What’s life without a bit of spontaneity? Mikkeller seems to live by this principle, and quite adamantly at that. Mikkeller also acknowledges the contribution of conservative brewers. After all, without them, how would we ever get to enjoy our weissbiers and lambics and English bitters?
But with the spontaneous series, Mikkeller wants their predilections to be reflected directly on our taste buds. And it’s hard not to share their adventurous verve when sampling today’s beers: Spontankoppi, a beer that marries coffee with spontaneous fermentation; Spontangooseberry, a lambic with a healthy dose of gooseberries thrown in; and Spontankriek, an excellent take on the classic kriek. Keith Shore’s offbeat, quirky designs only add to the rebellious spirit of these beers.
5.3% ABVMikkeller is selective with their coffee, using Kopi Luwak, one of the world’s most expensive coffees, for their Beer Geek Brunch Weasel imperial stout, and Sweden-based Koppi for their Koppi Coffee IPA and our first tasting today, Spontankoppi. Super funky aromas exhume from the bubbly, golden orange pour, with tart lemon, citrus and some pepper coming through to the nose. Taste is pucker-your-lips tart, with a hearty, peaty meat-and-cheese-platter funkiness. After some initial sips, a chocolate flavor quite similar to a single malt whiskey emerges. Quite spontaneously, too.
7.7% ABVGooseberries are something that we might hear about once in a while but never actually taste. That’s because growing them was illegal in mid-20th century America. Only after 1966 did state laws begin to repeal the ban. So how does a gooseberry taste like? Basically, like a sour grape. And the keyword here is sour. Because this lambic is pure tart, mouth-puckering sourness. Pouring a brassy orange, the aroma displays tart berries, strawberry fruit leather and a hint of the tartness to come. The taste reminds us of licking the sugar off sour straws, with the welcoming addition of funk. This is heaven for sour lambic lovers.
7.7% ABVA Mikkeller-worthy rendition of the classic kriek lambic, Spontenkriek does less to change our perception of the style than to remind us why we love it in the first place. Pouring a hazy Russian-kampot red with a nice thin head, sour cherries and alcohol-soaked fruits greet the nose, followed by an earthy funk on the palate and a cherry flavor that reminds us more of an alcohol-soaked watermelon jolly rancher than the actual fruit. A solid addition to the spontaneous series.