Mikkeller Barrel-Aged Black Hole

At some point I will review beers that I find less than fabulous…but this is not one of them.

Last week I made it back over to The Trappist in Oakland after a hiatus of several months (shame on me!).  As always, there was an amazing selection of beers not only on tap, but also bottled. The Trappist is definitely one of the best beer bars in the bay area. But I digress as I’m here to speak specifically about a beer I had that evening, Mikkeller’s Barrel-Aged Black Hole.

I had tried Mikkeller’s Black Hole a few months back and found it to be a delicious example of an imperial stout. Add that to bourbon barrels and age it…it takes it up a notch!  The beer itself appeared very dark in color with a slight caramel colored head. The bottle states quite clearly, “brewed with coffee, honey and vanilla”.  I could definitely smell and taste the coffee and vanilla (oak barrels tend to give off a vanilla flavor and smell) but not so much of the honey.  The finish is creamy and smooth which makes it very drinkable, although I would say it isn’t quite as smooth as some other barrel-aged beers I’ve had…but that may be due to the age (better to age).

If you happen upon this beer, definitely worth trying. If you happen to see it in a store, buy it and age it for a while as it will only get better.

Four out of five pints!

Mikkeller Single Hop Series

Last night Andrei, Gene and I headed over to The Monk’s Kettle for the first evening they had Mikkeller’s Single Hop Series on tap.  So what is a single hop beer exactly?  According to Beer Around Town,  “each release is the same IPA recipe, IBUs (International Bittering Units for my fellow novices!) kept the same, the only difference is variety of hop used.”  It seems like the point of these beers is really to feature the hop.

Having absolutely no idea of which hop was what (although Monk’s menu did provide a good sense of what to expect as well as which hops were often used in what types of beers).  We started with Nelson Sauvin, named clearly after my ancestors (no not really) and the sauvignon blanc grape (the hop has similar characteristics).   This is supposedly a fruity hop but I couldn’t really taste it…the taste was really hard to describe but I liked the most out of all of them.

The second one we tried was Simcoe.  This one was pretty earthy tasting to me.  Andrei described it as resin-y and when he said that, I definitely got that flavor (I’m still figuring out how to describe tastes!)  The last we tried was Chinook.  To me this one was the most bitter out of the three, with a slight citrus-y flavor.

Not much I can say about these beers.  It was interesting to taste the various hops in their “single” state but I didn’t really care for any of the beers…and this should come as no surprise considering I prefer more malty beers to hoppy beers (although I can enjoy a hop-filled Pliny The Elder with the best of them!  But that’s another blog post…).  For me this was definitely more of an educational experience than an enjoyable one.  But if you’re interested in beer, definitely check these out while they last at Monk’s Kettle!