Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel

A few weeks ago at Belmont Station I tried Mikkeller's Beer Geek Breakfast Stout for the first time and really enjoyed it, even during the nighttime.  So when I saw that Portland bottle shops were getting bottles of the over-the-top variant called Beer Geek Brunch Weasel, I went ahead and splurged for one. I've always wanted to be able to say I've tried the expensive Vietnamese coffee that was picked out of civet cat droppings, but it was unlikely that I would overcome my cheapness enough to ever buy even a cup of the coffee. Beer is another matter, and I set my parsimony aside to be able to try this rare beer made with rare coffee.

It turns out to be quite a different beer than the Breakfast Stout -- about 50% stronger at 11% -- but still with that smooth oatmeal stout goodness, pleasantly medium-bodied despite its strength. The coffee flavor is strong but not overwhelming; in fact as you roll it around in your mouth there's a very nice chocolate flavor, quite a bit of hop bitterness, and an earthy sweetness that had me thinking maple. I knew maple wasn't quite the right way to describe it, and now that I've read a few Beer Advocate reviews of Weasel which mention "dark fruit", I realize that "prune" would be a good description if prunes had a better reputation, so I better say "dried plum". Split between three people, it made a nice after-dinner beer.

If you don't know much about Mikkeller, it's a one-man brewing operation... without a brewery. His brews are done on an itinerant basis at fine breweries around Europe and the U.S. The Beer Geek line of stouts is done at Norwegian brewery Nøgne Ø, whose awesome imperial stouts and porters are available in bottles around town. As near as I can tell, Nøgne Ø is pronounced "Nerg-nuh Er" (maybe it's "Nern-yuh Er" -- anyone know for sure?).

Does the special weasel-excrement coffee make a difference? Mikkel the brewer admits that -- while the coffee is excellent -- it's something of a gimmick to use it instead of some other good coffee. Next time I have a hankering for a Mikkeller coffee stout, I'll probably go with the cheaper Breakfast Stout. The Weasel price is about one and a half times that of the Breakfast; there's no denying it's a more complex beer, but I don't think I got 1.5 times the enjoyment out of it. And speaking of costly gimmicks, there are even two bottlings of Weasel that were aged for awhile in Scotch whisky barrels. I doubt I'd pay the ransom for one of those bottles even if I had the chance, but I admire the audacity.

Weasels and beer, where have I heard that before? Oh yes, a couple of friends in Austin called their homebrewing operation Weasel Breweries long before any of us had heard of coffee that came from the wrong end of a weasel. Trendsetters? Or just too much time on their hands?


  1. Bill,
    I sat next to a girl from Norway at a Blackjack table in Vegas with swineflu Jimmy and we asked her how it was pronounced. The first part of the word sounded like "newg", that was followed by some Norwegian dialect that I can't even say, let alone type out phonetically!

  2. The first time I tried this was at PIB last year. Compared to how much $ in tickets you had to hand over to get a taste, the bottle price was almost refreshing. I picked up a bottle of the breakfast and the brunch weasel this week. I noticed the whole black hole series is available right now too. Have you tried any of those? If so, how do they compare?

  3. @Ritch: Thanks, I've got a tweet out to a friend of mine who's lived in Norway for a few years. Maybe she has an idea for the phonetics.

    @Jeff: Haven't had the Black Hole. Sounds like Angelo and Ben E. had them all, hopefully they'll write it up.

  4. I just noticed the following beer listed on the PIB website:

    mikeller beer geek breakfast bacon.