Mikkeller Continues To Take Over The World.

Mikkeller BKK


Searching for the brand new Mikkeller Bar in Bangkok isn’t necessarily what I’d call easy.  At least it wasn’t when I was trying to find it on the second night after it was opened officially.  I found their address and plugged it into Google Maps, and up came some far off soi off a soi on Ekkamai off Sukhimvit that I thought for sure was going to have me end up in some strange Thai neighborhood in Bangkok wondering where I was.

Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, owner of the gypsy brewery Mikkeller, has chosen to stick his third bar on the planet (the other two are in Copenhagen, Denmark – his home country, and San Francisco) not in the heart of New Bangkok, but hidden, right nearby. The bar itself is simply a house in the more upscale Ekkamai neighborhood converted into a living space upstairs, and the bar downstairs, with the refrigeration and keg storage space in the back.  They’ve turned the lawn into an exceptionally lounged out grassy area with squatter tables with upscale beanbags for chairs.  There’s a patio as well with about eight or so taller sit tables for those that don’t feel like being on the ground, but not in the AC controlled non-mossie environment inside.

To locate the bar, you can now search it on Google Maps, but I may as well just tell you how to get there anyways:  Head to Sukhimvidt Road and head towards Sukhimvidt 63 which is the Ekkamai neighborhood soi.  Take a motorbike taxi from there down to Ekkamai 10, which will be on the right hand side of the street coming from Sukhimvidt.  From there it’s a short walk.  Simply walk down Ekkamai 10 and take your first right.  Then take your first left.  In about 20-40 seconds on the right you’ll see a house, yes I said a house, that just happens to be where you’re going to find absolute deliciousness in the beer realm unlike anything else in Thailand, or potentially all of SE Asia for that matter.

When asked on why Mikkel had picked the location, Pete, the Tap Master (says his card), resident of the establishment, and more outspoken of the three main gents that run the place, simply said, “He wanted it to be a destination.  We don’t want every drunk idiot traveling in Thailand to be able to just stumble in.”  Mikkel’s beers range from a 1.3% ABV Low Alcohol Wheat Ale called ‘Drink’in The Sun’ all the way up to a 14% ABV American Strong Ale brewed with To Øl called ‘Walk On Water’.  Like any new product or service anywhere, these types of things can take some getting used to, especially when the country you’ve landed in normally serves beer at a flat 4-5% ABV.

That evening I chose carefully (as always) and ordered a 12% Imperial Stout named ‘George!’, a juniper berry infused IPA named ‘Baltic Frontier’, a brilliant sour from Mikkel in the ‘Spontaneous Series’ titled ’Spontandoubleblueberry’ (which ended up being one of the best beers I’ve had in almost a year), and a really well done DIPA (Double-IPA for those not in the know) called ‘Dangerously Close To Stupid’.  All were fantastic, with the blueberry sour being one of those brews that your intense beer hunter/geek/snob yearns for in his or her global search for the best brews on the planet.

Though I haven’t actually been to Mikkel’s other two bars in Copenhagen and San Francisco, I hear that the esthetics of the bar are fairly similar as far as paint job, colors, weird little figures on the wall, and such.  Though I was too busy drinking as many danky brews as possible, I snagged one photo out of the few times I’ve been there – it’s not great, but pictured above.  The establishment boasts 30 taps (and around 40 bottles) of all sorts of rare beers – and that’s not just rare for Asia, rare for the world.  Two of the taps are house beers, the Sukhimvit Pilsner and Sukhimvit Brown, both made for Mikkel at De Proef in Belgium according to Mike (one of the three gents).  I sampled them both, here’s what I had to say about them on

Mikkeller Sukhimvit Pils | 3.9/5
On tap at Mikkeller Bangkok. This was an absolute delight! Pale yellow pour, medium white head. Notes of grassy fields and a light spice hop. Flavor is light but full of grass, spice hop, and a beautiful bitter finish. Wish I could get 6er’s of this in the States! A must try if you hit the BKK location.

Mikkeller Sukhimvit Brown | 3.4/5
Tap at Mikkeller BKK in January. Sampled a few that night, but went for the two house brews first. The Pilsner being rather outstanding, and the Brown not really adding up so well beside it. Earthy flavors amongst a touch of sweet coffee malt, and a minor roast end. Thin body. Decent, but not great.

