surly + mikkeller + brettanomyces
The recent collaboration between Surly and Mikkeller is making waves due to the high profile nature of both companies. As the name suggests, the Bret Mikkel’s IPA is a funky beer that takes advantage of both hops and brettanomyces.
Neither brewery is a stranger to collaboration.
Mikkeller is based in Copenhagen and has no facility of their own. Danish brewer Mikkel Bjergsø travels internationally to work in the brewhouses of others, a practice often referred to as “gypsy brewing”. Mikkeller produces beer independently or in collaboration with their hosts.
Minnesota has not been privileged to have much in the way of Mikkeller, although some of their beer has been available in Wisconsin. Their distribution depends on their collaborators (one benefit of working together is garnering a larger audience).
Surly’s Blakkr, a huge box office hit, introduced many Minnesotans to the concept of beer collaborations and proved that three breweries (Real Ale, Three Floyds) can come together in the name of death metal.
Bret Mikkel’s IPA marks the Danish brewery’s first Minnesota beer.
The honey malt, though, does quite a bit to balance the bitterness that would otherwise dominate. While the finish is dry, there is a mild sweetness that pulls funk and citrus together.
The most impressive thing about this beer is the symphony. Some hoppy beers that also showcase wild or sour elements can feel disjointed. Similarly, collaboration beers have been known to drink like a black and tan – two completely different voices in one glass.
Melodies and harmonies overlay and intertwine beautifully in this case.