing too – it’s dark chocolate fudge, bourbon, charred oak, vanilla, molasses, and roasted malt. The taste of this beer is awesome – dark chocolate fudge brownie, bourbon, coffee, molasses, vanilla, caramel, umami, charred oak, soya sauce, and then bourbon again! Rocky Mountain Barrel-Aged T.O.R.I.S. the Tyrant Triple Oatmeal Imperial Stout is smooth like crazy and incredibly tasty. The Rocky Mountain barrels make it boozy and then not boozy at all!
Everything in this beer is just right!

It’s not B.O.R.I.S.!

It’s not D.O.R.I.S. (double B.O.R.I.S.)!!

It’s T.O.R.I.S. (triple B.O.R.I.S.) and then some!!

This big barrel-aged imperial stout is kind of old school but tasty as hell and it might possibly be the biggest, thickest and meanest imperial stout I’ve had in a long time. It might even be the meanest yet.
This beer is without a doubt what barrel-aged imperial stouts are supposed to be like – motor-oil-thick, smooth, bittersweet and downright tasty! I want more!!!

With Rocky Mountain Barrel-Aged T.O.R.I.S. the Tyrant Triple Oatmeal Imperial Stout in mind I think it’s safe to say that #2020BlackJanuary is a succes that hopefully will return in January 2021.

Mikkeller Baghaven Wild Ale Celebration 2020

This past weekend was all about the new beer festival Mikkeller Baghaven Wild Ale Celebration on Refshaleøen in Copenhagen.

We arrived about 30 minutes before opening and got a good spot in the que just next to Bokke’s stand. When the “doors” opened and people ran in we managed to secure two samples of the Bokke beers.

The first Bokke sample was Pjassel 2018 – a complex and super tasty blend of 1, 2 & 3 year old lambic with red vineyard peaches from the Mosel wine region.

The other Bokke sample was Steengaard 2018 – a blend of 1, 2, and 3 year old lambic with apricots, white peaches, würzer grapes and white muscat grapes. This beer is just about as good as beer gets!

Pjassel 2018 and Steengaard 2018 in the background

Following the Bokke beers we tried loads of great sour beers and one of the best and most surprising beers was the coffee-loaded dark sour “Mutational Meltdown” by Supertition Artisan Ales.

Mutational Meltdown is described as a Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged Dark Sour w/ Coffee, Vanilla, Cocoa Nibs & Orange zest. The aroma of this beer made me think of a great imperial stout but from the first sip there was no doubt that this was a super tasty beer with loads of taste impressions in every sip. This is everything that I like in a beer – great taste and a great many different experiences in a glass.

Speciation Artisan Ales also served the great Recombination – a wine barrel aged sour with Aronia, Lime, Orange, and Pomegranate. I don’t think I have ever been disappointed by the beers from Speciation Artisan Ales and Mitch is always friendly a ready to pose for a picture.

Recombination and Mutational Meltdown
Mitch from Speciation Artisan Ales

I know that many people have complained about the location but I found no real problems. A bit more space and a few more seats would have been nice but I know from some people that attended the late Saturday session that space and lack of seats was a real problem. Let’s hope it’s because this was the first time the location was used for a beer festival and that it will be changed for the next Mikkeller Baghaven Wild Ale Celebration.

The level of the festival beers make me hope that Mikkeller Baghaven Wild Ale Celebration will return next year. If so I’m sure I’ll be back for another day of drinking some of the world’s best wild ales.

Pjassel 2018 by Bokke and Steengaard 2018 in the background

Lervig – en aften i godt selskab

This blog post is in Danish since the Lervig tasting session was a Danish thing. Use Google Translate if you want to read it – thanks for understanding.

