First things first: the brewers do not add “body salts” to this beer. The name refers to the sweat of brewers bent over a boil kettle, an allusion to the ingredient of hard work.
In this case, the brewing work is done in Lochristi, Belgium, by the team at De Proefbrouwerij — widely known for its technical excellence and versatility, and the same brewery hired to make many of the products from the Mikkeller beer firm.
Like Mikkeller, To Øl—say it, “toe-uhl”—is based in Copenhagen, Denmark. In fact its two founders, Tobias Emil Jensen and Tore Gynther, were high school students of science teacher Mikkel Borg Bjergsø—he of Mikkeller fame. (They were Jesse Pinkman to the “Walter White of Beer,” as Vice put it.)
There are few duds among their recipes. For Black Malts & Body Salts, which they consider to be a black IPA, the idea was to use French press coffee to bridge ample helpings of hops and roasted malt—leaving out caramel malt and other sweets, but getting a sweet impression from fruity hops.
Somehow it works. Geekdom has responded in a big way, with Men’s Journal naming it one of its Best 100 beers, and users at Ratebeer giving it top marks and ebullient descriptions.
In this age of extreme variety and variety of extremes, To Øl’s recipes have a guiding philosophy that many consider refreshing.
“Key word for us in all our brewing is balance,” Gynther said in an email. “Balance is the challenge and with [Black Malts & Body Salts] I think we hit the perfect balance between the malts and the hops, and [it] might actually be the coffee in the beer that combines everything and creates the whole magic.”