Struise Pannepøt Old Fisherman's Ale (Danish version)
For our first beer at Hot Shotz, we went big guns with the highly-touted Struise Pannepøt, a brand from Belgian brewery De Struise Brouwers. I first learned about this beer when Jeffrey T. and his crew reviewed it on the Good Beer Show and raved about it. When we arrived at Hot Shotz, I spotted a few bottles of the Pannepøt in the back of the bar's fridge. I wasn't surprised to see it given that Hans, who is quickly becoming our favorite bartender, is probably more of a hardcore beer geek than we are.
Without question, Pannepøt is the most complex beer we've reviewed. It is a chameleon of a beer, and I mean that in the best sense. The only thing that didn't change about this beer was its color, which was a dark, chocolaty brown. Every other attribute of the Pannepøt seemed to change with every sniff and sip. The nose began as a spice festival but morphed into an odor that reminded me of dark fruit drizzled with chocolate. The mouthfeel ranged from a medium slickness to a heavy chewiness. And the taste, like the nose, was all spice at the beginning but mellowed into a flavor reminiscent of raisins and caramel.
About halfway through this beer, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. Its changing character threw me for a loop. Yet when I got to the last three or four sips, I found myself really savoring this beer. My final verdict: This is a beer not to be missed for its absolutely unique character. It's an awesome beer (and I'm using the term "awesome" in its original sense, not its hot dog sense). 4.75 mugs.
For our second beer, we reviewed Struise Mikkeller, which is another unique ale. Brewed in collaboration by De Struise Brouwers and Danish craft brewery Mikkeller, Struise Mikkeller is their take on the Imperial IPA style. But to make this beer different, it is brewed using Belgian yeasts and candi sugar. The result was quite enjoyable but somewhat bizarre to my palate. It poured with a hazy orange color. The nose was, as one might expect from an IPA, very floral and citrusy, but there was a different note in the background: yeast. The mouthfeel was crisp and carried a lot of fizz. As for the taste, the Struise Mikkeller packed a full-on hop wallop, but finished with a yeasty flavor that is not present in most IPAs. Mike and Gina didn't seem to like this beer as much as I. I found it, like the Struise Pannepot, to be one of a kind. 4.10 mugs.
I agree with Jim that the Pannepøt was awesome, indeed. In the Venn diagram of beer, it would be on the far left (the window side). Just a few things I got from the nose were licorice, sweet mint, apples and nutmeg. The simply luxurious mouthfeel reminded me of a piece of melted dark chocolate. This beer was amazing and I am looking forward to the opportunity to try the Belgian version. 4.98 mugs.
As far as the Struise-Mikkeller, I really did like it, but not nearly as much as the Pannepøt. I really had a hard time deciphering the mix of flavors and I think the mix of Belgian and IPA qualities threw my taste buds off. However, the flavors did balance into an interesting combination. 4.0 mugs.
Other highlights for me were Kasteel Rouge on tap (SPECTACULAR), and Hans' offering of Autumnal Fire, a Dopplebock from Capitol Brewing Co. (Wisconsin). A good time had by all, as usual.
***As a note, Jim and I will continue to quote Eddie Izzard and generally annoy the rest of you at least until his show on May 10. Then we may have a whole new batch of quotes to dish out.
If you've been reading this site for a while, you already know Hans is the special breed of bartender. You already know that Hot Shotz has a nice variety of rare beer in bottles or on tap. You know that I like the BBQ pork sandwich. What you don't know is that their chairs are sort of wobbly.
Perhaps I'm easy to please, but that's the only thing I can think to complain about. But when you gaze into the cooler and find beer as rare as the two we had, everything seems a little better. These beers weren't cheap ($10 each), so if you're interested but frugal, use the buddy system. We split our samples three ways.
Struise Pannepøt 2006 - We knew from our past experience with Struise that this was a highly regarded beer - a Ratebeer 100, and a BeerAdvocate "A" in fact. But the problem with beers hyped so much is that the expectations are so unusually high that disappointment is a common occurrence. I'm happy to say that wasn't the case this time.
A dark tea-colored body supported a thin bit of ghostly lacing. The beer had an extremely tempting and strong nose of strong sweet sugary apple which lead to a similar taste. The beer had a similar nose feel to nail polish, but was smooth and warming on the pallet, and not overly strong. Tart but not tart. Typically Belgian, and yet the beer had something more - hints of fruit and fig, a little punch on the tongue - every sip revealed something new. This is the kind of beer that leads a guy to inventing new words ("nose feel?") and contradicting himself all in one paragraph (tart but not tart, smooth and yet "a punch on the tongue").
The label reads as follows:
"Pronounciation is a bit difficult, but sounds like pannepeut but is totally different than pannepot."This seemed to confuse both Jim and Gina, but for some reason I thought it fit the beer exactly. Exactly What. 4.89 Mugs
Struise Mikkeller - When brewers and websites get together, it usually leads to great things. Example number one would be Brugge Beer's Sint Sylvester Vooranvond - A HBG Commemorative Ale. For another example, you can check out Struise Mikkeller, whose bottle reads as follows:
"Behold the second of RateBeer.com’s Worldwide Masters Series! This request edition ale is the crafted alchemy of a party of some of Europe’s finest brewers, Mikkel Bjergsø and Kristian Keller of Mikkeller (Copenhagen, Denmark) and Urbain Coutteau, Carlo Grootaert, Phil Driessens, and Peter Braem of De Struise Brouwers (Woesten-Vleteren, Belgium).What's the result? A cloudy copper colored beer with light lacing, a nose of flat (think old flowers) hops, glue, and the medicine they use on cavities (I've been to the dentist lately), a hint of apple, and feet. Surprisingly enough, none of those elements were off putting; instead they led to a sort of wonderment. A floral and tight hop bite front lead to absolutely no middle and a lingering bitterness on the finish. Chewy. Tasty. Different. 3.62 Mugs
Both breweries have attracted considerable international attention for their artful interpretations of traditional ale styles enlived by a rich sense of invention. And both are also very highly esteemed by the RateBeer.com international community of beer tasters. We hope you enjoy this unique little treasure.
Struise Mikkeller -- the product of master brewing and friendship. Celebrate this sense of camaraderie by sharing this bottle with your good friends!
- Joe Tucker, RateBeer.com"
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Jason was highly jealous of our Pannepøt experience and decided to review it later by himself, which altered the overall score slightly. You can check out Jason's review here.