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Review: Mikkeller Red/White Christmas

While at The Craft Beer Company for the Meet the Brewer event the other day I also managed to sample some non-Camden Town beers. Craft is, literally, like a candy store for adults and I have zero willpower when it comes to temptation on tap. So, since there was a Mikkeller on tap that looked interesting…

Red/White Christmas is a blended beer: an Imperial Belgian Red Ale (is it just me or are beer style names sounding more and more like a Starbucks order? I’ll have an Imperial Mocha Skinny Stout, please) and a Belgian White Ale. There’s been a couple of beer blends coming from Mikkeller and his Danish colleagues/relatives recently – the last one I tried was the Yin & Yang Black & Tan (ABV 12.0) from Evil Twin, a blend of the Yin Imperial Stout and Yang Imperial IPA. That was, well, extreme, and while it was nice enough it bore little resemblance to the subtle refreshing blend of flavours that is a classic, normal-ABV Black & Tan.

Red/White Christmas is still an extreme beer (it weighs in at ABV 8.0) but I am happy to report that it is a lot more crowd-pleasing than its cousin. It pours very nicely, a light red, orange-but-not-quite-amber colour with some fizz but little head. The nose is a lot of Belgian caramel sweetness and a bit of yeast. The nose, however, did not at all prepare me for the very wine-like taste explosion that followed, with flavours ranging from fresh grape juice to oaky brandy. It has more than a little in common with that Mikkeller brett monster, Nelson Sauvignon (one of my all-time favourites) but as I said veers more toward brandy than wine, though the wine notes are there in the background. Plus, the Red/White Christmas also has a bit of a fruity hop kick at the end which reminds you that it is actually a beer.

The verdict: 4+/5.