Beer Review 0205: Mikkeller Beer Hop Breakfast (Birthday Beer Week 5 of 7)

Officially, this website has never reviewed a beer brewed solely by Mikkeller, although I have reviewed a collaboration beer they participated in with Three Floyds: Boogoop, a Wheat Wine, which I gave 94 points.

Mikkeller are based in Vesterbro, Copenhagen, although the brewery is sort of gypsy-like. Founded by Mikkel Borg Bjergsø and his friend Kristian Keller as the result of kitchen homebrewing experiments, Mikkeller experienced a breakthrough with their Beer Geek Breakfast, an Oatmeal Stout brewed with French press coffee.

I really wanted to review the Beer Geek Breakfast; unfortunately, I could not find it in my area, and everyone that promised to one day have it never came through. But I did find this variant of the Beer Geek Breakfast called Beer Hop Breakfast, which is basically the Oatmeal Stout recipe with a hop profile.

Beer Hop Breakfast is 7.5% ABV (alcohol by volume), and information about what hops and malts are used are not available; however, in the regular version of this stout, Pils, Oat, Smoked, CaraMunich, Brown, Pale Chocolate, and Chocolate malts are used, and it is hopped with Centennial and Cascade.

The pour from the seventeen ounce bottle (500 ml) produced a huge khaki head; perhaps I poured a bit too aggressive, but I went easier than normal. The head was rocky in texture with several pockets of large bubbles, and it lasted for a good little while. The beer was dark opaque brown in color, and appeared to be clear of particles and sediment, but holding the bottle in the light showed some yeast that had settled to the bottom of the bottle. I was careful not to disturb this; the lacing was excellent as you might expect, leaving thick and sticky sheets of deep khaki down the side of the glass.

The unique qualities of this beer began to show themselves as soon as I cracked the cap — yeah, I poured a beer that looked (and is) a stout, but this brew smelled hoppy as hell. I’d say the hop aromas dominated the malts by a ratio of 3:1, with the hops hitting three simple notes: grapefruit, pine, and resin. And they were big time notes, playing for the win. The malt bill was complex, presenting lots of chocolate and coffee combined with sweet caramel and a subtle hint of smoke. Honestly, the scent of this beer was jarring at first, but once you figured out everything going on, it was welcoming just for the sheer shake your head factor.

For the tongue, Beer Hop Breakfast is like a war of the hop and malt worlds. Neither side wins; instead, they play in separate blissful harmony, making you wonder “how’d they do that?!” There’s a hoppy citrus note up front as soon as the beer hits your palate, which is followed by an ushering in of a malty wave — fresh roasted coffee and dark chocolate lead the way. Then we turn back to the hops in a HUGE way — we’re talking a resinous blast that borders on going out and actually chewing a pine tree. This all leads to the finish that has a wonderful note of dark roasted coffee, perhaps the most authentic coffee flavor I’ve ever had in a beer at this point in my reviewing tenure — and it is expertly counterbalanced with a bitter grapefruit hop. Breathtaking and excellent.

Beer Hop Breakfast is a brew that will make you scratch your head, in a good way. To say I was highly impressed by this beer would be an understatement; in fact, I wonder if this beer was simply expertly crafted to do all these great transitions, or if it were a happy accident of ingredient experiments. Either way, this is worth your time. Prepare to have your palate wowed.

Mikkeller Beer Hop Breakfast, 93 points. Price: $10.99 US for one 500 ml bottle.

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