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Mik MaleWinter in the summertime? Not quite, and certainly not weather-wise, but in terms of beverages, I subscribe to the same philosophy that sees ice cream to be enjoyed anytime, especially a cold-churned double scoop in winter’s harrowing chill, or a king-size bowl of hot ramen that’s fit for summer’s dog days… I couldn’t resist my latest beer purchase even if it were crafted for another season.

Imported from Denmark, Mikkeller’s beers have always been fascinating to me—his story is unique and his custom-built beers appeal to the wine lover inside me. I picked up a Ris a la M’ale—a three-seventy-five that read more like a Northern European dessert than a traditional fruit-laced ale. Belgian ales have softened the American palate for this kind of exploration.

Resisting my initial temptation to use wine glasses as makeshift vessels, the fiery red contents were split into beer mugs. Putting my nose near dunking-close to the lacy head, I picked out the adjunct ingredients that would make a tasty and tart kerse floppen (Dutch cherry tart), garnished with a little toasted almond. It only got better once sipped; flavors were forward in the mouth, with an exact amount of sweetness brushing against the tang that all in all provided added depth in its doughy build, and helped transform the beer into a balanced liquid dessert.

The playfulness of ingredients—ale brewed with cherries, almonds and vanilla, among other spices—is consistent with this brewer’s style. While not all his concoctions are a hit with my taste buds, the Ris a la M’ale definitely scored major points as a finish to a nice dinner with my family.

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