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Den 23. januar drog jeg fra Silkeborg mod Hotel Shaumburg i Holstebro, hvor Danske Ølentusiasters lokalafdeling havde lokket Lervigs danske direktør Anders Kleinstrup til at komme og fortælle om bryggeriet og deres øl. Anders Kleinstrup fortalt med stor passion om bryggeriet, hvor han har arbejdet, som direktør i en årrække. Det var tydeligt for tilhørerne at Anders brænder for det projekt han er en del af og at han har mange ideer og tanker om hvor Lervig skal bevæge sig hen i fremtiden. Den godt tre timer lange fortælling om Lervig og deres øl blev ledsaget af intet mindre en ti smagsprøver på bryggeriets øl.

De første tre øl vi smagte var:

Første smagsprøve var No Worries, som en moderne alkoholfri IPA på 0,5%. No worries havde en behagelig aroma af humle og korn. Smagen var med behagelige humlenoter, noget bitterhed, søde indslag og en note af brød. En velsmagende alkoholfri øl, selvomden var en anelse tyndbenet i mundfylden.

Den anden øl vi smagte var core-range-øllen Lucky Jack, en meget let drikkelig pale ale med en aroma af citrusfrugter, hyldeblomst og lidt fersken. Smagen var præget af grapefrugt,appelsin, hyldeblomst, malt/brød og en let bitterhed. En yderst behagelig øl – kunne være en slå-græs-øl i den kommende sommer!

Tredje øl i rækken var den frisktappede Easy – en dobbelt tørhumlet pale ale på 4,5%. Easy giver fuld gas på Citrahumle med aroma af tropiske frugter, blomster og citrus. Smagen bærer præg af ananas, mango, andre tropiske frugter og citrus. En blød og behagelig øl.

De tre første smagprøver var et meget godt billede på hvilket projekt Lervig har gang i i øjeblikket. Der er fart over feltet med åbninger af egne værtshuse i Bergen og i hjembyen Stavanger og snart kommer der også en brewpub med barrel room og plads til eksperimenter i Stavanger. Brewpubben skal efter planen brygge ca. 50.000 liter øl om året. Farten ses også i antallet af nye øl der bliver lanceret. I 2019 blev der sendt 39 nye øl på markedet og ligeså mange samarbejdsbryg!

Siden 2016 har der været et øget fokus på designet af Lervigs produkter, efter at bryggeriet ansatte sin egen designer – nemlig danske Nanna Guldbæk, som er ansvarlig for det nye look, som efterhånden er blevet indfaset på alle øl.

Selv om der kommer mange nye øl hvert år, så fortalte Anders Kleinstrup også, at der altid er ca. 20 lagerførte produkter på bryggeriet, da der er enkelte markeder der kræver en stadig forsyning af enkelte Lervigøl. For eksempel sendes der betragtelige mængder Lucky Jack til det italienske marked.

De næste fire ølvi smagte var også i den humlede afdeling:

Tasty Juice var aftenens fjerde øl. Tasty Juice er lidt af en Lervig klassiker – en dobbelt tørhumlet IPA på 6,0% med en aroma af tropiske frugter, citrus og humle. Smagen er humlet med frugtige indslag af citrus og ananas med en underliggende frugtig sødme. En velsmagende øl i ny design.

Femte øl var igen helt frisktappet. Det er IPA’en Supersonic, som mange sikkert kender i den oprindelige hvide dåse med lysegrønne striber. At Supersonic var frisktappet gav fuld smæk på aromaerne af mango, grapefrugt, ananas og fyrenåle. Smagen var af humle, modne tropiske frugter, grapefrugt og en god sødme. En blød og smooth øl med høje nydefaktor.

Øl nummer seks var den relativit nye glutenfrie dobbelt tørhumle IPA It’s not me, It’s you, som er brygget i samarbejde med Verdant. Det er uden tvivl en af de bedste glutenfrie øl jeg har smagt. Aromaen var frugtigog sød med massere af ananas. Smagen var præget af citrusfrugter, tropiske frugter og en ret velafbalanceret sødme.

