OMNIPOLLO TAP TAKEOVER screamed the A board outside an unassuming pizza restaurant in Copenhagen. The Beer Geek and I weren’t expecting much, the place was totally empty, but why not have a quick beer before heading onward! Out of the fading sunlight and into the stark white we stepped to find a bar tucked away at the back. Just the fifteen taps then.
Six taps of Omnipollo’s greatest hits, a maple version of Anagram, their De Molen DIPA collaboration Sitis, Julie Triple Mango Gose, Selassie Imperial Stout and more. With To Øl’s Sort Mælk, Founders KBS, Lervig Supersonic and Rodenbach Alexander backing them up a quick drink turned into numerous, and pizza.
Unexpected, yes. Unsurprising no. MBCC itself is the main attraction but just a slice of what is now Mikkeller Beer Week in Copenhagen.
OTHER HALF TAP TAKEOVER whispered the A board outside Fermentoren which is maybe a minute if you dawdle from the nameless pizza place. The Beer Geek and I were expecting a bit more here, a fair few more people than a couple of doors down mainly enjoying the last remnants of the sun outside.
Into the darkness we went to find twenty four taps, with over a third showcasing Other Half – Broccoli, Cheddar, DDH Hop Showers, Dream in Green, the Cloudwater collab Imaginary Greenscapes, Greenbacks, numerous other beers involving the word green. A couple of flights of dank, hazy, juicebombs later a half of Even More Jesus was most welcome as a slightly unconventional palate resetter.
Repeat this in numerous bars, restaurants and cafés around Copenhagen and you’ve got, what is quite easily, the best week of the year if you love, like or even have a passing interest in craft beer.
Still thirsty? There’s Himmeriget, home to the biggest list of Cantillon beers I’ve ever seen in a bar. To Øl’s BRUS, Warpigs and not forgetting Mikkeller’s numerous own bars including the original Viktoriagade bar where I chanced upon the best beer to ever pass these lips.
Mikkeller Black (Sauternes Edition) blew me away. A 21% ABV Imperial Stout all raisin, dark chocolate, coffee and booze on the nose it’s syrupy sweet and malty, with hints of chocolate, red wine and treacle. Never have I tasted anything as good as my Untappd will testify.
So the MBCC festival?
Yes, the real reason for the trip. Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen (MBCC). Rightly regarded as the best beer festival in the world, this two day event brings together the best brewers from Europe, the US and Asia who turn up armed with eight of their very best beers. Split into four sessions (of which I had tickets for three, arriving too late for session one) it’s not cheap coming in at around £60 a session but well worth it when you consider you’re getting unlimited beer in each four hour session.
Held at Øksnehallen a 5,000 square metre building in the heart of Copenhagen’s old meatpacking district it’s packed full of (obviously…) beers, brewers and thirsty punters of all shapes and sizes, from the super geeky with laptops to keep track of their beers to the semi geeky with Untappd and note books to those who are, quite literally, just there for the beer.
Pours of 50ml mean you can get round and sample as many beers as you can handle and if you get tactical and plan you’re unlikely to miss out on even the rarer beers. With the brewers limited to two beers a session some fly out very quickly, Omnipollo – and their gimmicky but great soft serve beers – and Cloudwater consistently two of the quickest to go but if you miss out no matter, everywhere you turn at MBCC there’s another to more than make up for it.
A steady pace of about 35 beers a session (the Beer Geek managed a few more with his pace, OCD and FOMO ensuring he missed nothing) saw that plenty were sampled and highlights were many with some of the US breweries really knocking things out of the park with their sours and stouts that rarely make it out of the US. Cycle once again blew me away with their big flavourful imperial stouts as did Prairie. At the other end of the spectrum Cascade‘s barrel aged sours and De Garde‘s spontaneously fermented beers really hit the spot but it’s almost unfair to pick those out amongst the quality on offer. Modern Times, Crooked Stave, Stone, Westbrook, American Solera, Cloudwater, Mikkeller, To Øl, Lervig, Alpha State, Fonta Flora and Hair Of The Dog all merit specific mention as, in utter fairness, do all there. To say the breweries brought their a-games is an understatement.
If you have been I’m preaching to the converted as I’m sure plans are already afoot with most for the next one but if you’ve not been and you love beer then make sure MBCC is top of your list for 2018. Go for the festival but go for as long as you can in the week before, you’ll drink more great beers in three or four days than you’ll very probably do in the rest of the year combined.
I’ll see you there.
- Maja – Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Omnipollo
- Nectarine Premiere – de Garde Brewing
- The Quadfather Aged In Bourbon Barrels (Four Barrel Blend) – Voodoo Brewing Company
- Birthday Bomb! – Prairie Artisan Ales
- Anagram Maple Blueberry Cheesecake Stout – Omnipollo / Dugges
Black 黑 (Sauternes Edition) – Mikkeller