Tobias Jensen and Tore Gynther started To Øl—which translates to “two beers”—in 2010, however the early groundwork for this gypsy brewery predates that by about five years. Tobias and Tore became acquainted during their high school years, and with the catalytic efforts from their teacher Mikkel Borg Bjergsø (Mikkeller), a home brewing passion turned in to a full-fledged commercial operation. The way in which To Øl began and their perspective concerning the centuries old status quo and traditional brewing methods runs a striking parallel to the storyline for Dead Poets Society.
To Øl independently and collaboratively produces superb offerings spanning many platforms of beer styles.
In each new endeavor, the goal is the same: quality. Everything about their beer is scrutinized to the most finite minutiae, and there is a constant focus to remain on the path of improvement. To Øl openly speaks on its website about their passion behind its product, all the way from the basic brewing process and the selected ingredients to the design and purposeful marketing of each beer. Aside from their involvement across nearly every aspect of the craft beer industry, To Øl puts it best in this way:
We do think it’s fun to provoke, inspire and communicate through different kinds of media. But in the end it’s the quality of the beer that should tell the most interesting story, nothing else.
Today’s subject for review is the To Øl Jule Mælk—which translates to Christmas milk. This beer is intended for consumption during the Denmark winter, so being that I’m in Houston, Texas I made sure to crank the A/C and pull the chain on the ceiling fan a few times. It’s the best I can do for April in the southern United States. This brew boasts a substantial arrangement of ingredients. The grain bill is listed as Pale, Special B, Melanoidin, Chocolate, Smoked, Dark Crystal, and Roasted Barley. And as for hops To Øl incorporates Sorachi Ace, Tettnanger and Tomohawk. Additionally they’ve added high amounts of lactose and Cassonade sugar which is unrefined and similar to brown sugar.
This stout pours as one would expect from such a ladened brew. As the distinct glugging sound emanates from the bottle, the glass is filled with rich earth tones and results in an obsidian like beer topped with a one-finger khaki head. The aromas are complex but mainly highlight the grains. A very sweet toffee and dark fruit focus is supported by notes of strong alcohol, bakers chocolate, and herbal hops. The mouthfeel is not unlike carbonated whole milk. Jule Mælk is an extremely heavy beer and coats the mouth with layers of lactose and malt. The flavors are quite representative of the aromas, and actually impart a tart wine-like experience. The sugars are very present from start to finish and dominate the profile, where the alcohol heat, toasted biscuit, and dark fruit senses remain between sips. The finish has a tinge of grit to it and the entirety of the mouth feels as if it has been painted with beer.