With less than a week to go until the Copenhagen Beer Celebration, I thought to relax after lots of bicycling around today I should really get stuck in to one of those Mikkellers I’ve been stockpiling. After a day of changeable weather I was instantly drawn to the beautiful sunshine bright label of the Crooked Moon (9%ABV). We’re all familiar with Mikkeller’s tendency to collaborate with the world’s finest brewers, but this is actually a beer he brewed with the Swedish tattoo studio Crooked Moon to celebrate their first birthday.Even if you’re not a fan of tattoos, it’s totally worth visiting their website to see their incredible artwork. The two brothers running the show, Jacob and Jonas, each designed their own label – I chose the more colorful one designed by Jonas. It’s a ‘violently hoppy’ double IPA and uses pretty much all of the current favorite hops. There’s amarillo, citra, nelson sauvin, simcoe and sorachi ace. The result is a cloudy sunrise orange cocktail of fruitiness which bursts with aromas of lemons and pineapple cubes. There’s more of that beautiful sweet pineapple in the flavor garnished with a wedge of lime and offset by a super-dry bitterness. It’s like a keylime pie topped with exotic fruit and packed with sunshine – a pretty awesome birthday celebration drink!
Wow guys it’s been a while hasn’t it! For some unknown reasons I’ve been finding it really difficult to find the time to blog recently. Maybe it’s that the prolonged winter hasn’t done a lot to inspire me to write but spring has sprung and I have a pretty awesome year ahead. The highlight of the beery year (so far) comes as early as Saturday May 4th when I’ll be jetting off to Copenhagen to Mr Mikkeller’s fabulous Copenhagen Beer Celebration which promises to be a massive party featuring a who’s who of the greatest brewers working across the world today. It’s motivation to get drinking some of those beers I have stashed away just in case there’s anything worth bringing back. There was extra motivation to break into one of my special bottles today when the OH dropped a camera lens on the bottle of Stone Double Bastard (11.2%ABV). Don’t worry – the lens was somehow fine but the bottle cap was somehow slightly loosened so, since the seal was broken, we just had to drink it. Oh well. I’ve taken these here lucky taste buds of mine on quite an adventure since I started this blog. The first full-on American Strong Ale I tasted was Stone Arrogant Bastard which was possibly before I started blogging and it stuck in my mind as a benchmark for full-on over-hopped bitterness and big flavours – not to be messed with. However, a lot of beer has flowed since then and I
recently revisited the Arrogant Bastard. Although it remains a well-made and tasty ale, it didn’t blow me away as it did the first time round. So would Stone deliver the next big hit with their Double Bastard? According to the website, the IBU count is actually classified and the blurb from the label promises much. Well the good news is this bastard has every right to be arrogant – this bad boy has swagger. The deep golden color is almost sunset red topped with a wispy white hint of foam. The aroma is dark malts and deep burnt caramel with a little spice. The flavor is a real wake-up for the tongue, starting with roasted malts in spades and delicious candy sweetness, then diving into devilishly deep bitterness offset by a little berry fruit and a hint of wood. It packs a punch whilst staying well-rounded, balanced and complex.There’s only a tiny burn at the back which has a rum-like warmth. I’ll be looking forward to seeing how it shines through in the Double-Burn Habanero sauce (pictured as part of the unholy ‘trinity’ of hot sauce) when I find an excuse to open that – maybe it’ll have a run-in with a falling Tupperware and then of course I’ll have to try it!