Beer Review 0547: Evil Twin Christmas Eve At A New York City Hotel Room Imperial Stout
Did you know that Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, mastermind behind Mikkeller, has a twin brother? His name is Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, and he also makes beer, under the Evil Twin name.
Like Mikkel, Jeppe is a gypsy brewer, roving around the world and using breweries to stage his creations, leading to plenty of collaborations. It all started in 1998, when Jeppe started a beer club in Denmark, tired of the same tried and true beer offerings available there. He and his friends would share new beers they found; this eventually led to home brewing. Opening up a bar of their own was an idea, but it never worked out — Mikkel continued to purse brewing, while Jeppe went in a different direction: he opened a bottle shop.
In 2010, Jeppe found himself a busy man — not only was he running a bottle shop, he was also teaching school. Why not have another job? After a chance meeting with a big-time distributor, Jeppe sent him 20 pallets of beer he’d made, and it sold out in less than 24 hours! Today, he and his family reside in New York City, and are leaving a mark in the beer world, making highly acclaimed beers that generally receive lots of praise. Guess it must run in the family.
Today’s beer, perhaps the longest titled beer of my 547 reviews, is an Imperial Stout named Christmas Eve At A New York City Hotel Room. To be completely honest with you, I don’t know much about this beer other than it was brewed in Stamford, Connecticut, and that it is 10% ABV (alcohol by volume). There isn’t much on the Internet about the beer other than it is apparently a seasonal release, and the bottle features a skyline that has one single room lit in a single building. So, without further ado, let’s just dig into the brew.
The pour delivered an average size, creamy head that was dark tan in color and lasted. The color of the brew fit Imperial Stout like a glove; pitch black with no light coming in, even around the edges. As result of the dark complexion, I couldn’t tell you if this contained particles or sediment, but there were yeast dregs in the bottom of the bottle. As I poured, the body appeared clear; lacing was good, leaving thin but solid sheets of tan foam.
The nose is a pure malt bomb: tons of roasted notes, nearly to the point of excess. It’s shocking at first sniff, but allow it to rest in the glass for a bit, and more subtle nuances come out. There’s plenty of black coffee and dark chocolate in this brew, along with a presence of dark fruit that grows as it warms even by just a bit. Raisins, figs, prunes…even a hint of ripe cherries. When allowed to warm even more, I got hints of pipe tobacco, smoke, and pine. It’s a touch soapy initially, but the massive dark aromas wipe that out quickly. Strong and confident.
And the taste is as strong as the aroma; it begins cracking with toasted (nearly burnt) bread and deep roasted coffee. It seems to be a palate killer, but the beer does ease up a bit, allowing multiple layers of dark chocolate and fruity black coffee to come through. This is one of those odd beers that begins bitter and finishes bittersweet, like a creamer and packets of sugar have been added. By the middle of the mouth, the palate is analyzing multiple things, from prunes and raisins to burnt sugar to acidic coffee. The finish is the best part of this beer, delivering fudge-like dark chocolate with a sugary edge, and exiting notes of tobacco smoke and rum-soaked prunes. The alcohol is felt but not tasted; this really long named beer is full-bodied, with a thick, creamy mouthfeel.
If you’re thinking really nice sipper on a cold evening, you’ve got the picture. A very solid beer that gets the job done, firing on all cylinders when it comes to dark chocolate, coffee, and dark fruits. But one I’d have to be in the mood for, surely — and Christmas Eve seems as perfect a time as any.
Evil Twin Christmas Eve At A New York City Hotel Room Imperial Stout, 92 points. Price: $3.99 US for one 12 oz. bottle.