Syvende øl på aftenen var den lidt finurlige Orange Velvet. En IPA med mango, lime, lactose og vanilje – vel nærmest en milkshake IPA? Aromaen var tung af vanilje og med appelsin og noget der mindede om mælk…? Smagen var som vaniljesukker og koldskål. Efter min smag en øl med for meget vanilje og laktose, hvis den skulle være rigtigt god.

Herefter skiftede smagningen gear. De fleste deltager var efterhånde i lettere løftet stemning og snakken flød lystigt. Anders Kleinstrup svarede på mange spørgsmål fra forsamlingen og sende de sidste tre øl i omløb på samme tid.

De sidste tre øl var:

En vellagret øl med et par år på bagen blev hevet frem som nummer syv, da Anders Kleinstrup kunne fortælle at aftens udgave af Konrad Stout på 10,4% var en han havde fundet frem fra lagret, så vi kunne få lov at smage den med en noget nær optimal alder. Aromaen var af portvin, sherry, chokolade, tørret frugt og kaffe. Smagen ligeledes af portvin og sherry med indslag af rom, chokolade, malt, soyasovs og lakrids – en dejlig øl!

Niende og næstsidste øl var den relativt nye Pastry stout Toasted Maple Stout på 12,0% med en tung aroma af ahornsirup, noget kaffe, vanilje og chokolade. Smagen var igen præget af ahornsirup med sødme, brændt karamel, mørk chokolade og nødder som behagelige indslag – igen en ualmindeligt dejlig øl!

Aftenens sidste øl var den altid dejlige 3 Bean Stout med vanilje-, tonka- og kakaobønner – igen en øl på 12,0%. Aromaen er tydeligt præget af tonka bønner og kakao – nærmest overvældende tonka! Smagen er igen præget af tonkabønnen, men nu er det mere kanelnoterne end vaniljenoterne der ligger forrest. Bagved disse smage kommer behagelige indspark af kakao, vanilje og kaffe. En virkelig vellavet øl, som formår at balancere i de heftige tilsætninger fra de tre bønner.

De tre sorte øl satte et flot punktum på en ualmindeligt god aften i godt selskab med direktør Anders Kleinstrup fra Lervig Aktiebryggeri. Fortællingerne var gode, øllene det samme og man sad med en fornemmelse af at Anders Kleinstrup havde forsamlingen, på Hotel Schaumburg i Holstebro, i sin hule hånd. Tak til Danske Ølentusiasters lokalafdeling i Holstebro for at skabe dette arrangement. Det var i den grad værd at køre efter.

Slutteligt får I lige et billede af alle aftenens øl startende fra højre mod venstre:

Som en bonus kommer her et billede af mig selv og Anders Kleinstrup fra Lervig:

A new year in beer

My new “A Word On Beers” stickers.

Another year has passed and many great experiences with the people of the Danish craft beer community has been enjoyed. I’m grateful for meeting so many of you nice people at so many different events and I hope to meet even more of you in 2020. And where should we meet then?

The first event I will attend is the Mikkeller Baghaven Wild Ale Celebration 2020. I will be there for the red session Saturday the 8th of February from 12 till 16. I’m really looking forward to this event since the brewery lineup is great so far. Confirmed breweries at the moment are:

  • Hill Farmstead
  • Oud Beersel
  • Burning Sky
  • Æblerov
  • Bokke
  • Juguetes Perdidos
  • Boon
  • Oxbow
  • 2nd Shift
  • De Garde Brewing
  • Casey Brewery and Blending
  • Jester King
  • Lindemans Brewery
  • Boulevard Brewing
  • Sour Cellars
  • Tired Hands Brewing Company
  • Highland Park Brewing
  • Perennial Artisan Ales
  • Transient Artisan Ales
  • Plan Bee Farm Brewery
  • Rare Barrel
  • Bofkont
  • Funk Factory Geuzeria
  • Cerveza Granizo
  • Speciation Artisan Ales
  • Zomerdijk Brewing & Blending
  • Mikkeller Baghaven
  • Mikkeller San Diego
  • Mikkeller

With a brewery lineup like that I think it should be possible to find something to enjoy. I don’t think I’m able to pick a few breweries as favorites but I’m particularly interested in beers from Hill Farmstead, Speciation Artisan Ales, Rare Barrel, Sour Cellars, Plan Bee Farm Brewery, Perennial Artisan Ales, Bokke, Jester King, and De Garde Brewing. Please tell me if there’s something I just have to taste?

