Mikkeller (DK), Beer Geek Breakfast – 7.5 %
Mikkeller brewery is probably the best-known 'gypsy brewery' – the one that has no brewery of its own, and is therefore either fun and experimental, or gimmicky and aimed solely at beer hipsters depending who you ask.
I'm probably classed as a beer hipster by some, so I guess that's why I enjoy Mikkeller's beer, except for the ones that aren't very good. Unsurprisingly, for a brewery releasing upwards of 40 experimental beers every year, some of them aren't actually nice – they may well be interesting, but you have to pick carefully, and so we only order in those we know will meet people's expectations.
Beer Geek Breakfast, their flagship coffee stout, is fantastic – it's reliably so too; placing in Ratebeer's top 50 beers in the world seven times in the eight years the brewery has existed. You can't really argue with that sort of success.
Pouring unctuous and black with a thin espresso cream head, the immediate rush of aroma is of toasted oak, robust, fruity coffee, redcurrants, and bitter cocoa.
Opening with buttery fudge and vanilla marzipan, creamy coffee leads to a caramelised hazelnut flourish, backed by a grassy bitterness. Mint and lemon tea accents punctuate an assertive hoppy finish, cleaning up the palate after an otherwise sweet affair.
This, and it's relatively light body, make Beer Geek Breakfast surprisingly easy drinking, and much more refreshing than its strength and style might suggest.
Recommended by Michael Bates, Trembling Madness, Stonegate, York
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