When Mikkel Borg Bjergsø first tried Vietnamese coffee
made from Asian palm civet droppings in 2001, he had no idea he would one day be using the rare drink in his Danish brewery.
“I thought it was really interesting with
the low bitterness and chocolate flavours,” said Borg Bjergsø, founder of Mikkeller Brewery in
Copenhagen. But when he
started brewing beer in 2003, he realised the civet coffee would lend the ideal
taste to a strong stout. “When using coffee in beer, you don’t want the
bitterness as you get this from the hops, but you do want the chocolate
flavours for dark beer.”
With that thought, the Beer Geek Brunch
was born, an imperial oatmeal stout that has a roasted, chocolaty flavour thanks to the addition of Vietnamese ca phe chon, known colloquially as
weasel or cat poo coffee. It is “stronger, wilder and
heavier", said Borg
Bjergsø. “Therefore, drink it a little later in the day, for brunch.” The less adventurous can try the brewery’s Beer
Geek Breakfast, which is made with regular French press coffee. The civet
coffee beer is not the only adventurous brew that Mikkeller has attempted. The
brewery prides itself on developing about 80 new beers a year. Past creations
have included lagers with salt and seaweed, a porter with Mexican ingredients
like five different chillis and avocado leaves, and a porter with yuzu, a
Japanese citrus fruit.
Visitors to Denmark can instead get up
close and personal with Bjergsø’s brews at the Mikkeller Bar,
which serves 20 changing varieties
on tap, including the weasel beer on occasion. Bottled Beer Geek Brunch is always available.