Cutting-edge gypsy brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergso teamed with Chuck Stilphen, founder of the Trappist and Trappist Provisions in Oakland, on Mikkeller Bar, the Tenderloin outpost of Mikkel’s famed Copenhagen beer bar. The establishment became an instant craft beer destination, with marble tiles giving way to people-focused murals, art lined brick walls, clean wood flooring and similarly styled bars, booths and communal tables. Mikkel and Stilphen created a massive beer menu, including 42 taps served at 40, 45 and 55 degrees, plus a sizable bottle list, and absolutely no tasters. Of course Mikkeller beers feature prominently.
On my first visit to a place that will inevitably become a regular haunt, I asked the beertender to suggest Mikkeller beers that are only available in-house. He pointed me toward Mikkeller Spontanframboos, a 7.7% ABV Lambic brewed with raspberries and aged in oak barrels. This was the most expensive beer available on draft, at $13, but worth it. The name Spontanframboos refers to the brewing process (spontaneous fermentation) and gives a nod to the beer’s base style, framboise. My Spontanframboos spilled from the tap at 55 degrees, sported a beautiful violet hue and delivered lingering tartness beneath a short foam cap. This was a special beer, and for the cost of a cocktail, well worth the price.