At the end of the 2014 excursion through Cambodia, Myanmar, and Thailand Jess and I had been through Bangkok five to six times in three and a half months.  Each time we stopped through the Big Mango we would stop at Mikkeller if we had the time between flights and attempting to catch up on some sleep.  We sampled around 18-20 different brews in our stop ins, and by far our favorites were the recurring Spontaneous series we kept seeing on the menu.  The Spontaneous brews are a series of sour bretted (Brettanomyces, a non-spore forming wild yeast strain used in souring beers) beers with different fruits infused – the Doubleblueberry and Gooseberry were the top contenders by far.  Here’s what I had to say about those on

Mikkeller Spontandoubleblueberry | 4.5/5
Tap at Mikkeller BKK…sometime beginning of February. FULL ON. If you can find this one, get it. I don’t know how often I rate Appearance as a 5, but this beer is blue. Full on brett blueberry funk on the nose. Blends somehow brilliantly and perfectly. You know it’s gonna be a puckerfest. A touch of sweet fruity malt up front before a blast of wood, barnyard, and in comes the blueberries – abound! All over. But sour blueberries, just heaven. Brett and wood in the finish, everything lingering forever – this is one tasty beverage!

Mikkeller Spontangooseberry | 4/5
Tap at Mikkeller BKK beginning of February. This was another one of my favorites in the series Spontan. Whatever it was in the gooseberry it really kick in well with the brett and funky barnyard flavors for a beautiful sour elixir I wanted to drink forever. Dank!

Basically what I am trying to say here is this:
Even if you have only a day or two in Bangkok, if you’re a beer geek whatsoever – stop through Mikkeller BKK.  You won’t regret going on a bit of a Goose chase!


The Catch-22 of Traveling…


(Click for an enlarged view.)

It’s days like today that really remind me of the whole Catch-22 of traveling.

Will start with the weird.  Riding through the spectacular hills around the Solan and Shimla area in Northwestern India today on my way to Mandi, the Endfield Thunderbird 350cc started acting up again, as it had the previous night.  When throttled to a certain point the bike starts spurtering.  Knowing a bit about bikes I had an idea what was wrong, but wasn’t sure.  Thankfully, I made it safe to Solan last night, and hadn’t broken down in the middle of no where.

Today after making it through the crowded Highway 88 through Shimla, the bike started to spurted again while driving.  At this point I was a good 30ish clicks outside of  Shimla, and there was not much around in sight except the grey-purple-bluish hills and greenery everywhere.  Then, Narita (she, the bike gave herself a name yesterday) just decides to putter a few spastic times while slowing down in 3rd, and comes to a halt, and shuts off. Ahem.

(Quick insertation to note that about twenty minutes before this I had just pulled over for almost an hour to fix it a first time, replacing the spark plug, fuel line to the carburetor, and cleaning the carburetor itself for 100 rps,  I tipped the man, who really knew his stuff 40 rps.  Narita seemed like she was fixed…)

I’ve had plenty of issues with bikes traveling in the past years from the obvious flat tubes in the tires to bald tires to crashes to beyond crashes to fuel lines bursting to driving into a restricted area and spending the night at military barracks to…having your bike decide to completely quit on you no where near a shop, and especially an Enfield shop (which are politely enough placed around India, but mostly in larger towns/cities).  Trying a few quick fixes put me no where.   Next step: find someone and see if they know anything about bikes.

There just happened to be this odd, decently sized building about a fourth of a click back.  I walked over to find a few security guards hovering around, one of which spoke decent enough English to have a conversation about what was going on.  He tells me to roll the bike over to attempt to get it going near the shop and off the road.  After pushing it over, a few tries of the same sort were gone over, and the fuel was checked, as for some odd reason, they were convinced I’d been given kerosene even though I’d told them I’d gotten petrol at a real station.  Strange.  Through this process, I noticed smoke coming from the carburetor, obviously not a good sign.

Narita would not start whatsoever, she’d give a few turns of the engine and that was it.  Next step: see if they know anyone they can call for me to pick-up truck the bike back to the Enfield shop I’d seen in Chakkar, right before Shimla, for a fee.  A little chat between the guards, and they decide on a number, give it a call, and the guy agrees to come out and take me where I need to go.

By this time, the usual crowd of watchers and/or participators has happened.  This is a phenomenon here in India that can happen anywhere at anytime as a traveler.  You can be going about your merry business of whatever, and this action easily could turn into something that will have a few to a load of spectators just staring you down silently, or asking you in broken English where you are from and what is going on.  If something is wrong, a few of these people may help you out in some way.  The case today was that the 6 or so men that happened to come out and check out the issue all helped out, which was great, as it required all of us to lift the bike into the back of the truck.

