Not all my posts will be Mikkeller-themed but as I planned to talk about this visit at some point what better place than here?
After an imperial stout-filled morning at Pure Project and Alesmith, we settled down for the afternoon at Mikkeller Brewing San Diego's brewery and tap room for yeah, you guessed it, more Imperial Stouts.
It was an educational as well as boozy visit as interestingly I learnt that Mikkeller San Diego is on the old Alesmith site before they expanded. Mikkeller's little homage to them is the anvil in the Mikkeller SD logo. Can't believe it took me so long to realise that but I appreciate the attention to detail.
More about the space; it's another large US taproom, or at least large for a Londoner. I'm used to taprooms being squeezed under railway arches. This had the feel of a big US taproom but with that spacious Scandinavian vibe with simple wooden chairs and tables, potted plants and Mikkeller artwork all over the walls. Essentially it has the signature Mikkeller look. 🇩🇰
The staff were very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. Not so friendly that they scared a poor little introverted Londoner like me away but enough to make me feel welcomed by sharing in some beery chat. They even liked the Cycle Brewing t shirt I was wearing and directed my attention to the Imperial Stouts on the board. Don't worry, to hey we're already in my sights.
After a morning of Imperial Stouts we definitely needed a substantial lunch. Unfortunately there was a problem with the food truck that was supposed to be there when we visited but the staff allowed us to order food to the tap room which easily solved the problem.
After two tasty little sours to break it up a bit. We got right back to the stouts which stole the show. Having previously shared a can of Træblod in Anaheim the week before and being impressed by it, I couldn't resist sampling two of the barrel aged variants on offer. The original was a thick 11% abv imperial stout with lashings of maple syrup and a hit of coffee. The maple wasn't too intense and the coffee adds balance. The beer is creamy and sweet but balanced.
First up was the Bourbon Barrel aged version. As a rule of thumb for me, if a stout is aged well in bourbon barrels it's going to improve the beer greatly. The beer added warm, rich bourbon spice, thick layers of cacao and that signature rounded vanilla flavour. It was a marked improvement on the original.
The surprise for me was the Brandy barrel aged version. This one blew me away. After 10 months of aging in Californian Brandy barrels the beer had become very complex. Rich caramelised fruit, sweet fig, Crème Brûlée and a crunchy biscuity finish. A really impressive beer that has put me on the look out for other brandy barrel aged beers.
All in all we had a great visit to Mikkeller San Diego. Good people, chilled vibe and very tasty beers. Can't go wrong