Milk Stout With Chocolate and Peppermint – American: Twisted Manzanita Enlightenmint

This weeks beer is something I enjoyed thoroughly in San Diego, and was one of the highlights of the trip. Twisted Manzanita Enlightenmint – A Milk Stout with Chocolate and Peppermint. I enjoyed this beer in their Pacific Beach Taproom, a must visit and something I included in my post earlier in the week.

Let’s start with Twisted Manzanita‘s description of the beer:

– Memorable like your favorite holiday treats; Big chocolate with a peppermint burst.
– Flaked barley gives it a creamy, robust body that supports the delicate flavors to the finish.
– Full-bodied and dark as night for maximum enjoyment on a winter evening.

Short but sweet description, which I’m always a big fan of. There’s hints at the flavour, and even the recipe which is always good, but then the real tasting notes are left up to the drinker – which I always find enables you to enjoy the beer more. Although it’s suggested that it’s enjoyed in winter, I had this beer on a warm evening in San Diego and have no regrets!

As for the recipe, let’s start with the malts and fermantables. 2-Row, Crystal 60, Special B and Chocolate Malts are used, with Flaked Barley as a fermentable to add a little body and make it a bit creamier. The hops are Kent Goldings or Mt Hood, as they don’t take a front seat in the brew. Cocoa and Peppermint are added during the boil and Peppermint and Lactose (Milk Sugar) are added during Primary Fermentation. Essentially, this beer is Dry-Minted!

This beer pours Pitch Black with a good sized Tan Head that retains well, leaving a little bit of spotty lacing. On the nose there’s a huge hit of what I can describe as Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate notes, even more Peppermint, Caramel and Cocoa Powder. When you taste this beer, it’s incredible how much the Mint has worked it’s way into the flavour, lots of Peppermint, Cocoa Powder, Chocolate Ice Cream, a little bit of Nut and finishes with some more Sweet Peppermint. This beer grows on you even more as you drink, you can’t tell it’s 8% at all. This beer has a good, creamy sticky body and finishes medium with a touch of bitterness. I’m definitely going to be bringing back more than one bottle of this next time I visit!

Currently, the best way to get this beer is by stocking up on a visit or if you have friends in California, ask them to send you some of this lovely stuff! I’ll definitely be trying to get my fair share!

EST. CALORIES: 240   ABV: 8%

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Smoked Beer – Danish/American: Evil Twin Ashtray Heart

Evil Twin Ashtray Heart

This Friday’s beer is a Smoked Stout by Evil Twin, called Ashtray Heart. We’ve had a Smoked Porter before, and this one is confused. On the front it states Smoked Porter, further on the back it says Smoked Stout. Who knows? All I know is Evil Twin make some great beers.

Evil Twin is run by the famous Mikkeller’s brother Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø from New York. I still feel as though he tries to keep his Danish identity, which is why I’ve declared this as a Danish beer!

Let’s start with Evil Twin‘s Description of the brew:

Amazingly rich, seductively dark and smoking good. Yes a real heartbreaker. We recommend only the truly skillful, heavyweight beer champions to battle this awfully irresistible and potent smoked Stout. Careful this satisfactory product might give you a Placebo effect.

I enjoyed this description, it’s true. It is Seductively Dark… but more on that later! Bit sensationalist in the second section, but I suppose this isn’t a great introductory beer so it makes sense! I love the reference to the Placebo song, and that’s the first thing I thought of when this beer arrived.

It was really hard to find any hints at the recipe with this one, so I had to do a lot of tasting and research. Here’s what I think is used in the beer. As this is a Porter, Stout… lets say Dark beer we’ll start with the all important Malts. Peat Smoked, Black Malt, Pale Malt, Malted Wheat, Rye Malt, Roasted Barley and Carafa Type 2. As far as Hops go, I think Mt. Hood and Centennial have been used. As you can see, a lot of Malt goes into this one, and I think that’s why it leans toward the Stout side of things!

