Danish Weasel Beer: Mikkeller ApS, Southeast Asian Civets, and Vietnamese Coffee Beans

by DerdriuMarriner

Some Mikkeller stouts attain animal alcohol status. Their quality benefits from animal inputs. The Danish brewery includes Vietnam-grown beans digested and expelled by palm civets.

Coffee-drinkers sometimes appreciate finding their favorite brew in other manifestations.
• For example, biscuits, cakes, cookies, frostings, gravies, ice creams, muffins, scones, and yogurts particularly cooperate with inputs from coffee brews, flavoring, and grounds.

It does not require too much of a leap to proceed to alcohol and coffee mixes.
• Long-standing traditions in European cultures indeed encourage combining coffee with amaretto or cognac.
• Coffee associations additionally find their way into European traditions regarding beer.

Beers in fact find their darker expressions in bitter, dry, strong stouts.
• Popular variations include coffee stouts whose appearance, aroma, and taste demand super-dark roasted malts and may involve ground coffee.

Civet-digested and eliminated beans indeed number among the ingredients in Mikkeller's weasel stouts.

*****

Mikkeller ApS
website: www.mikkeller.dk

Mikkeller ApS
Vesterbrogade 20, 1.TH.
DK-1620 Copenhagen V
Denmark

email: info@mikkeller.dk
phone: +45 33227997

*****

Mikkel Borg Bjergsø (center) at Belgium's Alvinne Craft Beer Festival 2011

Picobrouwerij Alvinne, West Flanders Province, northwestern Belgium
Picobrouwerij Alvinne, West Flanders Province, northwestern Belgium

 

A craft brewery also answers to the designation microbrewery since the company in question is organized to create beers for distribution in smaller amounts over smaller areas. The microbrewery known as Mikkeller combines the names of the limited liability company's two founders, Mikkel Borg Bjergsø and Kristian Klarup Keller. Its official founding just dates back to 2006 even though the brewery's formal organization is the culmination of:

  • Acquaintance with beer during Mikkel's preparation to teach high school mathematics and physics;

  • Autodidacticism through home-brewing instruction manuals published in the United States of America;

  • Experimentation with hops, malts, and yeasts in basements and kitchens for 2-1/2 years;

  • Marketing through Mikkel's twin Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø's Ølbutttiken ("Bottle Shop"), founded in 2005.   

 

Beer Geek Breakfast: imperial Oatmeal stout brewed with one of world’s most expensive coffees, made from droppings of weasel-like civet cats.

Guest brew made at Nøgne Ø in Grimstad, Norway, at the end of March 2009.
Guest brew made at Nøgne Ø in Grimstad, Norway, at the end of March 2009.

 

Beer Geek Breakfast epitomizes the strengths of and stresses upon Mikkeller. Its high marks by critics explain Mikkel’s decisions to:

  • Enter 8 beers in the Danish Beer Festival;
  • Expand from at-home experimentations;
  • Find offices in his native Denmark’s capital city;
  • Produce beers off-site at established breweries in Asia, Europe, and North America;
  • Release some labels year-round and others by event-, site-, and volume-specific criteria.

The initial appeal of and persistent demand for Beer Geek Breakfast give expression to the pleasurable pressures which Mikkeller creates and experiences in committing to:

  • Ingenuity;
  • Internationalization.

Inventiveness is evidenced in Mikkeller’s high-alcohol imperial stouts respectively including the caffeines and oats of coffee and oatmeal stouts. Sometimes the wheel needs to be re-invented.

 

Nøgne Ø, independent brewery founded in 2002, serves as one of Mikkeller co-founder Mikkel Borg Bjergsø's ghost breweries:

Nøgne Ø is outgrowing its current quarters in former hydro electric power plant and is expanding into its 3rd location, formerly a boat warrehouse.
Gamle Rygene Kraftstasjon, Grimstad, Aust-Agder county, Sørlandet region, southeastern Norway.
Gamle Rygene Kraftstasjon, Grimstad, Aust-Agder county, Sørlandet region, southeastern Norway.

 

Internationalization can be evinced at all levels within Mikkeller. For example, Philadelphia-based artist Keith Shore functions as label, merchandise, and publicity designer. Mikki has brewpubs -- which include site-exclusive brews -- in:

  • Bangkok, Thailand;
  • Copenhagen, Denmark;
  • San Francisco, California;
  • Stockholm, Sweden.

For realizing his original recipes, Mikkel looks to collaborations with:

  • AleSmith in San Diego, California;
  • BrewDog in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland;
  • Brother Jeppe’s Evil Twin in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York;
  • Cigar City in Tampa, Florida;
  • De Proefbrouwerij (De Proef Brewery) in Lochristi, Belgium;
  • Jester King in Austin, Texas;
  • Lervig Aktiebryggeri (Lervig Brewery) in Stavanger, Norway;
  • Nøgne Ø (Naked Island) in Grimstad, Norway;  
  • Three Floyds in Hammond, Indiana.

He requires as standard ingredients American hops and Vietnamese coffee.

