Monday, 29 December 2014

12 Beers Of Xmas - Day 5

The Twelve Beers Of Christmas
Beer Five
Mikkeller + Bedow - Wild Winter Ale 6.0%

So that was my Christmas break over and done with for another year, it was back to work today with a bang. If, like me, it was back to the grindstone on this Monday morning then I trust that you had a good and restful time with lots of fun, happiness and the usual festive feasting, all washed down with some excellent beer of course. 

On Christmas morning I like to start the festivities with a good aperitif beer, something fruity and sour to get the juices flowing for the day ahead. In past years I have favoured Deus Brut de Flandres from Brouwerij Bosteels, with something from Cantillon, either the Geuze 100% Lambic Bio or the excellent Iris being in it's place on occasion. Looking for a beer to clean and refresh my palate I wanted something a little different this year, and as I had a bottle of Mikkeller's Spontanmandarin in a box that BeerBods did as a special limited release to subscribers earlier this year I had the perfect beer to fit the bill. I'm a big fan of Mikkeller beer, and my choice was made with knowledge of how good the spontaneous fermentation Spontanale series is as I reviewed the original release back in May 2012 as part of my mammoth twenty-four post "Mikkeller In May" series, the one that really cemented my passion for writing about beer.

The reason for my digression is clear when you learn that also in that BeerBods box was today's beer, the Mikkeller + Bedow Wild Winter Ale. Brewed as part of a four beer series that started with Spring in 2012, through Summer, Autumn and finally Winter of the same year, this one-off release was limited to 3,500 bottles. The collaboration with Bedow, a Swedish design agency and graphic design agency, features a label printed on heat sensitive paper so that when it gets warm the apple tree depicted loses it's leaves. It is brewed with the addition of apple, hence the apple tree, cinnamon and a good dose of brettanomyces and I'm rather excited to be finally opening this bottle.

It pours a beautiful deep amber honey colour, bright and clear, throwing a huge fluffy white head as you might expect for a beer of this style. It has a strong fresh apple aroma, the kind you get when you bite into a juicy fresh Golden Delicious, the unmistakeable whiff of brettanomyces, and a hint of cinnamon spice. Imagine a baked apple, a cinnamon stick in it's centre and a sprinkling of dark sugar and you won't be far off. It creeps softly over the tongue, pushing it's fizzy carbonation in a wave before it, releasing some of that stewed apple and cinnamon flavour all bound up in some deliciously light chewy caramel, but it's all so fresh and clean. There's a slight spike of cinnamon spice right before the finish, a hint of white pepper and coriander seed citrus too, but this fades away to leave that apple flavour, very like the aftermath of an apple sour sweet, it is simply delightful.

I would imagine that the two intervening years has diminished the cinnamon allowing more of the apple flavour to emerge, and even though it is now more balanced I would have loved to have tasted this during the 2012 festivities. I will end this post with another picture of the same bottle, this time with the addition of a little warm water, just so that you can see the effect it had on the paper. Not bad considering that the temperature in the conservatory where our Christmas tree is happens to be -1 Celcius. A wild winter ale indeed.

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