In May 2020 I’ll be going to another Mikkeller event since I’ll be in Copenhagen for the Mikkeller Beer Week and especially Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen. I’ll be attending sessions both Friday and Saturday with my wife -and as we did last year we’ll team up with Anders Ousen from the Danish beer blog Ousen om øl and Rene from Beershoppen in Kolding for the early session on Saturday. Not many breweries have been announced yet but I’m sure it will be a great festival once again.

If you haven’t bought a ticket it’s about time since three of the four sessions are sold out. The yellow session, Friday, May 8th, is still available and Pink and Gold tickets for the full festival experience are also still available. You can find tickets here.

I’m sure 2020 will not only bring Mikkeller events. If Beers Behind Bars in Horsens is repeated I’ll sure like to go again. And no doubt that Rowdy Hops in Aarhus will be in my calendar again this year if I’m lucky enough that there will be a second festival. Last year’s Rowdy Hops was phenomenal -both beers and atmosphere considered.   

Besides all the beer festivals I’m sure I’ll be part of numerous great tasting sessions throughout 2020 with friends as well as in the local part of Danske Ølentusiaster in Silkeborg where I live. I’ll also be conducting some tasting sessions when people ask me to do so. Ask me if you want me to conduct a tasting session for you and your friends  🙂

I’m sure 2020 will be a great year of beer! What do you expect in the world of beer in 2020? – Go to my Facebook page and tell me in the comments to this post

December 24th – A Word On Beers X-mas Calendar

December 24th and this is what was in my two X-mas calendars:

🎄The Great Mikkeller X-mas Calendar🎄

Guavaja by Mikkeller Baghaven – Huge funky Brettanomyces in the nose with some fruitiness. Taste is acidic in a very balanced way. The 38 months in the French oak foeder has worked magic. The guava addition is just about right and oak is just a faint note – all-in-all it makes this beer a big pleasure to drink.

🎄My wife’s homemade X-mas calendar🎄

70K Amburana Wood Barrel Aged by Against The Grain Brewery – This is pure enjoyment – Aromas of coconut, wood, chocolate, coffee and roasted malt. Taste is coconut, dark chocolate, a bit of coffee, and barrel flavors in the nicest way possible. This is smoothness and pure unspoiled enjoyment from first to the last sip. It doesn’t get much better than this! This is hygge in a bottle – liquid happiness once again!

Today is the last day of my two X-mas calendars but what a day! Both beers are extremely tasty. Guavaja is all that you would want from a wild ale. Flavors are very balanced and it’s just a joy to drink it. 70K Amburana Wood Barrel Aged is really what you would expect from a perfect barrel-aged imperial stout. This is all that I could ever want for Christmas. 

All through December, I’m opening my two X-mas beer calendars. The two calendars are The Great Mikkeller X-mas Calendar and my wife’s homemade X-mas calendar.

This was all from my X-mas calendar – Merry Christmas!

December 23rd – A Word On Beers X-mas Calendar

December 23rd and this is what was in my two X-mas calendars:

🎄The Great Mikkeller X-mas Calendar🎄

St. Mikkelas by Mikkeller Brewing NYC – Belgian yeast phenols, ginger, cinnamon and raisins in the nose. Taste is heavy cinnamon and quite a lot of alcohol and ginger. This beer is somewhat dry and has a kind of acidic twang. Not the tastiest beer, but a fair try at the style. Next time: Go easy on the spices!

