Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Don't count me as one of the MIKKELLER bad-mouthers. I don't care how ubiquitous the guy and his beers are; how he's a "gypsy" brewer and recipe-mailer; nor how certain FedEx ballers feel about the beer itself. 7 times out of 10, a Mikkeller beer is a very, very good beer, and 1 time out of 10 it's an out-and-out stunner. Here in San Francisco we have the good fortune to have the MIKKELLER BAR located in our town, and it just so happens to be a five-block walk from my current place of employ. I know there are plenty bars like this nationwide now, but this is truly a high-end beer dork's bar - with nothing but "rare" and "hot" beers on draft and in bottles, from today's up-n-comers from the SF Bay Area and around the world. Not merely Mikkeller beers, though that would be OK too.

I'm pretending like this was one single, long-overdue visit, but these short reviews actually encompass a couple trips, and I think I was there a few times last year as well. At least I sorta remember going. My pours this time/these times were all over the map, as you shall see presently:

MIKKELLER - "MASTODON MOTHER PUNCHER" - That's the somewhat fuzzy picture you're looking at here. It's a really, really tasty farmhouse IPA brewed with passion fruit. A little brett-y, with lots of yeast and something that really leans heavy on that passion fruit (which is not a taste you'd easily mistake for something else). A fruit-forward pale ale, and one that's not particularly hoppy. I'm into it. 8/10.

MIKKELLER - "BEER GEEK BREAKFAST BRUNCH BIG BLEND" - ....and I'm not into this. It's an oatmeal coffee stout at 8% ABV, and tastes even stronger and much more harsh than I'd like. Not good. Acidic and way too coffee-dependent. Creamy on the tongue, totally a chore in the mouth. 5/10.

MIKKELLER - "RED/WHITE CHRISTMAS" - Hats off to Mikkel. He's now brewed the single best thing from him I've ever had - and I don't think this is a new beer at all, in fact I'm sure I've seen it on the shelves. "Red/White Christmas" is a gorgeous orange/caramel/fruit ale, with lots of Belgian yeast and a big malt profile. An absolutely perfect mix of flavors and one I couldn't stop marveling at as I was drinking it. Will be looking for big bottles of this to store away for the next several Xmases. 10/10!

So you're looking at my beer list and thinking, "Jay, I thought you said there were other brands competing for share of wallet at Mikkeller Bar". Oh yass. I just happened to only try one of 'em this time, and it was

CELLARMAKER - "MO' NELSON" - I'm such a heel, it's been two years and I still haven't set foot inside San Francisco's Cellarmaker Brewing, despite enjoying everything of theirs I've tried on draft at various establishments (which, granted, is probably three beers total). This one's an IPA spotlight on the interplay between mosaic and nelson hops. It's a highly-carbonated, tingly ale - really juicy, but still more piney than citrus - and is so delicious. Total stud IPA. Getting my growler clean & ready as I type. 9/10.

So not bad - one dud and three stunners. Book your own trip there today.

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