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I decided I wanted a ‘beer advent calendar’ this year. But after being frustrated at the lack of quality in the UK options (a definite gap in the market), I looked further afield.
As soon as I saw Mikkeller were doing one, a ‘Julepakkekalender’, I had to get it.
It arrived in plenty of time but I was a little disappointed with the box, particularly after seeing the effort that their local Copenhagen competitor To Øl put into theirs (review coming soon). Essentially it was just a perforated card lay over the top of a regular box of beer.
Later in the month, it got more difficult to remove without accidentally revealing other bottles and actually ruined the next days surprise on more than one occasion.
But more importantly, the beers…
Day 01: Årh Hvad
Belgian Pale / 7.6%
The calendar got off to a strong start with a 500ml can of Belgian pale ‘Årh Hvad’. Which is Danish for ‘Say What?’, apparently.
Day 02: Jackie Brown
Brown Ale / 6%
Followed by an enjoyable hopped up brown ale.
Day 03: Santa’s Little Helper
Belgian Strong / 10.9%
Day three saw the first festive beer. I absolutely loved the Grand Marnier barrel aged version of this last year, the original didn’t quite have the same depth or complexity but was still great.
Day 04: Not Just Another Wit
Witbier / 7.6%
A super hoppy imperial witbier. The world’s first IPW?
Day 05: Red & White Christmas
Witbier / 8%
A British red ale blended with a Belgian wit and loads of American hops.
Day 06: Appreciation Pils
Pilsner / 5%
After a great run of five fantastic beers, day six was slightly underwhelming.
Appreciation Pils is a decent German style pilsner, it’s just not a style that excites me in any way.
Day 07: It’s Alright
Belgian Pale / 4.5%
Similarly, a session version of ‘It’s Alive’. I much prefer the original and found this a little weak and watery.
Day 08: Hop On and Drink’in Berliner (Dry-hopped)
Berliner Weisse / 2.8%
Back on track for day eight. I like the original version of this, ‘Drink’in Berliner’. But this dry-hopped version is even better.
Day 09: Koppi Coffee IPA (Citra & Santa Barbara)
IPA / 7.2%
Probably my favourite so far. A hoppy IPA with subtle coffee notes.
Day 10: El Celler De Can Roca
Pilsner / 5%
Again, not really a style I care much for but this is an excellent pilsner with a distinctive savoury flavour.
Day 11: 1000 IBU
Imperial IPA / 9.6%
A new favourite. A stunning double IPA with an intense but very drinkable bitterness.
Day 12: All Others Pale
Pale / 6%
Nothing groundbreaking, but a very good pale.
Day 13: Drink’in The Snow
Low Alcohol / 0.3%
The only beer I didn’t drink. Because, it’s not really beer is it?
Day 14: Black Hole
Imperial Stout / 13.1%
They certainly made up for yesterday’s non-alcoholic disappointment with a fabulously rich and boozy imperial stout.
Day 15: Belgian Tripel
Tripel / 9%
Not the best Belgian tripel but a pretty good one.
Day 16: Pastelism
Pilsner / 5.6%
Another pilsner. This one is brewed with salt. Intriguing and enjoyable.
Day 17: Milk Stout
Milk Stout / 6%
A really excellent milk stout, not too sweet or over hopped as many can be.
Day 18: Til Fra (Via Mikkeller)
Imperial Porter / 8%
I was worried when I saw this described as a ‘Holiday Ale’. It turned out to be a very good imperial porter with subtle spices.
Day 19: I’m A Kombo
Witbier / 6%
I can’t remember the last time I went from sheer joy to total disbelief as quickly as when I opened the calendar on day 19.
The back of the card read ‘French Oak Aged Barley Wine’ (which just happens to be my favourite beer style) yet the bottle was something entirely different.
It would have to be a great beer for me to get over that disappointment, unfortunately, the cucumber witbier really wasn’t for me.
Day 20: Hoppy Lovin’ Christmas
IPA / 7.8%
A festive IPA brewed with ginger and pine needles. It’s a great IPA but the ginger and pine flavours were much more prominent last year.
Day 21: Sort Gul
Black IPA / 7.3%
One of the best black IPA’s I’d had this year, so I was very happy to see another bottle appear on day 21.
Day 22: Ris a la M’ale
Fruit Beer / 8%
An 8% fruit beer that doesn’t taste 8% or like a fruit beer.
Brewed with fresh cherries and almonds, it’s highly unusual but very nice.
Day 23: Texas Ranger
Porter / 6.6%
A smoky, slightly spicy chipotle chilli porter.
Day 24: Foret Limousine Light Toasted
Barley Wine / 19.3%
It’s the barley wine I was promised on day 19!
I wouldn’t say I’m over the disappointment of cucumberwitgate but, at least, I got my barley wine in the end.
And what a way to finish, I’m a huge fan of barley wines and this has to be one of the best I’ve ever had.
At 19.3% it’s right up there with the strongest but still ridiculously drinkable.
Overall I was impressed with the Mikkeller advent calendar. I looked forward to opening it every day and wasn’t disappointed very often.
Whilst I appreciate the cucumber wit/barley wine issue was a mistake I still feel it could probably have been avoided or at least dealt with better. I could’ve definitely done without the non-alcoholic beer, though.
Other than that I enjoyed everything; there was a great range of styles and a good mix of favourites and new beers (to me at least).
At under £100 – including international shipping and dodgy exchange rate from my bank – it’s pretty good value too, especially given the price of some of the bigger beers individually.
Hopefully, they’ll be repeating it next year and 2016 will be even better.Follow @BeerGeekBlog Follow @FoodGeekUK