Completely Destroying Stylistic Boundaries
A Review of American Dream by Mikkeller
Posted on 9/7/2012 by Chops
                   
Delicious
When Mikkeller enters a craft beer conversation, the last style you would think to discuss would be the lager. It's like discussing Anheuser-Busch's fine line of Imperial IPAs (there's not one, no need to panic). So imagine my surprise as an American, visiting the Mikkeller Bar in Copenhagen, Denmark, and seeing a beer called the American Dream Lager on the tap menu. It was like seeing a McDonald's in Paris. It just didn't make any damn sense. But knowing Mikkeller the way I do, I could confidently assume that this brew was more of a whimsical interpretation of a common American staple.

In the glass, this beer has a semi-hazy golden brown coloration. That didn't take long. The appearance alone completely detached me from any lighter American assumptions. We were firmly into Mikkeller territory. This beer comes with a frothy white head that has pretty good retention. The aroma consists of a sweet malty base underneath an IPA-like hop sting that comes across as very earthy and spicy. At this point I had to pause and scratch my head because this was unlike any lager I had ever seen before. Course, I would expect nothing less from Mikkeller, so I shrugged my shoulders and went into the first taste with zero expectations.

Wow. One thing becomes abundantly clear on that first sip: this is the most aggressive lager you will ever taste. But here's the brain bender that took me a while to overcome: this beer still tastes like a lager. Yes, despite its IPA-like hop assertion, this beer retains the earthy grassy nature of a good lager. It's completely disorienting, but somehow works. The dominant hop presence is a sharp and stingy pine note. The finish is very dry with a lengthy bitter aftertaste. To be perfectly honest, American Dream drinks a lot like a strong West Coast IPA with clearly defined lager qualities.

Overall, Mikkeller's American Dream Lager is a really tasty brew that completely destroys stylistic boundaries. It retains all the great traits of a quality lager while stretching its tentacles into other style camps. It's a fantastic study on how beers can gain traits without losing substance. Once again, Mikkeller forces me to think hard about my beer, and this is of course why we keep coming back for more. Even a style as bland and simple as the American lager can be invigorated by the skillful hands of Mikkeller.

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American Dream by Mikkeller
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