🎄My wife’s homemade X-mas calendar🎄

Chocolate Marion by Superstition Meadery – Honey, cocoa, raspberries and a bit of blackberry in the aroma. Taste is huge redberry-flavors and honey with some cocoa right behind them. Behind all this berry galore is a nice acidity that makes this mead highly drinkable. This is a truly great glass of mead and I would so much want to be able to afford more of it – It’s liquid happiness!

Christmas beers are often a question of hit or miss – St. Mikkelas is sadly mostly a miss. The base beer is okay, but spices are over-done to my taste. Spices in a beer should only be a hint that intrigues you and makes you think: What is that thing? The Superstition mead, on the other hand, is absurdly tasty and makes me long for more – I have only had a few experiences with Superstitions Meadery meads but they have all blown me away with their huge flavors and incredible balance between honey and fruit-additions. I want more! 

All through December, I’m opening my two X-mas beer calendars. The two calendars are The Great Mikkeller X-mas Calendar and my wife’s homemade X-mas calendar.

See you tomorrow!

December 22nd – A Word On Beers X-mas Calendar

December 22nd and this is what was in my two X-mas calendars:

🎄The Great Mikkeller X-mas Calendar🎄

Riesling People by Mikkeller – Citrus, and riesling in the nose with a tiny hint of pine. Taste is riesling and citrus with nice wine-like acidity. The feeling when drinking this beer is refreshment and summertime in the sun. The juicy fruity flavors make me long for summer and the nordic light. This time of year – and especially today when it’s solstice – summer is very far away. This beer is so much summer in a bottle.

🎄My wife’s homemade X-mas calendar🎄

Gouden Carolus Whisky Infused by Brouwerij Het Anker – Aroma is so much like the incredible Gouden Carolus Cuvée van de Keizer Imperial Dark but with a slight note of the added Gouden Carolus Single Malt whisky – it’s bread, plum, raisin, sugar, and some chocolate. Taste is amazingly balanced velvety creamy Belgian strong dark ale with fruity notes of plum, raisin, vanilla, oak, and chocolate. This is surely a beer for the Emporer.

No doubt that Riesling People is a tasty beer but today it is nothing against Gouden Carolus Whisky Infused! The balance and everything else is just perfect in this Belgian marvel! This is what beer is supposed to be – pure enjoyment! If I could choose one one beer for the rest of my life, this one would definitely be a contender. If you have the chance at some point, treat yourself a visit to Brouwerij Het Anker in Mechelen in Belgium. The brewery and thier B&B is so much worth a visit.

All through December, I’m opening my two X-mas beer calendars. The two calendars are The Great Mikkeller X-mas Calendar and my wife’s homemade X-mas calendar.

See you tomorrow!

December 21st – A Word On Beers X-mas Calendar

December 21st and this is what was in my two X-mas calendars:

🎄The Great Mikkeller X-mas Calendar🎄

Scour Scandinavia Spontan Seabuckthorn by Mikkeller – Funky Brettanomyces, oak and vanilla-like aromas from the Seabuckthorn. Taste very tart, probably due to the Seabuckthorn. Oak is definitely present along with Brettanomyces funk. This is a nicely dry and quite complex fruited lambic. To really appreciate this beer I think you have to like the quite unique flavor of Seabuckthorn.

🎄My wife’s homemade X-mas calendar🎄

The Only Way To Deal With The Currant Issues by Evil Twin Brewing NYC – Amazing red color. Aroma of red berries, jam, and fruited yogurt. Taste is a bit acidic, but nothing overwhelming – Ripe red berries are the main thing followed by a flavor of lime zest and a satisfying mouthfeel and nice soft carbonation. A super tasty beer!

