In the preface of our preview for Joshua M. Bernstein’s “Meat Your Match,” which will pair home-cooked Malaysian grub with IPAs from Finback and meads from Mary Izett, we lamented about a common beer-dinner complication: the dinner component often pales in comparison to the pale ales coupled with it. (Whyyyyyyyyy, though?) While not entirely correlated, this issue of lopsidedness does serve as a perfect transition to discuss a dope two-part project we’re excited to experience that will not only present food and beer as equals, but also fuse them to create something new—a new brew, specifically.
The first part is tomorrow’s event at Threes Brewing featuring oysters from Long Island’s Harvest Moon Shellfish and six beers by Mikkeller, the creative, collaboration-crazed, Copenhagen, Denmark-based gypsy brewery helmed by Mikkel Borg Bjergsø. The second part occurs less than 24 hours later on Wednesday, when Threes and Bjergsø will reconvene at the former’s brewquarters in Gowanus and use the leftover oyster shells to make a black saison together.
We spoke to Greg Doroski, Threes’ head brewer, about tomorrow’s shuckfest and the following day’s collaboysteration.
Niko Krommydas: How’d the idea to collaborate with Mikkeller come about?
Greg Doroski: We’ve known the Mikkeller dudes for a while now. Mikkel and Jacob [Gram Alsing, Mikkeller’s operations manager] gave us some great feedback while we were working on getting Threes opened. We sent them some growlers after we did too, so the friendship and mutual respect have been there for some time. But specifically it was on our last visit to Copenhagen where we celebrated the opening of their brewpub Warpigs that the idea to make a beer together took off. Then it was just a matter of coordinating schedules.
NK: Were you already planning the event with Harvest Moon?
GD: The idea for a collaboration came first. But after we decided to do an oyster event with our friend Josh [Clauss, Harvest Moon’s owner], it seemed natural to incorporate them in the brew.
NK: You’re making a black saison.
GD: Yeah. Mikkel and I had originally discussed brewing an oyster stout with the shells, but we’ve been playing around with the idea of doing a black saison at Threes so ultimately we thought it would be a good chance to fuse the two. Plus oyster stout is the first thing you think of when you hear a beer is made with oysters, so there was a definite desire on both sides to come up with something different.
NK: Have you ever brewed a black saison before?
GD: When I was with Greenport Harbor we made Canard Noir, which was basically their Black Duck Porter brewed with French saison yeast. We’re taking a totally different approach on this one though. We want little if any roast or chocolate in this beer; too much of either would seem out of place. The oyster shells and a small addition of sea salt should add a mild minerality to the characteristics derived from our house saison culture, which is a blend of saison and Brettanomyces yeasts—fruity with mild funk, both dry and soft. I’m really looking forward to it.
NK: How are you going to incorporate the oyster shells?
GD: We’ll add both the shells and sea salt near the end of the boil. There isn’t an exact time to add it, so Mikkel and I, we’ll taste the wort at a few points and pick the best one.
NK: Do you remember the first time you had a beer of Mikkeller’s?
GD: I do. There is one Mikkeller beer, or really series of beers, that still sticks with me: the Single Hop Series. It’s an awesome concept to make beers with just one hop variety. Part of brewing and selling beer is education, and these help showcase the particular identity of each hop.
NK: What do you think of Mikkel as a brewer?
GD: He was one of the original dudes to push the limits on beer styles and brewing ingredients. I think his position as a gypsy brewer continues to provide him some great creative freedom to push boundaries. Mikkeller is also kick-ass at marketing, and I love that. Good beer only gets you so far; you gotta figure out how to sell it, too.
Threes Cheers for Collaborations Part II, coming soon …
The Beer & Oyster Collaboration Party will be held at Threes Brewing, September 1, from 7 to 10 p.m. No cover charge, oysters and Mikkeller beers will be sold separately.