FOCUS ON DECEMBER 2015

Upstairs

reviewed by : Michael Moore

06 November 2015

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summary : Craft beers from a gypsy producer of extraordinarily quality, matched with a variety of different dishes.

Mikkeller is complicated. The company does not have its own brewery; instead it is a 'gypsy' that uses the equipment of existing breweries to create its own unique 'one off' brews. The company was founded in 2006 by a couple of Danes, Mikkel Borg Bjergso, a high school teacher, and Kristian Klarup Keller, a journalist, who left the company in 2007. 



Unlike major breweries that must create a consistent product that is always the same, the appeal of gypsy breweries is that` they are free to create unique quaffs that use a host of ingredients and different methods of production. The beers created by Mikkeller have been widely acclaimed and have received several awards, including the 'Danish Brewery of the Year' award in 2006 and 2008. 



Mikkeller Bangkok is a partnership between Mikkeller and a Thai-based beer distribution company. Its main outlet is a bright and airy beer drinking venue near Soi Ekkamai that serves Mikkeller creations and a variety of snacks. The setting is extremely pleasant with a vaguely Scandinavian feel and lots of happy beer aficionados. A few weeks back, it opened “Upstairs” on its second floor, a place with a more elaborate menu than the snack style items found downstairs. The menu has been created by Chef Dan Bark and he matches his creations with Mikkeller brews.



Our adventure at Upstairs began with the highlight of the evening, a bottle of Mikkeller lager, a hoppy brew with a sprightly flavor that puts Heineken and its ilk to shame. The food is served as part of a set menu that includes matching beer. Patrons are encouraged to “mix the items” in each dish served in order to “blend the flavors”. Our favorite dish by far was the Wagyu Beef, served with broccoli, sesame and lime. The beef, which is reportedly fed olives, was extremely tasty. It was matched with a Mikkeller: Orange Yuzu Glad I Said Porter, a dark brew with chocolate and coffee overtones. We also enjoyed the Potato Leek, served with bacon, Manchego and brioche. It was, unfortunately, matched with a Mikkeller: 19 IPA, a hoppy brew that absolutely overpowered the dish.



Upstairs feels (and is) like a work in progress. Although we enjoyed the beers, we felt the food had a repetitious feel about it, caused, we suspect, by the lack of a full-sized kitchen. It also carries a hefty B4,900 net price tag for the set menu of nine tiny food items and six beers that we felt wasn't justified by the quantity or quality of the food served.



To find Upstairs at Mikkeller Bangkok, do yourself a favor and download a map from their website. It is located in a residential section of Ekkamai and can be devilishly difficult to find without a map. It is walkable from the Ekkamai BTS station, but most people would probably prefer a taxi.



Although we weren't that enamored with the food at Upstairs, we suspect things will improve as they settle in. And food aside, the beer at Mikkeller Bangkok makes a visit more than worthwhile.