For a sour beer lover like me the beers today are just right. The Only Way To Deal With The Currant Issues by Evil Twin Brewing NYC is everything you would want from a fruited sour beer with just about the right amount of both fruit, hops and acidity. On the other side, Scour Scandinavia Spontan Seabuckthorn by Mikkeller has that extra level of complexity from the oak and the Seabuckthorn. Maybe it’s the Seabuckthorn or maybe it’s just the Brettanomyces funk – I don’t know – but Scour Scandinavia Spontan Seabuckthorn is not as balanced as The Only Way To Deal With The Currant Issues. I like both beers a lot but forced to choose I’ll go with The Only Way To Deal With The Currant Issues as my favorite beer today.

All through December, I’m opening my two X-mas beer calendars. The two calendars are The Great Mikkeller X-mas Calendar and my wife’s homemade X-mas calendar.

See you tomorrow!

December 20th – A Word On Beers X-mas Calendar

December 20th and this is what was in my two X-mas calendars:

🎄The Great Mikkeller X-mas Calendar🎄

Mikkeller Sake Bomb by Mikkeller – Aroma of something like jasmine rice, bread and a bit of alcohol. Taste is rather sweet with quite a lot of floral flavors. Some alcohol is present maybe because of the quite dry feeling. A crisp beer, but still with a somewhat soft mouthfeel and an alcohol-like sweetness as a finishing note.

🎄My wife’s homemade X-mas calendar🎄

Oude Gueze Boon à l’Ancienne – Vat 108 Mono Blend by Brouwerij Boon – Super nice aromas of fruit, funk, and wood meets the nose. Taste is highly fruity with Brettanomyces funk, wood and tiny notes of bread. Complexity is high in this gueuze lambic. I officially a fan of Vat 108.

My god this Oude Gueze Boon à l’Ancienne – Vat 108 Mono Blend is tasty. The complexity of the fruit, oak, and funky Brettanomyces flavors is amazing. It’s tart and dry and yet fruity like few others. This is one of those bottles that you just don’t want to finish and hope that there is just another glass left. Mikkeller Sake Bomb is by far the best rice lager I have had, but the highly floral flavors and the crisp and dry feeling is not enough to make me want this one over the Boon beer. Vat 108 is amazing – If you like gueze lambic, this is a beer you should treat yourself.   

All through December, I’m opening my two X-mas beer calendars. The two calendars are The Great Mikkeller X-mas Calendar and my wife’s homemade X-mas calendar.

See you tomorrow!

December 19th – A Word On Beers X-mas Calendar

December 19th and this is what was in my two X-mas calendars:

🎄The Great Mikkeller X-mas Calendar🎄

Limbo Raspberry by Mikkeller – Raspberry and blackcurrants in the nose. Taste is huge raspberry and blackcurrant flavors with a nice underlying acidity. I quite like this fruity Flemish Primitive – it’s almost like a refreshing summer lemonade for a hot summer day. In fact, this beer would be perfect on a hot summer day or for one of those first sunny spring days. A super nice non-alcoholic beer.

🎄My wife’s homemade X-mas calendar🎄

A Fire By the Bines by Cloudwater Brew Co. – Aroma is juicy as few others with papaya, honeydew melon, and lemon. Mouthfeel is very creamy and full-bodied with a super soft carbonation and taste is full-blown papaya and lemon zest followed by some resinous pine. This is an awesome double New England IPA – again not an overwhelmingly sweet DIPA. This is how I like my DIPAs.

Fruit flavors are all over the place in today’s beers. Limbo Raspberry is probably the best non-alcoholic beer I have ever had. Fruit flavors are huge and in many ways, it reminds me of my grandmother’s homemade lemonade – a very tasty beer. A Fire By the Bines is equally as fruity but carried by the hop flavors of papaya and honeydew melon. It’s double New England IPA in that non-cloying and tasty way that I like very much. Bitterness is not overwhelming in any way, but still enough to make this beer very easy to drink. The very full-bodied feeling makes this a mouth-covering experience in the nicest way possible. I admit it, I like hazy, juicy, fruity, hoppy beers!

All through December, I’m opening my two X-mas beer calendars. The two calendars are The Great Mikkeller X-mas Calendar and my wife’s homemade X-mas calendar.

See you tomorrow!