Beer and Pavement

Mikkeller Royal Rye Wine: The Review

Posted in Beer, Beer Thousand, Intersections, Mikkeller, Records, Review by SM on January 30, 2012

Royal Rye Wine

Maybe I’ve over-extended myself, but this special occasion was reason enough to take this blog where it’s never been before. The Mikkeller collab Royal Rye Wine arrived a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been sitting on it, waiting for a brief moment in my schedule to review it properly. I don’t know that the video below does it justice, but we tried record the event and maybe we’ll get better with each episode.

My disclaimer is that this video beer review thing is not easy. The Hopry is the gold standard and now I understand why he doesn’t do it anymore. It’s a lot of work. Then there are those who consistently do professional-looking videos at New Brew Thursdays and 100 Beers in 30 Days… We’re just not at that standard just yet. I made the valiant effort of editing out a large portion of my “ums”, but you’ll notice I’m loaded with them. This is why I, um, blog.

Anyways, here’s the video. Below that, I’ll add some thoughts, what we did with the rest of the afternoon, and maybe even some additional media. Comment freely, but be constructive.

So, the beer was good and completely caught us off guard (in case you couldn’t tell). Normally, the three of us can talk forever on such things, but this beer left us speechless – something only Mikkeller can typically do. The rye was pronounced. The grape/wine flavors came and went as our palate was challenged by the rye and the beer warmed. There was a slight amount of carbonation, but as we drank, that dissipated quickly. However, the body of the beer did not suffer. This truly is a wine drinker’s beer. Typically, I think of sour beers as being the closest thing to wine a brewery can accomplish, but this beer actually attains a wine-like feel without wine barrels and the infections they carry. We weren’t just blowing steam up Mikkeller’s ass. This beer is both interesting and a lot of fun to drink.

Now, as far as the video, I’m hoping we’ll get better. You all should provide plenty of suggestions to make it better. I’m pretty happy with the opening and closing. Jeff and Jarrett were great. (Be sure to check out any out-takes I’ll post below. There’s good stuff there.) However, my stumbling, bumbling dialogue needs work. Maybe I’ll prepare a little better next time. Maybe we’ll do it live and you can see how it really goes down.

Anyway, there are some credits I forgot to include or didn’t make clear enough. Jeff took the pictures. You can find them here. Jarrett is a certified cicerone. So, he knows about which he’s talking. The opening credits song is “Hardcore UFO’s” from the Guided By Voices record Bee Thousand. If I missed something, let me know in the comments.

Oh look; beer.

We consumed the three beers above, plus one a homebrew Jeff contributed. The Allagash Interlude was a beer I found in Richmond, VA this past summer. It’s a 2009 vintage and contained tons of tartness with a touch of oak, another wine-worthy brew. Really, it was a delicious beer. I had had a 4 Calling Birds from The Bruery once before, but it was lost in a tasting. My palate was relatively fresh this time around and I found the nutmeg to be almost toxically good. Jeff’s homebrew was called Hop Heaven after Avery’s Hog Heaven Barley Wine. It was a hop-forward barley wine that could use some time to age, but that probably won’t happen. There’s noting wrong with that either.

Before I close, below you’ll find a video of out-takes, the two videos from Mikkeller dealing with the contest, and a Russian video about the Royal Rye Wine release. Enjoy!

Pics in this post are also courtesy of Jeff.

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16 Responses

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  1. Holly said, on January 30, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Nice! I thought you all did a great job with such an unusual beer. You will probably find it easier to add more information for beers where more is known about them upfront. I didn’t find the “ums” of which you spoke all that noticeable, personally.

    I know you love the opening and closing, but I did find the opening a bit long and rather dizzying with all the movement combined with extreme closeup (CDs, beer labels, etc.), but maybe that’s what the kids are into these days. 🙂

    I look forward to more of these!


    • Zac said, on January 30, 2012 at 10:31 am

      Thanks, Holly. I only wish that there was more of this beer to share with you and the other Enthusiasts.

      • Holly said, on January 30, 2012 at 11:27 pm

        Personally, I’m thankful NOT to have been on camera with you all for this. 🙂

  2. G-LO said, on January 30, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    Well done Zach! I concur with Holly about the opening. A bit long, but it was fun to view your extensive beer/music collection. It’s almost like you’re saying, “I’m not full of shit! I really love beer and music.”.

    As far as the chemistry between the three of you and the actual review, I thought it was great. The three of you were very natural on camera, and the review was very informative (you’ve made even more curious about Mikkeller). I took part in a Whisky Podcast over the summer of 2011, and I was very self conscious about the whole thing (it turned out pretty well overall, but that’s only because the podcast host is really good at what he does), so I can’t even imagine what it must feel like to work on a video for pretty much anyone to see. Hope to see you do more of these.


