• Words by Mr Daniel Neilson

When the foodie destination of the moment, Denmark's Noma, wanted a house beer they turned to "gypsy" brewer Mr Mikkel Borg Bjergsø. Mikkeller is a nine-man team who have graduated from being "gypsy brewers" to operating three bars in Copenhagen, and one each in Stockholm, San Francisco and Bangkok, while Mikkeller beers are exported to more than 40 countries. The "gypsy" is a reference to the fact that in its early days Mikkeller rented space in different breweries as and when they had spare capacity. These days most of the company's beer is brewed at the futuristic de Proef Brouwerij, which is near Ghent in Belgium.

If the itinerant, outsourced production methods suggest that Mikkeller beers might lack character then nothing could be further from the truth. Mr Bjergsø, who worked on Mikkeller alongside Mr Kristian Keller until the latter left in 2007, made his name in 2006 with a homebrew called Beer Geek Breakfast. This mixture of oatmeal stout and French press coffee was voted No.1 stout on the forum ratebeer.com, and attracted sufficient attention for Mikkeller to sign a distribution deal for the US.

Becoming Noma's house beer happened after the Mikkeller team invited Copenhagen's wine waiters and sommeliers to taste its brews. Success has merely emboldened Mr Bjergsø, who tells MR PORTER "Mikkeller is a brewery that likes to experiment and go ways that nobody did before. The underlying ethos is 'no compromises'. I always do my best, use the best ingredients and brew at the best places. If I can find a better way I will go for it." Recent experiments include beers made with ingredients including Vietnamese Kopi Luwak (civet coffee), chipotle and lychees. Although not at the same time. That would be too much, even for Mikkeller.

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