Mega-Mikkeller madness at Norey’s [updated]

mikkk

Two years ago at the late, lamented Providence Phoenix, the Bottles & Cans desk crossed the Pell Bridge to hit some of the City by the Sea’s top beer stores and bars, which yielded a column titled “Beer On Broadway: Taking Newport by Storm.” We visited Bridge Liquors, Vickers’ Liquors, and Sandy’s Liquors [in Middletown], then headed to “state’s best walkable stretch of beer bars on the same side of the same road: it’s .3 miles from Pour Judgment [32 Broadway] to Malt [150] to Norey’s [156, literally next door]. [It’s .2 miles from Julian’s to the Avery to the E & O Tap, but those are on three different streets.]”

Here’s what we said about Norey’s: “It’s a sleek room with lots of delightfully funky touches [especially the diner-style stools at the bar]. [They have 21] taps and boast 125 or so jaw-dropping bottle offerings — an astounding selection of top-rated and ultra-rare beers. They say their list defines ‘beer due diligence.’ You can do your research or just dive in at random — either way, you’re in for a sublime experience.” [Here’s a link to the entire story, but be patient — it loads verrrrry slowly; the hamsters that power the ghost of thephoenix.com haven’t been fed in a while.]

noreyswallOn Friday [3.6], Norey’s will host a particularly sublime and rare experience: a Mikkeller Tap Takeover, featuring nine beers from the brewery that ranked third on RateBeer’s 2014 list of The Top Brewers In the World.

Here’s some background from the website of the Shelton Brothers, the Belchertown, MA-based distributors: “The story of Mikkeller is the story of two young homebrewers, who in a few years have excelled from hobby brewing at home in the kitchen to national and international recognition. Most recently, the two creators, Mikkel Borg Bjergsø and Kristian Klarup Keller, were named Danish brewery of the year and the fifth best brewery in the world in 2006…The success is partly due to the brewers’ focus on creating challenging beers that test the boundaries and where quality always comes before quantity. In other words, uncompromising beer. The brewers want to challenge the Danes’ taste buds with intense taste adventures, and the inspiration is found on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean where the American breweries aren’t afraid to play and break all the rules. Mikkeller wants to provoke some of this inventiveness in Danish beer brewing, so why not show the way?”

But there’s a wrinkle: Mikkeller is a “phantom” brewery — the beers are made in collaboration at different facilities all over the world. The New York Times explains: “[Bjergsø] draws up detailed instructions for these fabricators to follow — specifying malt quantity to the milligram, mash schedule to the minute, bitterness to the I.B.U. — and the first time he tastes his own beer is usually when the brewer sends him a shipment and an invoice. ‘I don’t enjoy making beer,’ he says. ‘I like making recipes and hanging out.’ ” [Here’s the link to the excellent 2014 story, “A Fight Is Brewing,” by JonahWeiner, with much more on Mikkeller and his identical twin, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, who runs the Brooklyn-based and cheekily-named Evil Twin Brewing.]

Here’s what’s on tap at Norey’s [most descriptions courtesy of the Sheltons and GreatBrewers.com; two substitute beers were added/changed on 3.7]:

1000IBU1000 IBU [American Double/Imperial IPA, 9.6% ABV] Mikkel says: “We do know about the difference in theory and actual measures and never stated to have brewed a beer with an actual IBU of 1000. When we brew a beer like ‘1000IBU’ it is a gimmick, yet it is also becourse we like to test the limits in brewing. A couple years ago we did a beer with a theoretical IBU of 2007 for a festival in Denmark. Some people hated it, some people liked it and one thing’s for sure — it did not taste like a 100, 200 or even 300 IBU beer…I tasted like chewing a hopfield…and I personally loved it.”

US Alive! [Belgian Wild Ale, 8%] Made with light candy; part of the wild ale series, which includes It’s Alright! and It’s Alive!

Black Hole [Russian Imperial Stout, 13.1%] “Daring, vulgar and extreme…The high bitterness from the hops and the sweetness from the malt and alcohol, creates a good balance which makes Black Hole an explosion of nuances, but also leaves a feeling of a perfect and complex beer in the heavyweight category.” Brewed with coffee, honey, and vanilla.

Årh Hvad?! [Belgian Pale Ale, 6.8%] “Årh Hvad” is Danish for ‘Say what?’ However, when pronounced in proper Danish, it also sounds a lot like the word ‘Orval,’ the Trappist brewery I’m sure you guys have heard of. Årh Hvad?! is Mikkeller’s interpretation of Orval, one of Mikkel’s favorite beers.

Orange Yuzu Glad I Said Porter [6%] Made with yuzu [a citrus fruit], wheat, and lactose.

Cream Ale [5%] “Brewed in collaboration with Revelation Cat Craft Brewing [Broadstairs, UK]. The beer is the house beer at famous beer bar Brasserie 4:20 in Rome. As its name implies, the Cream Ale is a cream ale. An ale fermented at a much lower temperature than usual, resulting in the body of an ale combined with lightness of a pilsner. This is an Italian, out-and-out ‘swill beer’ and one you do not even have to go to Rome to try.”

Plus: Raspberry Triplebock [13%]; Big Worster [American Barleywine, 18.3%]; Mosaic American Double [Imperial IPA, 8.9%]

The Mikkeller Tap Takeover will start at 4 pm. And if you can’t get there on Friday, don’t fret: some of the beers are expected to last beyond the weekend. It’s a great opportunity to stretch your beer boundaries.

Local winners in RateBeer’s Best of 2014, and more

rbbest-2015A few random notes and reads…

RateBeer has been rolling out its Best Awards for 2014, with lists of Top New Brewers, Best Beers In the World, and more. The results were calculated from scores posted by the site’s reviewers; two more lists are will be revealed on Thursday and Friday.

In the Best Places for Beer by Subregion category, three Rhode Island establishments took top honors: Julian’s [restaurant], Nikki’s [bottle shop], and Track 84 [bar]. [A brewpub winner was not included; brewer tap room and grocery don’t apply in RI.]

And in Top Beers, Brewers, New Brewers by Subregion, Foolproof’s Raincloud Porter was cited as top beer and Narragansett as top brewer [there was no entry for best new brewer].

Fresh beer: Rev up the sled and head to Exeter to get growler fills and tastings at Tilted Barn Brewery. They’ll have Half-Mile IPA and Winter Sol [a brown ale] for your sipping and purchasing pleasure.

And two diverse reads, if you have more Juno-related time to kill today:

How Great Divide and Sam Adams Decided Not To Fight Over the Whitewater Beer Name, by Jonathan Shikes @ Westword [“ ‘We’d always rather work together with a fellow craft brewer to come to an amicable solution and we were both able to do so here in a spirit of good will.’ ”]

And in case you missed it, the times they have a-really-changed: Bob Dylan Does the American Standards His Way, an exclusive interview by Robert Love from AARP The Magazine [“ ‘I don’t work at Rolling Stone anymore,’ I told them, thinking it was a case of crossed wires, since I put in 20 years there. No, they said, there’s no mistake; he wants to talk to your readers.”]

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