#OpenIt, Day 2
Mikkeller I Beat yoU – Part of a Mikkeller six-pack I bought for a song (the kind of song that runs you £24.99) at the Mikkeller Meet the Brewer event at Cask Pub and Kitchen last year. Far from the oldest bottle in my cellar, but I thought it would be good with food (and it was – read on!).
Look: Pours a dark, clear amber with a tiny fizzy head that’s soon gone.
Nose: Heavy, overripe fruit (grape – slightly vinous), a whiff of citrus.
Mouth: Is this the beer for which the term “Hop Bomb” was invented? Because it tastes – and I apologize for this term – paradigmatic. A quick citrus hit gives way to a mix of sweet dried/fresh tropical fruit – think candied pineapple mixed with canned apricot. There’s also some date and banana in there. Then the hop bitterness hits full force with resin and citrus dominating. And yet the alluring sweetness and malt body does not go away but remains the whole way through to balance the hop fireworks. This may be the IIPA to end all IIPAs. 5/5.
Bonus info: I had this with some delicious home made pizza and that turned out to be an unexpected FABPOW (Food And Beer Pairing Of the Week, for those of you not in the know). The pizza was rich, heavy and spicy, and the I Beat yoU had the nuts to stand up to it, and act as fresh palate cleanser between slices – the pizza meal equivalent to the pickled ginger of a sushi set. So this extreme beer worked surprisingly well with the pizza – I highly recommend the combo.
But that, dear readers, was only the beginning. After dinner, I prostrated myself in the direction of Yakima Valley, mumbled a prayer to the Holy Trinity (Mikkeller, Westvleteren, Stone), and reverently cracked open my Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout (2010), aged in the bottle for almost two years to the day. Then I peed myself with excitement, all my hair turned white, and one of my birthmarks took on the shape of Jean Van Roy’s face, because hey, that’s what Open It weekend is all about.
Look: Pours an oily, inky black that absorbs all light around it and bends it to its will. The total blackness swirls hypnotically in the glass, urging you to worship Satan and kill your family. There is no head, nor any recognizable carbonation, adding to the whole Washington Irving/H P Lovecraft feel.
Nose: Like dunking your head in bales of Madagascar vanilla – because I do that every week so I know what it smells like, and never mind how you actually dunk your head in a bale, of vanilla or any other plant, because that’s just how I roll, right? There’s also caramel, toffee, oak, and, oh yeah, bourbon.
Mouth: In the middle of my trip, seeing bat-winged coffee beans flapping all around me, I remember that before tasting it I thought “Oh, I’m sure there won’t be a lot of coffee flavour left after two years”. WRONG! A tiny barista parks a dark roast espresso dump truck on my tounge before magically transforming himself – and the dump truck – into a candy counter that would put a Brussels chocolate shop to shame: caramel, toffee and above all nougat, that wonderful combination of vanilla and hazelnuts. Then the coffee dump truck turns back into a barista, but this time it’s a hot chick barista wearing just a white barista apron, and I swear she makes eyes at me despite the fact that she can’t make eyes at me because SHE IS IN MY MOUTH. Then she gives me a final shot of bourbon and I pass out.
Or, as my father would say, “Oh yeah, this is a pretty nice beer.”