Side Eyes is a pale ale from Danish brewery Mikkeller. It layers grain malt and juicy, tangerine sweetness with just enough bitterness over the top to keep things interesting. There’s been no decline in quality since this beer’s appearance on supermarket shelves nationwide – it’s still the same, delicious pale ale as before. Side Eyes is vegan-friendly and contains gluten.
The end is nigh! It’s not long now until lockdown is over and we’re allowed back to the pub to cough all over each other with reckless abandon.
In the interim, we face the possibility of outdoor meetings with friends we’ve not seen in person for many months. With a couple of weeks between those first, tier-ful reunions and pub gardens reopening, it’ll be up to each of us to provide the refreshments. That’s why I’ve scoured the shelves at my local supermarkets to bring you what is, in my honest opinion, one of the best value craft beers available. It is, of course, Side Eyes by Mikkeller.
Die hard Brew Report fans will recall I’ve reviewed Side Eyes before. Between lockdowns last year I paid a visit to Mikkeller’s brewpub in Shoreditch (the one co-owned by the one and only Rick Astley), where I picked up a selection of beers. Since then this beer has become widely available on the shelves at Sainsbury’s up and down the country. With this follow up I hope to confirm there’s been no decrease in quality as this beer’s scale and reach has grown.
The can is the same as ever: it’s colourful, it’s fun, it’s inviting. It’s still a pain in the backside to photograph, with the art and lettering stretching around the can in a way that only Escher could capture in a single frame. Still, unless you’re trying to snap a pic of this beer for Instagram, that’s no bad thing.
Cracking open the can reveals a pale copper beer, slightly cloudy, with a thick and craggly, white head. Immediately, the aromas of grain malt and sweet tangerine waft up. It’s not terribly complex on the nose, but it’s certainly inviting.
On the palate Side Eyes is sweet, both from the grainy, biscuity malt and the fruity tangerine notes. Riding above the top of that there’s an edge of bitterness, enough to cut through the sweetness of the beer and any smokey, rich foods you might be eating with it. As I noted before: this beer would be perfect alongside a barbecue. There’s a hint of sherbet in there too: essence of Dib Dabs, if you will.
Side Eyes is not a terribly complex beer. What we have instead is a lot of simple elements pulled together very skillfully: the grain malt base supporting the orangey, tangerine sweetness, and just enough bitterness to keep things interesting. It’s why I’d happily recommend this beer to just about everyone: it’s accessible enough for those new to craft beer to enjoy, while there’s just about enough bitterness in the mix to keep the IBU-obsessed beer nerds satisfied too. And at less than £3 a can from Sainsbury’s, it’s widely available and pretty affordable too.