Mikkeller's Mikkel Borg Bjergsø (left) and AleSmith owner/brewmaster Peter Zien during brew day for they're collaboration beer, Beer Geek Speedway (photo courtesy AleSmith Brewing Company)
9990 Alesmith Court, San Diego
It’s nice to imagine two guys who are now giants of the craft brewing movement meeting as homebrewers and forming a lifelong friendship. My, my — the conversations, ideas, and techniques Peter Zien and Mikkel Borg Bjergsø have shared. One topic they famously broached happened via email when Borg Bjergsø, the creative mind and muscle behind Mikkeller, inquired as to how Zien, owner and brewmaster of AleSmith Brewing Company (9368 Cabot Drive, Miramar), incorporates coffee into his famed Speedway Stout. According to Borg Bjergsø, that’s the day his now-adored coffee-laced imperial stout, Beer Geek Brunch Weasel, was born. Such camaraderie is a hallmark of the craft brewing industry, and it will continue with this week’s release of an AleSmith-Mikkeller collaboration beer called Beer Geek Speedway.
Even though it has yet to be finished or bottled, this “over-the-top,” 11% alcohol-by-volume imperial oatmeal stout has already garnered a great deal of buzz online and in beer geek circles. Fittingly, it also came about via email when Borg Bjergsø invited AleSmith to participate in this year’s Copenhagen Beer Festival. When Zien emailed back to accept the invitation, he finished by suggesting they do a collaboration. Just like that, one of the most awesome brewing collabs in recent history was a go. For the brew, Borg Bjergsø came to AleSmith and worked with Zien and Head Brewer Ryan Crisp to brew his imperial stout. According to Zien, it was quite a challenge dialing the beer in to Borg Bjergsø’s specifications, but they got it done. From there, the beer was blended with Speedway Stout brewed with exotic, difficult-to-procure kopi luwak coffee to produce something truly unique.
This is actually the second time Zien and Borg Bjergsø have collaborated on a beer, the first coming in 2008 when they teamed with Stone Brewing Co. to brew a Belgian-style tripel. They had such a good time that it was an unspoken surety that they’d join forces again. To taste the results of their second shot at sudsy symbiosis, login to Brown Paper Tickets at 11 a.m., TODAY. That’s when bottles will go on sale (with a limit of four per-person). The bottles will then be made available for pick-up starting at a release party taking place Saturday, January 24 at AleSmith’s tasting room. In addition to first crack at the beer, visitors to the tasting room will also be able to enjoy Vietnamese and Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee-infused varieties of Speedway Stout as well as its barrel-aged and “Double Hammerhead” iterations.