The new collaboration brew by San Diego saints Stone and Alesmith and Denmark droogie Mikkeller — a surprisingly gentle triple-like Belgian-ish beer without a name — raises more questions than it does answers. For starters, was it brewed in SD or the EU? Did the three brewers meet at one location with their respective suitcases of yeasts and malts, or was this “collaboration” really more of an inspiration? No way to know.
What we do know is that this bevvie is a departure, or maybe an arrival, for all three parties. If we’re to believe the 12 oz. bottle’s emotional scribble by Denmark golden boy Mikkel Bjergso, this beer is a tribute of sorts to the brewing inspiration he got from drinking American beers years ago. He writes about how his first love was yellow and fizzy, until his local pub started carrying west coast hard-asses like Stone and Alesmith. Depending on who you talk to, Mikkeller’s brewing has surpassed his masters, tackling all sorts of styles and taking up the mantle of in-your-face brewing.
That makes this beer all the more surprising. Visually, they have the “yellow and fizzy” down pat. Speaking viscosity, the stuff is light, cool and slips off the tongue more like a red-white-and-blue lager: What starts like a true triple finishes like a Michelob. Which is not to say that it tastes like one. We picked up a yeasty biscuit appertif resemblance and a Budweiser-sweet notes on top of deep Belgian buggies that spring forth carbonation.
At the end of the day, we’re to believe that this beer is the product of America’s sphere of influence, that Bjergso was so inspired by American know-how that he picked up home-brewing. And that may be true. But it’s funny how things go both ways: this “collaboration” is far more nuanced and gentle than anything we would have expected from a heavy-weight triumvarate that involves SD heavies like Alesmith and Stone. We were more ready for this kind of bottle description: “Stone brought some really fucking dank hops and Alesmith brought some really fucking heavy malts and Mikkeller brought some really fucking wild yeasts, and we fucked everything up, blah, blah, blah.” And instead we’re left with a gently bubbling nod toward tradition with a little new-American light shone on the old and tired and we’re left scratching our heads.
Dairy pairy: Mt. Townsend’s Sea Stack, a runny, ashed cow’s milk
Soundtrack: Questions Mark and the Mysterions’s “Ninety-six Tears”
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