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Spotted: Mikkel in the desert

CATEGORIES: Beer Editor  

(from left) Arizona Wilderness' Jonathan Buford and Mikkeller's Mikkel Borg Bjergsø

The start of this week for Arizona beer lovers was rare, to say the least: Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, the man behind Mikkeller, stopped into the greater Phoenix area to collaborate with Arizona Wilderness Brewing, a brand-new outfit that was recently named RateBeer’s “Best New Brewery in the World.” First he held court at a local World of Beer for a Mikkeller tapping, then swung by AZ Wilderness for the tapping of the brewery’s highly anticipated barrel-aged American Presidential Stout, and later that day, hung out for Denmark in the Desert, an incredibly delicious Denmark-meets-Arizona beer dinner prepared by the AZ Wilderness kitchen. At the dinner, I had the pleasure of sitting next to Mikkel and Mikkeller operations manager Jacob Gram Alsing, where they brought me up to speed on some of the newest developments in their world.

Opening a brewpub with 3 Floyds
This took me by complete surprise. Mikkeller is opening a brewpub (described as a 50/50 split) with Indiana brewery 3 Floyds called War Pigs—in Copenhagen. The 10-hectoliter system will possibly be helmed by 3 Floyds and Mikkeller staff, and located in the city’s meatpacking district, which is fitting considering the main cuisine will be American-style barbecue (Mikkel noted that they’re searching for an American barbecue chef to run the kitchen). As for the beer? It will be out-there, experimental stuff exclusive to the brewpub, but the brewery will also open itself up to other collaborations. “It will be more like CBC [Copenhagen Beer Celebration] where we invite in other breweries—something that’s never been done before,” says Mikkel. Look for this to open as early as winter 2014, but most-likely early 2015.

Copenhagen Beer Celebration 2015
Speaking of CBC, the Mikkeller duo noted that they’re expanding the festival’s list of breweries to 45 next year—apparently they’re already getting requests from breweries around the world to be added to the exclusive list; this year’s installment just wrapped up last month. We’re marking this down as a must-visit fest for 2015.

Mikkeller in the air
You may have read that Mikkeller beer will soon be available on Scandinavian Airlines, and I was able to get a look at the can prototype, which features the awesome artwork of Mikkeller label artist Keith Shore. The beer’s a witbier, crafted specifically for the airline company (keep that in mind next time you’re booking a flight to northern Europe).

Now, more pictures from the Arizona Wilderness American Presidential Stout release:

Arizona Wilderness Barrel-aged American Presidential Stout

All of these people (and many more!) showed up to Arizona Wilderness at 9 a.m. on a Monday morning to sample the beer and score a growler.

(from left) Arizona Wilderness' Buford and brewmaster Patrick Ware.

Buford and Bjergsø show off their tonuge-in-cheek collab T-shirts


Chris Staten is DRAFT’s beer editor. Follow him on Twitter at @DRAFTbeereditor and email him at chris.staten@draftmag.com.


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