You’ve got to love the Danes. Any nation that has a word for “after work drinks” (fyraftensbajer) has a lot going for it in my opinion.
They’re famous for many things; the conquering Viking escapades of yesteryear, licorice (I discover) and the concept of Hygge (a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being). But, you wouldn’t necessarily associate them with beer.
However, Denmark is where Mikkeller began way back in the early 2000s and, in true Viking style, the brand has gone on to conquer the craft beer scene, now exporting beer to 50 countries and operating an equal number of bars and restaurants around the globe.
The beer that put this brewery on the map was Beer Geek Breakfast. It’s a simple enough premise, made by adding French press coffee to an oatmeal stout. But, back in those days, adjuncts weren’t so common and the beer quickly became the number one stout on the international beer forum Ratebeer.com.
The coffee isn’t the only eye-catching ingredient either; the Beer is made using seven different kinds of malt, roasted barley, oat flakes, Centennial and Cascade hops and then brought to life with an American ale yeast (which is fitting as this beer is from the Mikkeller San Diego brewery). Quite the recipe right? So how does this cocktail of goodness taste??
In the glass you could be forgiven for thinking that someone has just poured you a large Greek coffee. It’s as dark as a moonless night with an amber head. The nose is all about those different malts with the chocolate malt coming to the fore. There’s burnt caramel, dark cooking chocolate and hints of mocha, but the coffee element is muted; it's more like nosing a latte than an espresso. The palate has a lot more zip to it and some bitter hops on the finish make me realise I’ve served it too cold. Allowing it to warm up a touch, the balance returns with the sweet malt and chocolate notes shining through as it transforms into a large mug of bedtime cocoa (albeit with decent effervescence and 7.5% abv).
It’s beers like this that make me realise I don’t drink enough stouts. Bang for buck, in terms of flavour, they’re pretty hard to beat and, on a cold spring’s night, drinking one can be like wrapping yourself in a big, malty blanket. So grab yourself a can of Beer Geek Breakfast for some liquid Hugge... and re-discover that feeling of contentment and well-being that the Danes do so well.