Mikkeller was founded in 2006 by a math teacher, Mikkel Borg Bjergsø and a journalist, Kristian Klarup Keller. Both were home brewers and when Mikkel got a job at a café that received imports like Chimay and Hoegarden it gave him a taste for beer that wasn’t readily available to him. Then one day when he drank an IPA from he quickly realized two things, he wanted to make beer like that and he could save a lot of money if he could.

Bjergsø and Keller began brewing together and quickly gained notoriety locally when they won a blind taste test with a clone beer they brewed. After that they began making their own recipes and entering and winning medals at homebrew competitions. They made a name for themselves by brewing on amateur equipment in a kitchen and when Mikkel’s twin brother Jeppe opened a beer shop in Copenhagen, he began distributing the beer for the two, which we know today as Mikkeller.

A really interested fact about Mikkeller is they are considered a phantom brewery, one in which does not actually operate out of its own space, but relies on taking his ideas and collaborating with other breweries to actually make the beers. Texas Ranger is brewed at De Proef Brouwerij in Belgium and was originally done so in 2010. It first came out in 750ml bottles, but has since expanded to 12-ounce bottles and Mikkeller has also done several different versions of the beer including aging it in bourbon barrels and scotch barrels.

The beer pours extremely dark, especially for a porter that clocks in at 6.6 percent. Based on looks alone this beer looks much more like a big stout, kind of crazy how it pulled so much color out of what would seem to be a fairly small grain bill. The head is very prominent and lingers around the glass for a good while. The head on the beer is an extremely dark khaki color, still having trouble wrapping my mind around this beer being 6.6 percent, especially as it laces so prominently around my glass.

There is a lot of interesting smells happening in this beer, I get a lot of earthy dirt, wood and tobacco, along with bitter chocolate and cocoa. I am also picking up scents of smoky and very roasty grain and malt, it’s so roasty though, it’s like it’s on fire, as I can pick up some smoke in it as well. The chipotle imparted a lot more smokiness into the nose than it did heat, I can smell a little bit of spice, but it is masked by the other more prominent smells.

I am tasting a lot, a lot of earthy, roasted malts in this one. I am picking up something like three day old coffee, where the acidity has died down and it’s very dull, also extremely dark chocolate, like cocoa powder. The flavor I am picking up that is throwing me off on this whole thing is that it tastes very similar to the way Copenhagen snuff smells and tastes. It’s taking me back to high school baseball where my buddies would use this stuff every day. I am having a really hard time looking past that quality in the taste as it’s conjuring up some memories of spit cups. Getting past that flavor profile, the heat from the chipotle pepper becomes more prevalent as you sip on the beer and it warms up some. The mouth feel on it isn’t half bad at all, it’s very creamy and rich and coats the mouth very well.

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Mikkeller Texas Ranger
BREWERY: De Proef Brouwerij
LOCATION: Lochristi-Hijfte, Belgium
STYLE: Porter
ABV: 6.6 Percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: $7.99 (12-ounce bottle)
RELEASE DATE: 2010
AVAILABLE IN: 12-ounce bottles
750ml bottles
BEERS POURED: One (12-ounce bottle)
Overall this probably wasn’t a great beer for me simply for the fact that it tasted so much like chewing tobacco that it through me off a little bit. The heat wasn’t very prevalent, and it came out more smoky than anything when it came to the Chipotle, but it was definitely dominated by the amount of earthy and roasty dull coffee and chocolate flavors happening in the beer. As mentioned though, once the beer warmed and you continued to sip it, the level of heat form the pepper came out much more. I would say that if you are a fan of stouts and porters and/or a fan of scotch then this beer would be a homerun for you, for me it is probably not something I would rush out of my way to get. I tried very hard to look past the things I didn’t personally like about it and enjoy it for what it is and overall it’s a solid offering, just certainly wasn’t brewed for my taste buds.
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