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Celebrating St. Patrick's Day with Mikkeller stout and Kerrigold Dubliner cheese

With the passing of St. Patrick’s Day this week, I realized that I’m probably too old for green beer. In fact, the beer that I enjoyed celebrating with this year was much too dark to color green, anyway.

I also learned that St. Patrick was in fact not even Irish. Many of you may already know that he was a Brit who returned to Ireland, where he had been enslaved as a boy, to minister to the people who had once been his captors. That, at least, is the way that I learned the story this week.

This year, I spent part of my St. Patrick’s Day catching up with a dear friend, which I think is a great way to celebrate any holiday.

Dick and I share a similar palate for beer, and I had been saving my 25 centiliter bottle of Mikkeller barrel aged George (imperial stout, 12.12 percent ABV) that had been in my cellar for at least three years.  

Last weekend, while our family was in Indianapolis, I picked up some Kerrigold Dubliner cheese, which is sort of like an Irish cheddar made with stout. When I saw this, I knew it had St. Patrick’s Day written all over it.

When I researched this a bit, I found that the creamery adds the stout into their “double milled” cheddar. Unfortunately, they are not willing to share which brewery provided the stout. Here is their official statement:

“The stout present in Kerrygold Dubliner with Stout Cheese is produced by an Irish stout manufacturer for blending with our cheese. Since our agreement is limited to ingredient supply only, (we have no licensing rights) we are prevented from sharing information on the brand beyond advising that it is Irish. The percentage of actual alcohol content in the Stout cheese is 0.17%.”

Both Dick and I agreed that the cheese and barrel aged imperial stout complemented each other nicely. The Dubliner was wonderful, with both a nutty flavor and creamy mouthfeel, while at the same time having a slight sharpness.  

The beer was as rich as the cheese. Good dark, sweet fruit, bourbon and vanilla on the aroma and the flavor followed with much the same. Sweet figs and raisins up front, followed by some chocolate and coffee.

Rich creamy flavors from both the beer and the cheese blended nicely and made for a great St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Here are two other Mikkeller beers that I’ve enjoyed recently.

I toasted the 10th firing of my pottery kiln with a bottle of Mikkeller bourbon barrel aged Big Bad Worse. (Eric Strader/Flavor 574)

Last weekend I completed my 10th firing in Morrison, the gas kiln that I use to fire my pottery. For that occasion, I opened a bottle of Mikkeller Big Bad Worse (bourbon barrel aged edition, American Barleywine, 12 percent ABV) which was also a gift from a friend.

But my absolute favorite Mikkeller beer (and one of my all time favorite beers) is Beer Geek Brunch Weasel (imperial coffee oatmeal stout, 10.9 percent ABV). This beer probably deserves a whole post of its own, but I’ll give you just a bit about it here.

Beer Geek Brunch Weasel uses kopi luwak, or civet coffee. Kopi luwak is an extremely expensive delicacy and it comes from Indonesia.

The Asian palm civet selects and eats only the best coffee cherries (because the beans have a casing around them, they are called cherries) on the bush, and this coffee is made using the seeds of these coffee berries that have been eaten and then defecated by the civet. I certainly would not want the job of collecting and sifting through the droppings, but it sure makes for an amazing coffee and beer.

I first enjoyed this beer out of a 22-oz. bottle, but within the past year found 12-oz. bottles for sale at City Wide Liquors in South Bend.

One of the books in the recent First Friday drawing was “Mikkeller’s Book of Beer,” which I have just finished reading. Brewers Mikkel Borg Bjergsø and Kristian Klarup Keller founded Mikkeller Brewery in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Their brewery operates as a ”gypsy“ brewery, meaning that they do not have their own brew house, but rather collaborate with other breweries to brew in their facilities. The name of each of the founders was combined to form the name Mikkeller.

”Mikkeller’s Book of Beer” was written by Mikkel’s wife Pernille Pang, and I believe that the book is not yet available for sale to the general public. Look for this book sometime after April 1.

Mikkeller beer is imported by Shelton Brothers and sometimes their beer can be found in Michiana. I do know that there are currently some bottles of Beer Geek Breakfast at Chalet Party Shoppe locations, which is a collaboration with Anchorage Brewing Company. After calling the downtown location of City Wide Liquors, I was able to confirm that they have several different beers from Mikkeller in stock as well.

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