Thursday, December 3, 2015

Mikkeller "Peace" - The story of how one of the worlds most famous craft brewers came to create a beer for Nebraska man, Pat Clinch

This story is told by Pat Clinch's life long friend, and owner of Good Life Provisions, Matt Dinges.  Peace was created by Mikkeller to be exclusively sold in Nebraska.  This is a beer that will be best enjoyed with true friends and loved ones.

Peace is what we need.

A lot of people around Lincoln knew, loved, and shared time with Pat Clinch. Pat was always a unique cat. He never strayed from that, even as he evolved from a crazy teenager who was fanatically into music & whatnot into a husband and father.

Pat was diagnosed with “full blown Pancreatic cancer” (his words to me) in January of 2015. Everybody rallied, doing whatever could be done to help. There were numerous benefits and tons of amazing support.

I mentioned what was going on with Pat to another friend of mine, Mikkel. Mikkel is the owner and founder of the Copenhagen-based “gypsy” brewery Mikkeller (the third best brewer in the world, according to the 2014 Best awards), and owner of numerous bar and restaurants around the globe. He said if there anything he could do to help, I should let him know. At the time, I took it simply as a nicety, and said thanks. As a few weeks went by, it started to look like there could be a lot of expenses building up during Pat’s treatment, even with the huge outpouring of support we saw from the community. So, I asked Mikkel if he would make a beer for Pat.

Mikkel immediately agreed to do it and forgo profit on the project. This would allow me to sell it via my future distribution company and put in money to help cover Pat’s treatment costs. When I told Pat about it, he couldn’t believe it. He was stoked! We discussed the style and characteristics of the beer. We decided that we wanted it to be strong and in a style that ought to hold up to some aging in the bottle. I did some tastings and finalized the brew with Mikkel, which was brewed at De Proefbrouwerij in Lochristi, Belgium.

Pat and Mikkel did not know each other personally. Pat and I did share Mikkeller beers together numerous times over the years. Pat also knew I held Mikkel in high regard as a person, friend and beer maker, and that made Pat even more enthusiastic about Mikkeller beers.

Mikkeller is probably most famous for making coffee beers (Beer Geek Breakfast, Beer Geek Brunch, Koppi IPA and others). Coincidentally, Pat spent years working at a Lincoln coffee roaster, The Mill. It made perfect sense to have coffee be an element in the beer, but this is not a “coffee beer”. Instead, the coffee adds a subtle nuance. The beer concept starts with something resembling a Trappist beer or Belgian Abbey Ale but

with a good dose of oats (both malted and unmalted) and then that small amount of coffee added just before bottling.

Pat’s initials are PC and that became a nickname for him in high school: PC or Peace. Pat and I discussed the name for the beer, which was originally Big Love Willie. Pat told me he had named his cancer Willie. I liked that, but upon reflection asked if Peace wouldn’t be better and we decided it was. So Peace it was. The label template is old school Mikkeller. One of Pat’s family friends, Sheyenne Rivers, designed an icon of Pat that was being used for benefit posters and t-shirts around Lincoln. That icon sits on the right side, opposite the profile image of Mikkel.

Pat was honored and excited about this project, but now I get to the part where I have to say he never got to taste the beer. Time wasn’t on our side, and Pat passed away on May 25, 2015…just a couple weeks before the beer was bottled in Belgium.

It took a little while to get the distribution company set up in Nebraska, but the importer (Shelton Brothers) was kind enough to hold the beer for me. Now, the beer is here and Pat is not. And here we are at this traditional time of the year when everybody goes around wishing for Peace and what not, which I find it bitterly ironic. There is an exclusive, unique, world-class beer with Pat’s image and name on it. We can drink to that. I still plan to get as much money as possible to Pat's family or to a charity of their choice.

The beer is bottled in a 750ml bottle, a traditional format for a Belgian Abbey Ale. There were 1662 bottles produced. 6 of them went to Mikkeller headquarters in Copenhagen. 96 of them got sent to California, kind of by happy accident since one of Pat’s brothers lives there. The rest of those bottles are only here in Nebraska.

The taste resembles that of a dark Belgian Trappist beer. The yeast used is derived from one of the classic Trappist breweries. Typical tasting notes would include plum and fig. Maybe some hint of caramel and a subtle bit of roast and fruitiness from the coffee. The beer is well balanced between sweet and dry…not too much either way. It is every bit of 10% ABV, so please keep that in mind as you consume.

That’s the story of the beer. If you knew Pat, you should drink one and remember him. If you didn’t, you should drink his great beer with one of your dear friends. And give them a hug too.



hook said...

Interesting read. Where can we get a bottle?

Jason Mc said...

There is an updated list on the Good Life Provisions website.

Anonymous said...

Had a sample at the Holiday Festival Dec was way different, mysterious, and intriguing; I could not immediately identify the components, and I could not fight my way into the corner to examine the bottle. I'll definitely try to find and purchase a few. -- Dave K --

Nick S. said...

Thanks for the feedback, Dave.

Gerry B said...

I found a bottle at N St Liquor in Lincoln. Haven't sampled yet, looking forward to it though.