When you pour this beer, it’s very Dark and Black with an impressive Off White head which seems to carry on forever! In fact, pouring this one normally I couldn’t fit it in my Duvel Tulip. It dissipates slowly leaving a little bit of lacing which eventually disappears completely. It’s got great retention and eventually fades to a ring around the glass whilst you’re enjoying this. On the nose, tonnes of peat smoke aromas, a little bit of Rye, Chocolate, Caramel and Toffee with a touch of Alcohol. I love Smoked Beers, so this made we want to put it straight down the hatch! On the palate, lots of Smoke to begin with, Rich Dark Chocolate, Toffee, Burnt Sugar and a little bit of a Citrusy finish. What an amazing, complex flavour. The Carbonation is pretty high for the style, but it was to be expected with this style and actually brings out the complexity in this brew. It’s smooth and finishes Medium Dry. What a beer for Spring weather, although it’s seriously smokey the other flavours in there are ridiculously balanced.

You can buy Ashtray Heart in the UK at:

Beers of Europe

Out of stock currently, but this one is worth trying so keep checking!

EST. CALORIES: 267   ABV: 8.9%

Stout – English/American: Buxton/Arizona Wilderness Brewing Dragon Tips

This slightly late Mid-Week beer is a collaboration of one of my favorite breweries, Buxton Brewery and one of the best New Breweries – Arizona Wilderness Brewing. A Stout brewed with Maple, Bacon and Chipotle Chilli Peppers. What a mix! When I visited Buxton last year, I knew I had to get a couple of bottles.

Let’s start with the description of the beer:

A stout brewed with maple syrup and chipotle. Dry-baconed during fermentation with actual bacon.

Collaboration between Buxton Brewery and Arizona Wilderness.

Such a no nonsense description – and not much to say about it! I really love the phrase “dry-baconed” (as opposed to Dry-Hopping) and I wish it was something I could use in regular conversation, but it wouldn’t make any sense. I like how Buxton‘s descriptions never go on and let the drinker decide how the beer tastes. Always a plus in my book!

I did a bit of research into this one, as Buxton‘s Recipes for their special releases are always difficult to find. The malts in this brew are Crisp Maris Otter, 2-Row, Chocolate, Malted Wheat, Aromatic Barley Malt, Black Barley. Maple Syrup is also then added as a fermentable during the mashing process. After this, the Hops are added: Willamette, Fuggles, Millennium and Hersbrucker. After this, the Chipotle Peppers and Bacon are added during fermantation and before bottling, a little maple syrup is added to the bottle for good measure.

When you pour this beer it pours black, almost like a Porter with a very large Tan Coloured head (my thinking for the Wheat in the beer!) The head sticks around for a long while after finally dissipating, leaving a thin head and some lacing rings on the sides of the glass. On the Aroma, there’s some Roasty notes to begin with followed by a touch of Coffee, rapidly moving on to Earthy notes from the Hops used and the Chilli Peppers. There’s a little bit of Bacon smoke in the background too, just to let you know it’s there! When you taste this beer, it starts like the aroma with a kick of Roasty Notes on the palate, quickly followed by toffee and a little bit of chocolate. After this, there’s some sharp flavour from the Chilli peppers with a little bit of heat that carries through the rest of the flavour, which finishes with smoke from the Bacon and Maple Syrup. The beer is unusually thin for a Stout, but it more than makes up for it being so easy to drink and smooth. Medium Carbonation. All in all an interesting idea and a great brew.

You can buy Buxton / Arizona Wilderness Dragon Tips in the UK at:

Bottle Bank

Eebria

Both places are in stock at the time of writing.

EST. CALORIES: 249   ABV: 8.3%

Nitro Stout – American: Left Hand Brewing Milk Stout Nitro

Left Hand Brewing Milk Stout Nitro

This week’s Wednesday post is a little later than usual, but in no way is it because this beer is sub-par. Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro is one of the most critically acclaimed brews out there. Brewed in Colorado by Left Hand Brewing, it really is a beer to be reckoned with and there’s not a lot of other beers in the style that come close!

Let’s Start with Left Hand Brewing‘s Description of the brew:

Taking America Back. Dark & delicious, America’s great milk stout will change your perception about what a stout can be. Pouring hard out of the bottle, Milk Stout Nitro cascades beautifully, building a tight, thick head like hard whipped cream. The aroma is of brown sugar and vanilla cream, with hints of roasted coffee. The pillowy head coats your upper lip and its creaminess entices your palate. Initial roasty, mocha flavors rise up, with slight hop & roast bitterness in the finish. The rest is pure bliss of milk chocolate fullness.

I love the description in this one, the passion really comes through in this! They make it sound like a mash up between a Milkshake, a Coffee and a beer. A really great description, if only I had whoever wrote it to help write this blog!

