Monday, 28 May 2012

Mikkeller In May
23. Mikkeller Spontanale 5.3%

Those of you who have followed my Mikkeller adventures will know that I normally start off with a description of how it was brewed, what it contains, or some irrelevant aside.
On this occasion I want you to look at the picture first.
Have a good look.

I know.
It really is a thing of beauty.
This beer is simply stunningly beautiful to look at.
Some beers smell enticing, some have the most wonderful taste that keep you coming back for sip after sip, but this ... it's gorgeous, and I've not even tasted it yet.
This is a gueuze, a spontaneously fermented beer using airborne yeast in Belgium, possibly at Cantillon however I have been unable to positively confirm this. It is Mikkellers first attempt at the style, matured in oak barrels 'for years', and blended and is 'in all ways produced according to the rules'.
It pours, as you can see the most beautiful (that word again) golden amber, it glows and looks wonderfully fresh, with a highly carbonated pure white head. The aroma is pure sour green apples, resonant of a good quality dry cider with the merest hint of vanilla, or more correctly vanillin, which you would expect from something aged in oak. Bitingly sour over the tongue, a huge array of fruit juices assault the palate. There's sour apples naturally, but also peach juice, white grape, tomato juice (really wasn't expecting that !), grapefruit, tangerine and a splash of pineapple, all fresh, refreshing, zingy, tart, sour, mellow and smooth all at the same time.
You've read all those and thought "Really Justin?". Well, I read them back myself and thought the same thing, so went back again, and again, and again to check, and yes, they really are all there. This is absolutely wonderful. There is a light resonance of the juicy sourness in the finish but to be honest it really doesn't matter. The look, the smell and the taste are sublime. Mikkeller's first attempt at a gueuze and they've nailed it, and some.
Here's something else, looking at the bottle cap for the best before date, it says 14/04/21. That means they assume it will continue to develop and mature in the bottle for some time to come if kept cool and out of the sun. I would recommend getting a great load to serve at a barbecue to any cider drinkers (don't tell them what it is though until after they've tried it) and then get another great load to put away, bringing out a bottle every year or so to see how it's going.
That's what I call a real win - win situation. You won't regret it.

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