Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mikkeller It's Alive

Sorry about having two Mikkeller posts in one week.  I haven't had a chance to upload pictures of the other beers I've reviewed yet.

Take It's Alive! from your fridge and instantly feel as though there's cause for celebration.  This beautifully packaged Belgian Wild Ale, looks like something from deep in the wine cellars, complete with silver foil and cork.  

Mikkeller says on his website that this beer is an answer and tribute to the trappist beer Orval, which personally I'm not famillar with, but since writing this have bought and tried, review coming in the next week or two.  The head piles up as you pour a deep golden color into your glass.  Not much lacing or web is left as you dip your head and take in the sweet flowery aroma of this new brew.  

Upon the first sip, you're greeted with apples, and... lavender?  Yes, there's a peculiar, yet enjoyable, but perhaps slightly overused wildflower taste of lavender that dominates the palate.  Mixed in with the pale and cara malts, the lavender provides a trail of wildflowers that would overwhelm if it were not for the hallerteur and styrian golding hops that catch the trail by the tail and bring it back to its earthy origins.  Very drinkable, would certainly be a great way to describe this beer, however, paired with food would be best.  

Here, I enjoyed it with chicken cooked in the mole/chili sauce from my wild boar chili.  A bit too flowery and syrupy at times, the Brettanomyces culture ensures extra conditioning in the bottle – hence the name.  What is most apparent to me from this brew is how much of a craftsman Mikkeller is.  I realize I have said this before, however, this beer has helped me to grasp what it is exactly about his beers that is so good.  He crafts the taste with immaculate precision so that it has a very controlled flavor when you drink it.  The way the hops interact with the malts and yeast is arranged with surgical meticulousness.  While you may not always like the end result, it's quite obvious that you're tasting the flavors in the exact order and amount that Mikkeller intended; in this case, an airy mix of apples and wildflowers that would float into the sky were it not for the earthy hop backend that grounds it. 8% alc.

It's Alive: ***1/2

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