Mikkeller is a small brewing operation in Coopenhagen, Denmark. The founders, Kristian Keller and Mikkel Borg Bjergsø started as homebrewers, started brewing on a larger scale at a Danish microbrewery called Ørbæk, and had a breakthrough with a stout made with French Press coffee. They may be best known for making beers that claimed to weigh in at 1,000 International Bitterness Units (IBUs) and 2,007 IBUs, respectively. Today Mikkeller beers are imported to the United States by Shelton Brothers, a group of importers in Belchertown, Massachusetts. Shelton Brothers aim to specialize in importing beers “brewed in small batches using traditional methods.” Mikkeller fits the bill, with its dedication to “brew[ing] beer that challenge[s] the concept of good beer … by using the best ingredients and work[ing] with the most talented and creative minds around the world.” Although those ultra-hoppy beers mentioned above are no longer available, you may be able to find some Mikkeller beers in New England beer, wine and spirit shops. One such beer is their Not Just Another Wit, a stronger, amped-up version of a Belgian Witbier.
Not Just Another Wit pours a hazy light amber color with a big frothy white head. Although the head does tone down a bit, it leaves great lacing down the side of the glass. The first scent is of oranges. The orange taste is strong, but not overpowering. The hops are actually fairly mild for what’s supposed to be a bigger version of a witbier. The hops add a subtle floral flavor and become drier in the finish. The malt body tends toward the sweet, though, which mixes with the orange to make one think of orange glaze. There’s a fruity taste like juicy peaches. The yeast adds a bit of nuttiness, similar to what’s found in Hoegaarden, and there’s some spice – cinnamon or nutmeg or something that makes one think of Christmas. This beer would pair very well with duck a l’Orange. The beer feels a bit sticky in the mouth, but sweetness doesn’t dominate the flavor by any means. Even at 8% alcohol by volume, the beer doesn’t taste boozy.
Where so many big beers aim to accentuate one flavor, Not Just Another Wit is very well balanced. In a way, Not Just Another Wit is just another wit, only bigger and better. Witbier fans would do well to try this one.