If the eye-catching labels of Evil Twin’s distinctive brews don’t get your attention, their names — among them Bikini Beer, Plastic Man, Femme Fatale, Justin Blåbær, Imperial Biscotti Break—will do the job. And once you’ve tasted them, they’ll have your full attention.
Recently, I tasted a selection of the beers created by Evil Twin’s Danish creative genius, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, who is the twin brother of the equally iconoclastic Mikkeller founder and brewmaster, Mikkel Borg Bjergsø. The tasting, which I curated, took place at a meeting of a local beer club, Long Islanders for Fermentation Enjoyment, which meets monthly to share new beers.
Evil Twin is a gypsy or nomadic brewer (not unlike Mikkeller or Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project), producing its beers at breweries with extra capacity and a willing brewer. Evil Twin’s beers originally were produced at various breweries around Europe and were first imported to the U.S. two years ago by Brooklyn-based Twelve Percent Imports. Now, having moved from Copenhagen to Brooklyn, Jarnit-Bjergsø utilizes Westbrook Brewing in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., to produce the beers under contract.
The tasting included beers across a wide range of strengths, styles and flavors. Some were easy to drink; others made with Brettanomyces (a yeast sometimes known as Brett) had a more distinct flavor profile as did a beer made in the style of a Berliner Weise. And, the most potent beer of all proved to be, perhaps, the most interesting and most pleasurable of the bunch.
Some of my notes from the tasting:
Bikini Beer, IPA. 2.7% abv. A bottled version (it’s also available in cans) of this lightweight IPA, brewed at Lervig Aktiebryggeri, Norway, that Jarnit-Bjergsø describes on his web site as “a sissy beer” for inexperienced craft beer drinkers. It’s a golden, extraordinarily light-bodied brew with a big hoppy nose. ★★★
Plastic Man Saison Farmhouse Ale. 5.5% abv. Brewed at Westbrook in collaboration with Chicago’s Local Option Brewing, this cloudy, gold brew offers up a spicy nose and a spice-box palate. Bitter and dry on the finish. ★★½
Femme Fatale Yuzu Pale. 6% abv. An American-style IPA flavored with Yuzu, a small, citrus fruit that tastes like a cross of a lemon and an orange, and fermented with Brettanomyces. Originally brewed in Denmark, it’s now made at Westbrook Brewing, Mt. Pleasant, It’s a pale, cloudy gold with a white head and lemony nose There’s lemon and a bitter funkiness on the palate and it’s surprisingly refreshing. ★★★★½
Femme Fatale Noir. 6% abv. Originally brewed in Demark and now at Westbrook, this is an American-style black IPA fermented with Brettanomyces. Ebony in color with a mocha head it offers notes of chocolate, smoke and licorice notes. The funky character seems muted. ★★★★
NoMader Wit. 5% abv. Brewed at Westbrook, this is a Brett-fermented wit beer with traditional coriander and orange peel seasonings. It’s a cloudy gold and exudes funk and spice. Wondering if it might be more pleasurable sans Brett. ★★½
Justin Blåbær Blueberry Beer. 4.5% abv. Brewed at Westbrook in collaboration with the Charleston Beer Exchange, a craft beer store, this is a blueberry flavored brew in the Berliner Weise style. Blåbær, by the way, is the Danish word for blueberry. It’s cloudy gold with a white head. The nose is tart, as is the palate and the finish, well, strongly acidic. You’ve got to be a fan of the style to appreciate this. ★★★★
Imperial Biscotti Break. 11.5% abv. Another Danish original now brewed at Westbrook, this is an imperial Porter with coffee and, perhaps, vanilla and almonds (they’re not identified on the label. This is a deep-brown hued brew with a short mocha head. On the nose there are notes of coffee and vanilla nose. On the palate, layer after layer of flavors unfold with notes of raisins, nuts and chocolate. Perfect for after dinner. ★★★★★
Based on this tasting, I can’t wait to try the many other Evil Twin brews. Which have you tried? What were your impressions?