 

Terraced coffee plants in Vietnam's coffee-growing province of Lâm Đồng

Đà Lạt (Dalat), Lâm Đồng Province, Central Highlands, Vietnam
Đà Lạt (Dalat), Lâm Đồng Province, Central Highlands, Vietnam

 

Coffee cannot grow outdoors north of the Tropic of Cancer -- at 23°North latitude -- or south of the Tropic of Capricorn -- at 23°South latitude. Vietnam configures its entire territory south of the Tropic of Cancer. The southeast Asian socialist republic exists as a major coffee-producing country -- second to Brazil -- because of coffee-, indigo-, tea-, and tobacco-exporting plantation economies during the French colonial period, 1857 – 1954. Coffee cultivation persists in the central highland provinces of:

  • Đắk Lắk;
  • Gia Lai;
  • Kon Tum;
  • Lâm Đồng.

It requires altitudes of:

  • 1,640.42 – 2,296.59 feet (500 – 700 meters) above sea level for black (Coffea excelsa) and robust (C. canephora) coffees;
  • 4,921.26+ feet (1,500+ meters) for Arabian (C. arabica) varieties.

 

cà phê chồn: Vietnam's weasel coffee

"the weasel's deal"
"the weasel's deal"

 

Coffee-drinking still claims alimentary, cultural, and economic significance in Vietnamese society. Super-popular ways of ingesting caffeine include:

  • Cà phê đen đá (iced black coffee);
  • Cà phê đen nóng (hot black coffee);
  • Cà phê sữa dá (iced coffee with milk);
  • Cà phê sữa nóng (hot coffee with milk);
  • Cà phê trứng (hot coffee with beaten raw egg, with or without milk).

But it is with the likewise popular cà phê chồn (civet/weasel coffee) that Danish stouts -- such as Beer Geek Breakfast, Beer Geek Brunch Weasel, and Beer Weak Brunch Weasel -- intersect Vietnamese coffees. Mikkeller labels list gourmet kopi luwak (civet/weasel coffee) thanks to Chon Coffee’s distributional arrangements and Trung Nguyen’s brown- and yellow-signed “coffee king” franchises.

 

Founded in 1996, Vietnam's coffee giant, Trung Nguyên Group Corporation, features weasel coffee, both real (cà phê chồn) and simulated (Legendee).

Trung Nguyên Coffee, Ho Chi Minh City, southern Vietnam
Trung Nguyên Coffee, Ho Chi Minh City, southern Vietnam

 

Asian common (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), gem-faced masked (Paguma larvata), large Indian (Viverra zibetha), large-spotted (Viverra megaspila), small Indian (Viverricula indica), and small-toothed (Arctogalidia trivirgata) civets are fruit-eating, musk-releasing, night-loving, tree-climbing mammals whose bio-geographies include Vietnam. Asian common palm civets particularly attract attention because of flavor, flesh, fragrance, and fur. They favor deciduous, evergreen, primary, and secondary forests up to 7,874.02 feet (2,400 meters) above sea level. But in pursuit of luscious water-filled fruits, they frequent banana, coffee, mango, melon, and pineapple plantations. They ingest red, ripe coffee berries but leave trails of parchment- and silver skin-encased, undigested bean-filled droppings. They always select the best pulps, whose pits supposedly mellow and sweeten from interactions with buccal and gastro-intestinal enzymes.

 

Đặng Lê Nguyên Vũ (born February 10, 1971) founded Trung Nguyên in Buôn Ma Thuột, capital city of one of Vietnam's stellar coffee-producing provinces, Đắk Lắk, in 1996;

His company features both genuine and simulated versions of its famous cà phê chồn (weasel coffee). As of August 2010 the company was focusing on wild or free-range civets for Weasel sub-brand.
CEO of Trung Nguyên Group Corporation
CEO of Trung Nguyên Group Corporation

Conclusion

 

Brewed beers and brewed coffees are uncontroversial when regulations get respected. Brewed coffee stouts face controversy when drinkers dispute coffee-like or real coffee inputs. They guarantee controversy when ingredients include civet-/weasel-impacted beans. Civet/weasel coffee stout is lauded for complimenting dessert oysters and for evoking:

  • Bittersweet chocolates;
  • Burned almonds;
  • Salty caramels;
  • Vanilla subtleties;
  • Wet soils.

It is rebuked for animal rights violations against caged, force-fed civets in Indonesia and the Philippines. Mikkel currently prefers Vietnamese civet-/weasel-expelled beans roasted to 350°F (176.67°C) with chicken fat and 12-herb wine. But civet-like natural enzyme soak processes discovered by German scientists in 1996 stand as viable alternatives. Tasting their products and visiting their brewpubs verifies that Mikkeller indeed prioritizes patronage and reputation.

 

Mikkeller Bar at 34 Mason Street in San Francisco

San Francisco, northern California
San Francisco, northern California

Acknowledgment

 

My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.

 

"sad luwak": kept in cage and fed nothing but coffee beans

Ubud, Gianyar Regency, central Bali, southeastern Indonesia
Ubud, Gianyar Regency, central Bali, southeastern Indonesia

Dedication

 

This article is dedicated to the well-being of Asian Common Palm Civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus).

 

Mikkeller bar, Döbelnsgatan 25, Stockholm: company's third bar in Scandinavia, opened in February 2014:

Two other bars in Scandinavia are located in Copenhagen.
Stockholm, southeastern Sweden
Stockholm, southeastern Sweden

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Mikkeller in Copenhagen

Copenhagen, eastern Denmark
Copenhagen, eastern Denmark
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

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Updated: 09/03/2014, DerdriuMarriner
 
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