I'm sorry, I'm not at home right now. By the time Blogger publishes this, I'll be on my last day in Manchester, preparing to head east to Yorkshire for the weekend.
The Session this time round is called Will Travel For Beer, ideal for a blog like mine that tries to mix travel and beer as much as time and budget will allow. Except... I don't travel for beer. Well, not much. I do the odd local trip to a festival in other parts of Ireland, and maybe further afield in recent years like the Great British Beer Festival or Oktoberfest. Mostly, however, the travel comes first and the beer is there when I arrive, and that's just the way I like it.
Now once I've checked in somewhere, I will remorselessly hunt out whatever beers are there to be had, and will go far out of my (and my wife's, admittedly) way to visit bars and breweries where I think there might be something interesting or different to drink. But I try to keep it within reason and I rarely let beer become the main driving force behind my travel.
Er, except once. Last September Mrs Beer Nut and I spent three days in Copenhagen at the European Beer Festival: a massive gathering of beers and breweries from across the globe. Other than some brief strolling around town on the last day, that trip was pretty much beer all the way. I really enjoyed it, but I doubt it's the sort of thing I'd be inclined to make a habit of. On the Saturday morning, we went along to Ølbutikken where I bought a six-pack of special releases from Mikkeller. I've covered three of them earlier this year, and number four was opened in honour of this Session.
It's a collaboration between two Danish beer firms: Xbeeriment and Mikkeller and styles itself a "Belgian Stout" under the name Brewers United. The fact that it's 11.1% ABV suggests that it's on the imperial side of the stout genre. And that's certainly how it tastes: it's hopped up to buggery in the American style with some fairly serious acid bitterness. But that sits on a beautiful espresso base and the two sorts of bitter flavour complement each other wonderfully. It finishes by depositing the hop oils on the lips for a finish that runs and runs. I'm put immediately in mind of the likes of US imperials like Great Divide's Yeti and Flying Dog's Gonzo, but this exhibits more charm and balance than either of them.
And there you have it: A Danish take on a Belgian style based on a British beer made for Russians and latterly popularised by the United States. Sometimes beer travel comes right out of the fridge in 250ml bottles.
Orval - *Origin: Belgium | Date: 2011 | ABV: 6.2% | On The Beer Nut: October 2007* I used to have a job that paid in Orval. I accumulated a couple of cases and I h...
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