A case study with Mikkeller Brewing San Diego (Part 1)

Mikkeller Brewing gained international repute over the years for its variety, quality, and inventiveness. But in 2022 (1), the company revealed plans to return to contract brewing in the USA. While this is an arrangement Mikkeller has historically been quite adept at, it unfortunately meant that the San Diego brewery would sell off its assets and close its doors for good. Knowing that the entire company ceased operations in a year ago (April 2023) left us reminiscing over our journey with their brewing team. This seemed like a good time to tell their Brew Shield story, and last year we reached out to brewers Mickail Murawski and Amir Behdarvand (formerly of Mikkeller SD) to tell us all about it.

Merging the best craft beer traditions of Europe and Southern California, this brewery was geared to push the limits of the beer world! Across Mikkeller’s global brand, the San Diego brewery produced and distributed the most beer. Their wide distribution chain included shipping to most US states. In this article, former Production Manager Mickail Murawski walks us through his experience trialling Brew Shield at Mikkeller SD.

“The idea of being able to keep our product tasting closer to what it does when packaged when a customer may reach for one a month or two later really appealed to us since we have a wide distribution network.”

Mikkeller decided to run a full-scale experiment comparing Brew Shield-treated beers to untreated control beers. This would allow them to evaluate Brew Shield under realistic conditions. Mickail and his team brewed two identical batches of beer, but one batch was brewed with Brew Shield and the other without. Before packaging, both the trial and control beers exhibited their regular flavours and aromatics.

“Once packaged, we set aside multiple cases and held them in different environments.”

Harsh storage conditions are a known accelerant of beer degradation. Alongside the appropriate controls, this simple setup helps demonstrate a Brew Shield-treated beer’s increased resistance to oxidation and staling in a shorter timeframe.

For Mickail and the team, a warm spot in their warehouse was perfect. After three months at approximately 85 °F (29 °C), a tasting session revealed Brew Shield’s effect on taste- and aroma maintenance.

“The biggest surprise was the cases that we kept in the hottest part of our warehouse during the summer. After three months in above 85 °F (29 °C) temperatures, the batch with Brew Shield was still drinkable, and close enough to the original package taste, but the one without was very much a ‘don’t even finish your sip’ experience.”

A typical Brew Shield trial can be thought of as a four-phase procedure. From the pilot brews for 1) trial and 2) control samples through 3) forced ageing to 4) a tasting session, the process is simple and informative for breweries great and small.

The ease of use and storage of Brew Shield make it great on the process end, and the end results of keeping consumers happy when they purchase our products far and wide make this a great addition to any brew.

According to Amir Behdarvand, the trials truly paid off as the outcome was ‘quite impressive’. These days, Amir’s role at Mikkeller is that of Head Brewer at the War Pigs brewery in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he recently had one last chance to taste some Mikkeller SD beer with Brew Shield. We’ll discuss this and more in Part 2 of the current series.

To test Brew Shield in your own beer, reach us via the links on this website.

Acknowledgements

We extend great thanks to Mickail Murawski and Amir Behdarvand for graciously agreeing to discuss their Brew Shield trial experience with us and for letting us share their story with others.

References

  1. Mikkeller SD. [Online] 22 August 2022. [Cited: 18 April 2023.] https://www.mikkellersd.com/press-release-8-22-22.