Friends and I used to play the evil twin game in which we would try to spot each others’ look-alikes. Inevitably someone would come running across the bar announcing that he had found my doppelganger. Because of the negative connotation the word doppelganger typically possesses, we would try to escape blame for being the evil one by placing that title on the stranger that resembled one of us, although those assignments are probably the opposite of the truth. I even internally debated the idea of “subbing out” a friend or two for the doppelganger stranger. But I digress. Unlike my friends and myself, the Bjergsø brothers already have the evil twin dilemma resolved.
Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, the mastermind behind the Danish brewery Mikkeller, is a former high school physics teacher who commenced his brewing opuses by experimenting with yeast, hops, and malt in his Copenhagen kitchen lab back in 2006. His (evil) twin brother, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, shortly followed suit with Evil Twin Brewing with the same “gypsy” or “phantom” model, meaning neither brewer brother owns equipment or facilities. The idea is that the gypsy brewer takes a one-off recipe and collaborates with another brewer in his facilities for a finite period of time. To be honest I think this business model is genius. There is minimal overhead, there are endless opportunities to be creative, and there is an intriguing mystique surrounding each brew as a result of its potentially brief existence.
To date Evil Twin has collaborated with ten brewers around the globe. One of the first in the U.S. was about a little over a year ago at Westbrook Brewing in Mount Pleasant, SC. This is consequential considering Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø’s world renown “rep-brew-tation” as owner of a beer store in Copenhagen that is ranked top five globally. At Westbrook, Evil Twin brewed Biscotti Break, an imperial porter brewed with espresso beans from Charleston Coffee Roasters as well as Freudian Slip, an American Barley Wine. Now they have created the Charleston version of their famous Hipster Ale. Evil Twin, whose aim is “to disturb, disorder and enlighten with unforgettable beers,” has created different versions of this beer around the world using the same malt, but different hops depending on the location. And I have to say I’m a fan of this particular version of their American Pale Ale.
Although the term Pale Ale has been exercised since about the 1700’s, American Pale Ales were first developed in the 1980s as an adaptation of the British version. APAs can sometimes blur the dividing line between IPAs and APAs, but generally American Pale Ales have an even balance of malt and hops and tend to lean on the cleaner, brighter side. In addition, APA’s tend to stick with American hops, like Cascade, and are typically around 5% ABV. Refreshing may the epitome of an APA which gives it the opportunity to pair nicely with a lot of different foods. Personally, I tend to like APA’s with an earthy cheese or even a spicy Mexican meal. Hipster Ale follows APA protocol fairly closely while still claiming its individuality. Much like a hipster I would say– able to be stereotyped, but still unique.
Hipster Ale actually comes in a can, which may deter a few older beer snobs; however, canned beers are becoming more and more commonly accepted in the craft world. (If you are curious as to why that is, you can learn more about it via the Brewers Association.) Medium bodied with a citrus hop aroma, Hipster Ale pours a golden amber with a cream head. With an almost perfect malt-hop ratio, this beer tends to weigh slightly on the hoppier side yet still remains at only 5.5% ABV. This beer packs a lot of flavor for the conservative ABV, but still remains light with the appropriate amount of carbonation, which is unique, ironic even. Maybe it is contrarily ironic like a hipster in skinny jeans, thick-rimmed glasses, old man sweater, and fixed gear road bike. Ironic or not, it’s delicious. Be your own hipster doppelganger and try Evil Twin’s collaboration with Westbrook. Want to go all out and look the part? Here’s a step by step guide of how to be a hipster. Unfortunately, they left out the part about drinking Evil Twin’s Hipster Ale. I would never judge you if you felt the need to explore your hipster alter ego, though I think Hipster Ale will be just as good in your suit after work. It just may be even tastier that way.