Saturday, before going to work at Radio Maria, I stopped at Crane Alley to have a beer and lunch.
I remembered that Aaron had mentioned they had bottles of Mikkeller 1000 IBU, so I figured, why not attempt to remove the taste buds from my mouth.
I drank it with a Reuben (I really enjoy the Crane Alley Reuben sammich), also, I figured, have a 1000 IBU beer, with a sammich with 1000 island dressing.
The beer comes in paper (like some Belgian lambics or some Belgian xmas beers). Also, it has a cork and cage. I don't think the cage is necessary, as there wasn't a whole lot of pressure behind this.
It poured opaque, had some real good head retention, and laced the glass well. It was a dark wood color, almost was the same color as the bar.
It smelled like hops. Not necessarily fruity or floral hops, it smelled like piney hops. It reminded me of (i think) a juniper bush. It was the smell of my childhood of climbing up evergreen trees and getting the sap on my clothes, and that smell wouldn't come out, neither would the sap.
It felt thick and coated the tongue.
It tasted, initially, (go figure) bitter. It had a sweetness in the middle. But then there was a strong bitter finish. It took a while to get there, but the finish of the initial sip almost made me gasp, it was so bitter. You can tell there's a lot of malt in this thing to balance out the hops, otherwise, it could easily be an undrinkable hop bomb. It was piney, yet sweet. Oddly, it seemed to sweeten my mouth. As the taste left my mouth, it felt like I had just eaten sugar.
The beer was so bitter, that it left a sweet-sugary taste in my mouth. I had earlier drank a mountain dew, and I thought that I possibly still may have had some of the sugars in my mouth, but then realized that there was no way anything could have survived the onslaught of hops that this thing provided. It was so bitter that after the taste went away, it made the air I was breathing taste sugary.
In the Skinny Puppy song, "Inquisition" off the album Last Rights, there's a line that says "desserts so sweet, leaves bitter taste in the mouth... forever". This beer was the opposite, it was so bitter, it left a sweet taste in the mouth (not necessarily forever).
At Crane Alley, the beer is $15. They will present it to you in a tulip. It comes in a 375 ml. Which is more than enough for a person. I recommend sharing it with someone; it's something you'll want to bounce flavors and the experience off of, just to see what you both get out of it.
Would I get this again, hell yes. It's not that high in alcohol at 9.6%, and it didn't hit me as being even that high. You could probably let this beer sit for 5 or 10 years and it'll still be a hop bomb. They say you can't detect bitter at above 100 IBU, so this thing will have quite a few years before it gets below that threshold. It is in a green bottle, so keep it in the paper, if you plan on letting it sit for some years. Remember, light struck hops will degrade normally into a skunky flavor. This one has a lot of hops to degrade. If kept in hot or well lit areas, it could quickly turn into the 1000 skunks beer.