Sierra Nevada/Mikkeller Thai-Style Iced Tea

Total Score: 7.1/10 Clove1Orange1Tea1Tulipglass1

Look I’m a sucker for anything Mikkeller makes, and Sierra Nevada too for that matter – these are two brewing Gods in my pantheon and there’s nothing better than a crazy collaboration (if it works!). This beer from the “around the world” 12-pack immediately caught my eye and wouldn’t let go: 2 of my favourite brewers – check! Crazy set of ingredients including tamarind and star anise – check! 7.2% ABV – check! Brewed with black tea and lactose – check! What could even remotely go wrong with this one? Well, yeah, you’re right: everything… but hell you’ve got to give it to that ballsy Mikkeller bastard for going for the maddest ideas he can come up with (which are pretty mad TBH) and Sierra Nevada for providing the gypsy brewer with Beer Camp equipment. Salute!

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Hazed with floaty bits and an amber-coloured body with a rather large hard-poured 1 inch off-white cappuccino foam head that slowly drops back leaving latticework lace in the glass. I wonder what the floaty bits are, I’m hoping it’s spices and such, I do enjoy spice: it’s the spice of life. 7/10.

S: Star anise and sour tamarind upfront and bashing the nose repeatedly. Well it is what I asked for, so thanks Mikkeller & SN. Hints of tannic black tea and a touch of orange peel rounds out what must be said is one of the most odd beer aromas I’ve ever encountered. Not sure if I 100% like it but it’s certainly interesting. 7/10.

T: Spicy, funky and malty – in that order. Flavour is dominated somewhat by star anise, with funky tamarind and orange playing minor roles, and black tea rounding it all out. Finish lays down more tamarind funk (if you’ve never tried tamarind before you can get it in paste form at the supermarket – I use it in my yummy Pad Thai, but it’s a secret… oh wait, it was a secret, shhh!). Overall flavour profile is a bit confused, and IMO doesn’t come across with enough tea flavour to pull off the “iced tea” moniker. Still it is tasty… tasty and funky in equal measure. 7/10.

M: Medium bodied and fairly smooth – a decent mouthfeel here. 8/10.

D: Definitely one of the oddest beers I’ve encountered (and I’ve encountered a fair few beers now!). The flavour is all over the shop, like other Mikkeller swing-n-miss brews. He doesn’t always get it right and this brew is one of them. More tea and perhaps lemongrass would have pushed this in the direction it needed to go. As it is I didn’t actually mind it, but I wouldn’t bother getting it again. 7/10.

Food match: Busy thinking about my Pad Thai now, mmmmm.

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Bridge Road Mayday Hills T

Total Score: 8.55/10 WhiteWine1Peppercorns1RedApple1Tulipglass1

This one literally leaped right off the shelf and into my shopping basket: 100 percent Brettanomyces yeast fermented IPA aged in Oak Foeder barrels with green tea added… I. Love. All. Those. Things. So I guess a bigger part of my mind [than I care to admit] since the purchase of Mayday Hills T has been devoted to deciphering exactly what to expect from these seemingly random delicious things thrown together in a giant standing oak barrel: Sour character – undoubtedly, tea astringency – of course, vanilla notes – obvs, earthy/citric hops – one would think. But instead of me wasting time thinking what may come, I may as well simply pop a cap and hook in to the amber fluid inside *runs off to fridge*.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Hazed perfect amber body with a nice white 1 centimetre cappuccino foam head on top… lacing on the glass rim isn’t spectacular (eg; leaving scrawling on the side) but it’s a fine looking beer to be sure (or if  you’re Irish “tubeesher”). 8/10.

S: Crazy interesting aromas happening here – Saison yeast spiced barnyard characters, over-ripe decaying apples/pear, white wine vinous notes, a floral scent, and even a hint of chocolate! Weird, I know, but what a complex and fruit ester driven fragrance resides in my glass right now. Literally cannot wait another second – must… drink… now… 9/10.

T: Well… it’s definitely an eye opener… the brett-ridden Oak Foeder gives it a heavy white wine vinous slant… sort of like how Rodenbach Grand Cru is the red wine version of a beer this is equally one of the most white wine versions of beer I’ve encountered (try Wolf of the Willows ISP for total Sauv-Blanc beer experience). Overall flavours are: White wine (Chardonnay grapes) Saison yeast spice, barnyard notes, pepper, cider apples, and the finish has a nice Champagne dryness. Overall the balance is between sweet/dry/bitter and none has the upper hand. 9/10.

M: Medium bodied with a thin but active carbonation. 7/10.

D: I’ve got to be honest but this was right up my alley what with me getting into really good French Champagnes lately (Billecart-Salmon is my favourite so far). However I can see other beer drinkers not being such a fan of a brew like this, which is driven by white wine flavours. Buyer beware in that respect. However if you love your Saisons/Flanders Reds you will know what to expect and be quite at home with a brew like this. Cheerio! 8/10.

Food match: Can I be indulgent and say something like truffle cheese? [Yes!].

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