Mikkeller Santa's Little Helper 2011

Mikkeller Santa's Little Helper 2011 - 10,9% abv

I put some away to see if they ever become nice. I guess it has aged nicely since it's no longer annoying? It is still harsh and uncompromising. But the scent is good. It is spicy and hoppy and bitter and malty but no longer are the alcohol and bitterness dominating. This is drinkable. It has softened into something vaguely enjoyable.

But is Mikkeller still overrated IMO? Yes. Lack of annoyingness and becoming kinda drinkable with age isn't yet a ringing endorsement. Though maybe a 2011 just isn't old enough.

Interesting. What is it about their beers you don't like, Otto?

I am drinking some Windy Hill tonight which is more or less the gold standard of New England IPA, and it's a beautiful drink.

I find their stouts and porters quite tiresome and repetitive, and their sours are very average too.

I don't bother with them now outside of IPAs. Cloudwater are much more impressive in terms of delivering across a range of styles.
Yes, interesting discussion here. I’ve never found any issues with Mikkeller (apart from their first year of brewing in San Diego, when they struggled to find their West Coast identity). In fact, my wife got into craft beer thanks to Mikkeller’s It’s Alive Belgian Dark Ale aged in wine barrels with mangos added.

There’s no doubt that the beer Mikkeller contract brews in Belgium is a far cry from what they brew in San Diego, but beer variety is the spice of life.

It’s also a subjective topic amongst beer fans. I personally, would hardly call Windy Hill the “Gold Standard” of NEIPA’s - I mean, it’s okay, but I prefer Mikkeller’s Savior NEIPA. American beer purists would probably call Vermont’s The Alchemist Heady Topper as the Gold Standard NEIPA - the original and best, as they say.

That said, for my money, no one does a better hazy/murky/milkshake/NEIPA than Pure Project Brewing Co. We just had their 3rd Anniversary NEIPA’s tonight: Power in Numbers, both in its 6.8% and 10.6% forms and I can’t say enough how magnificent these beers were. They certainly give Mikkeller something to think about

I’ve drifted off the point a bit here, but returning back, I checked my beer notes and I found Mikkeller Santa’s Little Helper from 2012 that we tasted in 2015 and my review couldn’t be more positive.

Beer is a beautiful thing, but we all see and react to it in different ways. That’s what makes it beautiful.
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Thanks for the tip Ian - my choice of gold standard as a phrase was probably a bit aggressive, maybe a benchmark or reliable stalwart is a better term.

I think the unequivocally best NEIPA I've had has been from Maine Beer Company, I believe it was Woods and Waters. Saying that, I've had some great ones from Bottle Logic and Alpine, too. Too many choices. Mikeller Windy Hill is where I always return to for stability, though.

I suspect you probably get a better selection down in SD - I have never seen Savior before.