Mikkeller Hoppy Lovin Christmas: Naughty Elf on the Shelf returns

Next up, Mikkeller Hoppy Lovin’ Christmas:mikkeller

Thanksgiving is over. You are now free to deck your halls without fear of snickering and dirty looks. Perhaps more importantly, Elf on the Shelf is back on the…er…shelf.

If you remember last year, Elf (or “Flappy” as he is named in our house) was working through some pretty serious substance abuse issues. Here are a couple reminders of Elf hitting rock bottom:

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Veterinary prescription bottles are NOT elf-proof.

When he said he missed snow, I thought...wow.

When he said he missed snow, I thought…wow.

I have since found out that my naughty Elf posts were so popular that the Big Guy himself ran across them on Pinterest. Now, as a condition of his continued employment, Elf must undergo regular drug testing, and in the offseason he has been demoted to cleaning the stalls of the North Pole Reindeer Husbandry Unit.

Obviously, with Elf still drying out and me maybe being an eensy-weensy bit responsible for his downfall, there was some awkward tension the first couple days. However, Elf and I were chatting one night, and we’ve apparently found common ground. We both hate Sophie the Giraffe. I really can’t figure out for sure why Elf hates Sophie. I just figured it was a harmless manifestation of Elf’s crippling sociopathic narcissism…until I came downstairs late one night to inspect some racket and caught Elf doing this:

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I think I preferred the substance abuse.

Apparently, his anger isn’t quite as harmless as I suspected! Elf and I had a talk, and I hoped it sunk in, until the next day…

This is going to be a problem.

This is going to be a problem.

Hoppy Lovin’ Christmas is an IPA brewed with ginger and pine needles. It pours a slightly hazy orange-gold, with a dense and creamy off-white head that leaves decent lace. A first huff gives you a big rush of ripe, juicy, citrusy hops, which eventually fade a little to reveal some biscuity malt. At first the taste is mainly pine with some orange and grapefruit, then as it warms you get some ginger. While I don’t think I would immediately identify it as such without a mention on the label, there is definitely a certain gingery zippiness to it. It’s on the sweet end of the sweet-dry spectrum, but I certainly wouldn’t call it sweet. And while there is a piney aftertaste to it that lingers lightly, it is pretty darn drinkable.

I like. Even though I still find hops and Christmas to be strange bedfellows, there are a couple beers (this one, Sierra Nevada Celebration, and Lagunitas Sucks) that are bringing me around.

The Haybag: This is some damn fine hoppy lovin’. Oh, and FYI, I’m not a fan of waking up from a nap to find you doing creepy photo shoots with dolls.

Beer Review: Mikkeller/Stillwater Two Gypsies Our Side – Confronting my gypsy curse

I received a complaint about fawning over too many beers in a row…so next time I will say WTF to the super brewer collaboration La Citrueille Celeste de Citracado. This time we have the Mikkeller/Stillwater gypsy brewer collaboration – Two Gypsies Our Side:

OK, make that three gypsies.

I may be a little late to the game on this one, but this beer has me a little unsettled. I was once cursed by a Spanish gypsy. My friend, Tomás, and I were walking up the pathway to the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, and from nowhere pops this woman who, in my mind, after 10 years of telling this story looks like this:

10 years ago I was beautiful!

She was sticking a bouquet of parsley in our faces and insisting that she tell our fortune for an undisclosed fee. After repeatedly declining her generous offer, she became enraged, started stamping her feet, pointed at us with two fingers, and screeched at us in Andalusian Spanish crossed with God knows what…yada, yada, yada…now apparently death will come for me alone in the woods by way of a serpent.

A snake...fine. But a fucking serpent!? Really?

It pours a hazy gold, with a nice head made of big, fizzy bubbles. It has an earthy saison/farmhouse yeast smell with lemon peel and piney hop aromas. It is bubbly up front, with a nice barnyard funk in the middle. Then it finishes with pepper and very subtle, piney hops. The aftertaste alternates between a slight and pleasant piney bitterness and the occasional barn. It’s like a barn at a Christmas tree farm (without any pesky animals).

It is fairly dry, and as it warms the hops become more apparent. The hops are definitely piney, with some citrus, and maybe a little grassiness. This thing is so subtle and complex, I couldn’t take my beak out of the glass. At one point towards the end, the hop aroma started to smell like tropical fruit. I give up. I suck. I am not worthy of describing this beer. The damn review is a mess!

The Haybag: Umm, what’s your deal? It’s good. It went very well with the tuna steaks. Hey, I forgot about that gypsy curse. Are your life insurance premiums current?

Beer Review: Mikkeller Big Worse (Bourbon Barrel Edition)

For our first import on beerbecue we review Mikkeller Big Worse, which I got as a birthday present. It’s a Danish barleywine-style ale, aged in bourbon barrels.

Happy Birthday to me.

This beer is brewed by Mikkeller, the freeloader of brewers. Mikkeller apparently doesn’t have its own brewery. They just guest brew at various breweries.

I am guessing Mikkeller shows up at a conspicuously inopportune time; says he hates to impose, but could he crash at the brewery; the brewer has to ask his wife; the brewer and his wife have a hushed, but audible, argument inside; Mikkeller ultimately gets to come inside and brew…and Danish zaniness ensues.

It pours a murky brown, with a quickly-receding khaki head. It smells gorgeous: Toffee and vanilla, with bourbon in the background. It tastes the same, perhaps with the addition of raisins and the bourbon becoming more prevalent. Actually, the bourbon kicks in pretty stiff at the end. And I think there is some floral hop character sneaking around in there.

As for drinkability, it has a pretty hefty mouthfeel; and at 11% abv, after a couple of these maybe I too would cast Rosie O’Donnell as cartoon hottie Betty Rubble.

Maybe not.

The Haybag: I liked it. Yummy toffee, vanilla, and bourbon. It’s appropriately sweet, but maybe a little too boozy…kind of like you, dear.