Loaded and strapped, Narita sat in the back and I gave many handshakes and said many thank you’s to them all, then took off for the Enfield shop.  The driver spoke no English, so the ride was mostly silent except for a random call from a friend traveling through Thailand, which ended up being a perfect little dip out of what was going on to chill out for a moment while driving through the hills.  Being around half past six or so, you never know if whatever destination you’re going to will be open unless it’s a hotel or a restaurant – and even then…places just close whenever they want out here.

Pulling up to the Royal Enfield shop, we can already tell they’re packing up for the night and shutting down.  The driver explains in Hindi what’s up from what he knows, and I give my version in English.  Turns out one of the mechanics speaks the language rather well.  He takes off his gloves and and sets down his backpack and we grab the bike out of the truck and double wheel it upright inside the garage.  Two gents quickly get to work on taking apart the carburetor and fuel filter assembly.  The fuel filter is basically black, and the carburetor is cleaned, and the bike reassembled.  The main guy (can’t remember his name) takes it for a spin, comes back, and isn’t satisfied it’s working.  At this point it’s either the carburetor, or they’re not sure.  A second-hand carburetor for a Thunderbird is found, implemented and she’s driven for another test.


This is great news, even though at this point the day is basically a wash.  You never know if the shop will have the part, how expensive it will be, or a multitude of factors, though you can pick up how much some items are after a while of buying them over and over.

The whole process ended up taking about five plus hours and costing somewhere in the 3000 rps range (the shop also did not charge me labor fees, while the two gentleman and lady were working after hours), which in reality is only around $55, though in travel talk that is a day’s worth spending, or when speaking to the right person, four or five days worth of budget.  At this specific moment in time I’m a bit tight, so I wasn’t too excited about all this.

Begin the Catch-22 of traveling.  I’m traveling around a foreign country, literally half way across the world, riding a gorgeous motorcycle that most Indians would dream of owning once in their life time, eating wherever I want, doing whatever I want, and living it up the fullest.  Those around me, besides the occasional other backpacker, are mostly earning anywhere from 100-400 rps a day, with your exception every so often depending on their line of work.  Today I spend a month or more‘s worth of someone’s income just to deal with fixing my motorcycle so that I could continue on to meet some travelers from Isreal and the UK that I clicked with well in Rishikesh days prior.

Right.  Perspective.

I notice while traveling in developing countries this notion of a Catch-22…the in-between point of being so overwhelmed with emotions of the positive nature, while plowing through neighborhoods of very poor human beings, who only many times, have this idea in their head that coming to wherever it is that you come from is a much better place than where they reside.  In some cases, this is absolutely true.  I’ve seen slums so humbling out here in India and other countries in Southeast Asia, that I was silent for hours.  Coming from white, middle-class America in Edmonds, WA, places of this nature were as unknown as walking on the Moon until I saw them, breathed the air, and felt the energy of their people.

This notions will always remind that while my country, the United States of America, is not perfect by any means (mostly due to the government and the people paying the government), it is a country where you more than likely are driving a car, saying whatever you want, own a laptop and an iPod, go through smartphones all the time, and hey, you even have a shower head and a toilet to sit on!  So many in Westernized countries forget that most of the world does not have these leisures that many would freak out if they did not have.

I am extremely fortunate for what I have been able to see and witness in countries far away from where I am from, and usually reside in.  Tell the larger percentage of Indians or Southeast Asians how much a plane ticket costs to the States, and you just get a smile and laugh, with the vibe that they know they’ll never be able to afford it, or afford the trip with enough space to be able to take a ‘holiday’ or even better, live and work in instead.  I am humbled a thousand fold by this, and when the travels get tough for whatever reason, need to remind myself exactly what it is that I am able to do because I was born in the United States to a loving family with a solid income (thanks Mom and Pop for everything!).

Tomorrow I will ride on towards the Dharamsala area and continue to smile heavily towards every single sentient being wherever it is I decide to stop or stay.  There is reportedly 7.1 BILLION humans on Earth, and we are all special in our own way.  The views and the beaches and the motorcycles and the food (gulab jamun!!) and the ashrams and the temples and the backpackers and the lifestyle of traveling are exciting, stunning, and breathtaking – but being able to meet human beings that have a different set of beliefs and lifestyles through the planet – this is life changing, and I will forever take to heart how massively unique this our rock flying around the Sun truly is.  When we figure out how to unify as a planet, as a species, something magnificent will take place.  I have hope.