Sunday, 13 May 2012
Mikkeller In May
13. Struise / Mikkeller Elliot Brew 9.0%
'The hoppiest beer brewed in Belgium' is some statement, but this beer makes that claim and when Mikkeller are involved you know it might just be true. Checking in at 130 IBUs this is a cross between a strong Belgian blonde ale and the hoppy beer style associated Mikkeller, and was requested by Ratebeer.com to be the second in their Master Series. Brewed in Oostvleteren, Belgium, not a million miles away from the monastery that arguably produces the 'worlds best beer' - Westvleteren 12. De Struise take their name from the old Flemish word for Ostrich and one can be found on many of their beer labels, but in modern slang the term means 'tough'. Let's see how tough it is to drink.
It pours a beautiful red/amber/light caramel brown with a big tan head that takes an age to dissipate. Sugary caramel maltiness, soapy lemon and a touch of pine on the nose, it flows thicker than expected over the tongue with a rough and biting astringency from the hops. A bit hit of alcohol with a little leather and wet wood is swept away by some malty caramel. Then, with some purpose, in march some sticky orange and pine flavours soaking up the moisture and drying out the tongue with ruthless efficiency. The finish has a harsh dry yeastiness and a light malty bread flavour.
This is not at all what I was expecting, and I love it when a beer completely takes me totally by surprise. I picked this up at Tap East a couple of weeks ago, anxious to try more from the De Struise brewery after sharing a bottle of their wonderful Pannepot Gran Reserva with a good friend of mine. The 'hoppiest beer in Belgium' is much more malty and balanced than I could have anticipated and is so much the better for it. It's simply glorious.