I’ve been able to enjoy several Mikkeller products over the years. My favorite thus far has been their Big Worse, a well crafted barleywine that was pretty damned impressive. Other products from the company have been more hit, than miss — I don’t think they’ve produced a product that I’ve absolutely hated. And thankfully, this bottle of Alive keeps the positive trend moving along.
This 8% ABV wild ale is brewed for the company at De Proef Brouwerij. It’s a beer that doesn’t overwhelm the palate with too much of a wild character (delivered by a Brettanomyces yeast culture), but does offer a light funk to go along with a nicely developed hop profile. The end result is a beer that is light, flavorful and refreshingly drinkable.
Alive pours with a large pile of rocky foam that sits atop the deep amber brew. The foam fades extremely slowly, leaving behind excellent lacing on the glass.
The nose on the beer is fairly subtle, but I do get a nice caramel presence, light funk, fruity esters and grassy hops.
A welcome bit of tartness arrives with an initial presence of yeasty funk and caramel malt that then transitions quickly to grassy, piney hops with a moderate level of bitterness. The hop tingle lingers in the slightly dry and warming finish. For a wild ale, this beer goes down smooth. The hope character adds to the light tartness that the Brettanomyces brings to the table.
I think that the subtle nature of this beer is what makes it quite drinkable now, but I have a feeling that when it’s had some time to develop in the bottle, we’ll see more of that Brett character come out. I might have to try and find another bottle to set aside for a while to see just how that wild yeast culture affects the overall presentation of the beer. As it stands, Alive is a decent brew with plenty of hop notes and a subtle funk to give it a little something extra.