March 07, 2018
Mikkeller Baghaven: Nordlund’s Field Blend Release
At Baghaven we believe that using local and native ingredients is a unique way to infuse a sense of place, or terroir, into our beers. Cherries, various berries, and flowers are all useful ingredients that are commonly grown in Denmark. We were delighted to hear that there is a small vineyard and winery located in the municipality of Hvidovre, on the outskirts of Copenhagen, growing a variety of wine and table grapes and making very unique wines.
Our Master Blender Ehren came to Denmark from California, so naturally he is quite enthusiastic when it comes to combining grapes and beer. When he learned about Nordlund’s Winery and the grapes that Miriam Arcerito is growing outside of Copenhagen, he knew to pay her a visit.
The grapes grown in Denmark are quite different from the grapes grown in California, France or Italy. The skins are a bit thicker, imparting bolder flavors and more tannins to the wines. When infusing fruit into a wild ale, it is necessary to find fruits that are able to stand up to the complex flavors of the base beer. Hearty varietals with thick skins, like the ones grown at Nordlund’s Winery, are perfect candidates for this application.
Denmark experienced a late frost in May 2017, devastating many agricultural industries including Miriam’s crop of grapes at Nordlund’s Winery. Still, Ehren was determined to make something work with her 2017 crop. Ehren and Miriam agreed that a small portion of each varietal from her 2017 crop could be harvested for Baghaven, including several varietals of table (or eating) grapes. The blend of grapes consisted of Regent, Muscat Bleu, Don Muscat, Nero d’Avola, Beauty, Lilla, and Green Thronton. The latter 3 varietals are table grapes that aren’t used for wine, but tasted amazing.
The fruit was handpicked by Ehren and Miriam on August 31st, 2017. The whole-cluster grapes were macerated on a blend of 18-month-old wild ale fermented and aged in French Oak Foeders at a rate of 310 grams of fruit per liter of beer. The beer sat on the skins for 4 additional months and was bottled in 37,5 cL bottles on December 14th, 2017.
When brainstorming names for the beer, it occurred to us that we had unintentionally undertaken a very old style of wine making called field blending. Modern wine makers typically plant rows of single varietals, harvest and ferment them separately, and then blend the individual components into a final product. Field blending is planting, harvesting, and fermenting several different varietals of grapes together, essentially creating the blend in the field instead of in the winery.
Nordlund’s Field Blend: Wild Ale fermented and aged in a French Oak Foeder for 18 months and then aged on 310 grams of Danish wine and table grapes per liter of beer. 8.8% ABV, 11.1 g/L titratable acidity.
Release and bottle sharing with La Neta food pop up is mARCH 17 at 13.00