Danish brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergsø spent a very busy two weeks in Australia last month, as one of the featured guests of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. During his stay, Mikkel found time to travel between Richmond in Melbourne and Beechworth in northern Victoria for brew days at both Mountain Goat Brewery and Bridge Road Brewery. The two local craft brewers collaborated with the self-proclaimed Gypsy brewer to put a Mikkeller spin on their seasonal beers. The process began several months ago with brewers Ben Kraus and Dave Bonington exchanging emails with Mikkel to develop recipes for new beers that would showcase the Mikkeller style with Australian hops and ingredients.
The Bridge Road Brewers/Mikkeller collaboration brew, “Dark Harvest”, is a 6.6% hoppy dark ale that used freshly picked ‘wet’ hops from the Rostrevor Hop Garden near Beechworth. The hops use are from an experimental crop and are yet to be named. The beer is smooth with a full body. Its upfront roasty character is given complexity with a late hoppy bitterness. There will be a very limited one-off release of Dark Harvest beer in 330ml bottles later this month, along with several kegs, the first of which will be tapped at Josie Bones next week.
The rewarding experience for Bridge Road brewer Ben Kraus also resulted in Mikkel placing a large order for several Bridge Road beers, such as the Robust Porter, for the Mikkeller bar in Denmark.
At Mountain Goat, the collaboration brew day coincided with a special Melbourne Food & Wine Festival event. With catering and service by The 36 Collective, 30 beer lovers were treated to a five-course degustation dinner served at a long table on the Mountain Goat brewery floor. Mikkeller and Mountain Goat beers accompanyed each course. The brewers shared stories of their brewing experiences as their combined brewing efforts from earlier that day began the fermentation process in the tanks behind them.
Named “The Gypsy & The Goat”, this collaboration beer has been packaged under Mountain Goat’s ‘Cross Breed’ label for international collaborations, which began a year ago with their “Thorny Goat ” Black IPA brewed with Caolan Vaughan of Thornbridge. Bottled in 640ml longnecks, The Gypsy & The Goat continues the Cross Breed Black IPA theme, with the Mikkeller twist of Pepperberries. The spicy pepperberries are supported by Citra, Cascade and Tasmanian Galaxy hops.
Next week, Josie Bones in Collingwood will hold a special event to launch these two Australian collaboration beers. Both Dark Harvest and The Gypsy & The Goat will be on tap at the bar from 5:00pm on Wednesday 18th April. Specially paired dishes will also be available.
All are welcome to come along and experience Mikkeller’s stamp on Australian craft beer.