It seems like everywhere you look these days, there is a beer tasting of some sort. Many of these are fun, but most lack anything special and are just set up to draw consumers in hopes that they fill their shopping carts. As a fan of craft beer, the tasting is something I’ve made myself very familiar with, and always try to check out, especially if the offerings are things I’ve yet to try.
That’s why I jumped at the chance to attend a Mikkeller tasting at The Party Source in Newport, Kentucky last weekend. Not only is Mikkeller a highly thought of brewer, but I had yet to try more than three or four of their beers.
The tasting was on Saturday afternoon at 2pm, and I showed up on time to find a small group (only 20 were allowed) of fellow tasters ready to dive in. Danny Gold was hosting the occasion, and is in charge of the massive beer selection at The Party Source, which for those unfamiliar, is one of, if not the best bottle shop in the Greater Cincinnati area.
Everyone had seats prepared for them with a listing of the beers we would be tasting, along with a nice spread of cheeses, meats, some goose pate, olives and chips and salsa. Tasty palate cleansers for the voyage ahead. At this point I was already certain that this could be the best tasting I had attended, and I had yet to swig a beer.
And sure enough, it didn’t dissapoint. Danny ran 100 miles an hour filling our sample cups, answering questions and explaining why he chose what he did, and even why they were ordered the way they were.
So, let’s get to the beer already! Here are the beers we sampled, and my notes of those that stood out.
Mikkeller tasting list:
Tiger Baby: Open Windows Open Hills: Mango smoothness made this an awesome yet easy introduction. Afterwards the other tasters cleaned the Party Source out of this one.
Dream Pils: A personal favorite. This was as hoppy and floral as a Pilsner gets. A fantastic pilsner, might be my favorite within that style overall.
Hoppy Easter: German style IPA, didn’t do much for me.
I Beat yoU: This double IPA was the first of many many hop bombs to come, and is very tasty. Plenty of different hop strings flowing here.
Hop Burn High: Another winner, great looking hazy tangerine appearance and it tastes almost as good as it looks. Another double IPA success.
It’s Alright!: Belgian pale that was refreshing and very slightly tart. Reminded me of a lower ABV Rayon Vert, which I adore.
Ok, now we are really rolling. Danny is pouring and I’m just trying to keep up and not let my palate lose all consciousness. Up next it was the Mikkeller Single hop series. If you didn’t already know it, Mikkeller has a series of single hop IPAs. The same base IPA recipe is used, hopped with a different hop. For the tasting we got to try eight different ones side by side….by side. My notes trail off here, I just remember the ones that really stood out.
Single Hop Series
Single Hop Bravo IPA
Single Hop Tomahawk IPA: Grapefruity and floral, excellent.
Single Hop Citra IPA: I’m a Citra fan, but this wasn’t as aromatic and flavorful as I’d hoped, palate starting to fail?
Single Hop Summit IPA: Not a fan of Summit hops, this confirmed it.
Single Hop Simcoe IPA: Wait, my palate is back! Simcoe to the rescue! This is amazing!
Single Hop Apollo IPA: Eh, not an Apollo fan.
Single Hop Centennial IPA
Single Hop Sorachi Ace IPA: Somehow, I can still taste this, and it’s pretty good, medium level of enjoyment.
After the hop assault, we were finally finished. Or were we? Danny had one more special brew to crack open and it was worth the wait.
Mikkeller Porter: Dark fruits with a sweet booziness and this is just an amazing porter. It’s just malty enough too without being overwhelming. One of the best saved for last.
Overall my favorites were…..
Dream Pils, It’s Alright, Tiger Baby Open Windows, Single Hop Simcoe, Single Hop Sorachi Ace, and of course, the Porter.
A great tasting at Party Source and a job well done by Mr. Gold. If you are in the area and get an opportunity to attend one of their tastings, be prepared for a great, well thought out event.