Mikkeller are now well over ten years old and have gone from small gypsy micro-brewers in Copenhagen to a huge €4.5 million annual turnover brewery. In that time they have come up with some fantastical brews with them winning the “Danish Brewery of the Year” award in their inaugural year, 2006, and again in 2008; in 2009 the award was shared with Hornbeer. Mikkeller have also been judged the fifth best brewery in the world on two occasions, winning multiple awards, too. For example, a pale lager called The American Dream has won a RateBeer’s golden award in its category since 2012, and an imperial stout called Beer Geek Brunch Weasel has been in top 20 on RateBeer’s “Best Beers in the World” chart for six consecutive years, topping at number six in 2009.
We came across a special brew by these guys in a Scandinavian Beer Fest at North Bar in Leeds, a Raspberry Quadrupelbock BA. Not just their ‘standard’ Raspberry Quadrupelbock, but a barrel aged version; this one was the Brandy barrel aged one (they also do a bourbon version). The 375ml bottle came in at an eye-watering £23, however this only cemented it into the ‘must try’ category in my head as I perused the fantastic list of beers available. Could it really be worth that much, Mikkeller are good but really?
The beer issued forth from the bottle as a dark russet-brown liquid, foaming slightly into its light tan tightly packed head. Obvious notes of red fruit and sweetness are found in the aroma along with more subtle hints of caramel and breadiness. The initial flavour is raspberry, which is fairly obvious being a raspberry beer, however this raspberry actually has a real berry flavour to it that beers merely hint at. I could almost taste the pips with the intense fruitiness hitting you followed by the slightly sour notes that tingle the tongue and make your mouth water. This beer is brewed with lactose and that creaminess comes through very subtly, rounding the edges off the berry sharpness allowing other flavours like toffee and caramel to flow through, culminating in a slightly red wine richness in the aftertaste. Incredibly well-balanced this beer champions raspberry like no other raspberry beer has, I could taste my mums home-made raspberry jam in there; pips et al. Beautifully finished with the brandy notes melding the fruit qualities into the more malty toffee and caramels expertly. This beer is a 13% big hitter but this power is masked perfectly by the beautifully balanced flavours; rich, luxurious and thoroughly enjoyable. Yes it may have been expensive but I haven’t had a beer for some time that has made me sit back, relax and just take my time enjoying it like this one. Money well spent.