    • Zac said, on January 31, 2012 at 4:39 am

      Thanks for the kind words. Yeah, the opening is a bit long. The only thing is that I now have to edit the song down a bit. Still, it might be a worthwhile endeavor by the time we do this again.

  3. jeffmenter said, on January 31, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks for putting the video together. I know how daunting a task that can be.

    Also, thanks to you and Mikkeller for the beer!

    It was a hard beer to review. I’ve thought about it more in the past couple of days and here are my thoughts:

    1) I don’t have any experience with Jacobsen/Carlsburg or Baltika but just based on their websites, I assume their main output is beer in the lager/pilsner style. Mikkeller was just 1 out of 3 influences on this beer.

    2) It really was a beer that was designed to be a gateway for wine drinkers. Low carbonation, light body, and nothing too “beery” to overwhelm was part of the design I think.

    3) The yeast strain was really unique. It definitely wasn’t american, british, belgian, or any other nationality that I could recognize. I don’t know if it was the cyrillic writing on the bottle influencing my perception but I think it tasted russian?

    4) It would be wrong to approach this beer as you would any random Mikkeller beer. Mikkeller makes beers that are challenging even for beer geeks, but the Royal Rye Wine is designed for a Queen who is a wine drinker. I think, based on those constraints, it was a really well made beer.

    The initial impression was grape like in a wine, but as you get through a glass the rye spiciness takes hold. Brilliant for its intended purpose.

    Anyway, I’d consider myself privileged to join you for any other beer vlogging you want to do. Maybe I’ll even talk more!

    • Zac said, on January 31, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      Thank you as well. The pictures look great, BTW. It was a really well-made beer and it did meet its goal.

  4. Alex said, on January 31, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Great job on the review. I’m extremely jealous! Seems like a truly unique brew; I love the spicy character that rye brings to a beer. Rye on Rye from Boulevard knocked my socks off, but this looks like an entirely different animal. I guess I’ll have to hit up the Queen of Denmark to see if she has any extra bottles lying around . . .

    I’m looking forward to your Mikkeller Spotify playlist too.

    • Zac said, on January 31, 2012 at 6:30 pm

      Crap! I almost forgot about the Spotify list. Man, I have work to do.

      • Alex said, on January 31, 2012 at 7:05 pm

        Relax. What are they going to do? Ask for the beer back?

        But seriously, get to work, dude. 😉

  5. Yuri Katunin said, on February 1, 2012 at 5:48 am

    3) The yeast strain was really unique. It definitely wasn’t american, british, belgian, or any other nationality that I could recognize. I don’t know if it was the cyrillic writing on the bottle influencing my perception but I think it tasted russian?

    That’s right this is really unique yeast strain developed at Baltika. We could easely make barley wine (real barley wine from barley not barley malt) up to 17% ABV.
    Strain works at different temperatures with great results creating flavours we expect.

    Here in this beer we wanted to combine three brewing schools two Danish – classic and avangard ones and the Russian as well and to create something wine styled but not the bubbled champagne (like many exist), but the new word. So we’ve got grape leaves from Abrau Durso winery which were used during mashing (!!!)
    We used grade juice in boiling time accompanied by NZ Nelson Sauvin hops. + Our yeasts influenced much.

    From my point of view this is our greatest beer we created in our Collaboration Brewing Initiative programme.
    Of course Double Russian Imperial IPA with BrewDog or The Great Baltic Adventure Imperial Stout are epic, but this is real innovative.

    Thank you for your review! Good luck!

    • Zac said, on February 1, 2012 at 6:39 am

      Awesome! Thanks Yuri. I forgot about the hops. (How does anyone forget the hops?) that’s very interesting about the yeast. It’s a great beer and we certainly enjoyed giving it a try.

  6. teeeeom said, on February 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    I found the review rather long (the internet tends to shorten attention spans…) but otherwise well done. Do you plan to review the Mikkeller/Three Floyds collab?

    • Zac said, on February 2, 2012 at 7:45 am

      Yeah, I think a script or plan of some kind would help. I’ve considered the Boogoop for the next episode. Stay tuned.

  7. Best Beers of 2012 « Beer and Pavement said, on December 30, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    […] Mikkeller Royal Rye Wine Most of the Mikkeller releases I enjoyed this year were not all that new to me. However, the experience surrounding the Royal Rye Wine made this possibly the most memorable beer of the year. Read more about it here. […]

  8. […] I drank some Hopslam, but there’s little-to-no proof here. I was in the midst of this whole Royal Rye Wine thing. (FTR, there is some proof.) And I assume I had some in 2013 as well. Of course, maybe I […]

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