My Christmas Presents, part II

10 Jan

Mikkeller and Stillwater Artisanal: Two Gypsies – Our Side, A Collaborative Gypsy Ale 

This is an ale brewed in Maryland at Dog Brewing Company with Mikkeller and Stillwater Artisanal Ales.  Mikkeller is known for making great beer at different breweries throughout the world, hence the term gypsy.  This is the first beer I have had brewed at Dog Brewing or by Stillwater Artisanal,  collaboratively or not, but if any of the other beers from Mikkeller are any kind of predictor of the quality of this beer, I am in for a treat.  The other beers have all been excellent brews.  To add to my excitement over this beer, the side of the bottle says, “a new (beer) packed with piney, resinous hops and backed by the esters of a farmhouse yeast strain”.  My inner Homer says mmmmmmmm piney and resinous.  The beer clocks in at 7.5% in a 750mL bottle.  I took the beer out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before opening it.

Even with the gentlest pour down the side of the glass, it resulted in a thick two-inch head. But the beer was not over-carbonated.  The appearance was light brown in color and slightly cloudy.  The nose says it is definitely a farmhouse ale.  At first taste this is a big-bodied farmhouse ale.  However, it is slightly hoppier than one would expect from a more traditional farm house ale.  I do not get the piney hop, but it definitely finishes with a slightly sweet, resinous hop finish.  On further tastes, I notice the slight sweetness is probably the esters from the yeast. I find this really adds to the drinkability. While I like beers with a more pronounced fruitiness or spiciness, many times when the yeast adds this, the beer becomes a one pint and done beer. Even if you were happy you had the beer, afterwards you move on to something else.  This beer lends itself to three or more pints.

At this point, I have finished my first pint and I can feel the alcohol a bit.  So if the review goes south, its not my fault, I am just having a poor liver day.

If the mustiness that marks farmhouse ale puts you off, then this is not the beer for you.  The nose of the beer is strong, resinous, and very noticeable.  I personally liked it.  If a beer with sweetness is not your thing, then again, this beer is not for you.  For me, the sweetness elevated the farmhouse ale from a hot weather thirst quencher to a nice winter warmer. 

Overall this is another great beer from Mikkeller. And I admit, lesson learned: never judge a beer by what is written on the label (I thought this beer would be much hoppier, but I detected no piney hops). It may not be for everyone, but I like it, and would buy the next one I see from Mikkeller.

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