Peter, Pale and Mary

by Steve

Glass and bottle of Peter, Pale and Mary beer from Mikkeller

There is something a little intimidating about beers from the Mikkeller brewery. They feel like serious beers, as they are what all the proper, seasoned beer geeks rave about. There is intimidation and excitement. It is not unlike listening to free jazz or reading Infinite Jest for the first time. It might not be a comfortable experience. You might not like it. You might not get it. And that might make you question your own taste, in the widest sense of the word.

I had a bottle of Mikkeller’s Peter, Pale and Mary last night. It is wildly approachable. A fantastic beer.

The aroma was amazing. There were the tropical aromas I’d expect from this kind of pale ale, but far more prominent, with lots of mango up front. The initial taste was really sharp and bitter, but in a refreshing way. There was a near-sourness to it, that kind of moreish sour that makes certain brands of sweets the crack cocaine of the candy world.

Then this weird alchemy goes on, as the aftertaste shifts everything from being sharp/bitter to really sweet, the mango returning along with some orange. The fizziness of the beer along with these flavours gave the impression of some sort of sherbet and maybe some sort of distant childhood orangeade memory. And then another sip, back to the sharpness and the beer avoids ever becoming cloying, in some sort of beery virtuous cycle.

It was a rare beer in being really complex, with a lot of sensations to unpack, yet was really easy to drink. This wasn’t a challenging beer to struggle through, it was a beer that I think is just plain fun. While I did savour it over an hour or so, you could just as easily drink it more quickly and still get a lot of enjoyment from it.

The bottle looks great too, with the label reflecting the 60s folk-inspired name of the beer. I love when a beer looks as good as it tastes. There is a lot to be said for stylish design homing great beer. It shows you don’t need to stick some sort of Dungeons and Dragons nonsense on your beer.

This was my first bottle from the Beerbods project. They send through a box of 12 beers and each week you have one and tweet about it at a designated time. It is a great concept and a great way of not only trying new beers but finding out what other people think about them too. I got a subscription as a present earlier in the year, and as I am a terrible person I only recently got around to activating it, although it has been quite the summer. However, it feels like the run-up to Christmas is a good time to work through my box of beer. Peeking in the box there a lot of treats ahead.

Awful photography from the author.