Let’s start with the recipe, seeing as it’s a Stout, the Malts are the most important. The malts in this beer are Pale 2-row, Crystal, Munich, Roasted Barley and Chocolate with some added fermentation – Flaked Oats and Flaked Barley. For the hops, we’ve got a generous amount of Magnum and US Goldings. After this Lactose Sugar is added during fermentation to sweeten up this stout and help with the creamy flavour. After this, Nitrogen is added to really bring up that creamy mouth feel.

When you pour this beer rapidly into the glass (literally tipping it upside down, as recommended) the first thing you notice is the creamy Nitro working it’s magic in the glass and a thick head forming. Once the Nitro finishes rolling it’s way up the glass, forming a thick, tan coloured head the liquid below is Black and even looks thick in the glass. The head remains for the entire time you are drinking the beer leaving some sticky lacing. On the nose, lots of Roasted Malts, Coffee and a moreish Lactose Sweetness on the tail end. When you taste this beer, the first thing you notice is the Roasted Malts, Coffee, the sweetness from the Lactose and a little bit of earthy hop. The flavour is comparable to a Mocha Flavoured Milkshake and the Mouthfeel is very similar. It finishes sweet. What a beer to cheer you up in the Snowy weather we’ve been having! This is one you really need to get your hands on.

You can buy Milk Stout Nitro in the UK at:

Beautiful Beers (IN STOCK at time of writing)

There’s other places to buy this beer online, but at the moment this is the only retailer that has it in stock.

EST. CALORIES: 180   ABV: 6%

Aged Stout – Danish/American: Evil Twin/Prairie Fine Ales Bible Belt

Bible Belt - Evil Twin

This week’s beer is an excellent collaboration Imperial Stout from Evil Twin and Prairie Fine Ales called Bible Belt. This one is definitely a beer that will warm you up in this snow, 13% and aged on Imperial Stout aged on Coffee, Cacao Nibs, Vanilla Beans and Chili Peppers. The picture above is from the first time I had it, at Brewdog’s Shoreditch bar. I loved it so much that I now have a collection of them in my cellar!

Let’s start with Evil Twin and Prairie’s Description of the Beer:

Let’s face it – we love big, flavorful stouts. As luck would have it, our friend Jeppe at Evil Twin Brewing feels the same way. We decided to brew a beer together that took elements from our favorite stouts we each produce to come together as one beer. Bible Belt takes elements we love from Prairie Bomb! and combines them with Evil Twin Brewing’s world famous stout, Even More Jesus. The end result is a smoky, spicy stout that is sure to please the pallet.

Personally, I think this is a good description of the brew. We’ve got the back story and how it tastes without a long page of blurb. Sometimes that can be a lot better than a story that is pages long – in this case it is. I like how this is a mash up of both of their Stouts, and it made it hard to figure out what the recipe could be! Speaking of recipe…

As this is an Imperial Stout, Malts are king! I think the Malts in this beer are 2-Row, Crystal 150, Chocolate Malt, Special Black Malt, Black Malt and Roasted Barley. After this I think there’s also some fermentables, Flaked Oats and some Brown Sugar. As for the hops, I think a generous amount of Magnum has been used. After this the beer is fermented, and during secondary fermentation the Coffee, Cacao Nibs, Vanilla Beans, and Chili Peppers are added and it is aged. I’m not sure how long the beer is aged for, but I think it’s most probably around 90 days.

This beer pours dark as tar with a large caramel coloured head that dissipates very quickly to no head leaving little dots of lacing on the sides of the glass. On the nose, the first thing you notice is a huge Chocolate and Coffee aroma, almost like a Mocha. Some Vanilla notes, Dark Roasty Malts and a little bit of an Earthy bouquet towards the tail end. This beer smells absolutely fantastic! When you taste it, the first thing you get is lots of Chocolate, Coffee and Dark Malts followed by earthy and spicy Chilli Pepper that does creep up on you a little but it’s not too high a heat to deal with. There’s hints of Vanilla, but unfortunately it’s merged with the Coffee at the start and the Chilli flavours dominate towards the end. Although there’s a little bit of Chilli heat in this beer, it’s actually really really smooth and finishes medium.

Unfortunately, Bible Belt is pretty tough to find online in the UK, but you can get it from the following places (if it’s not in stock, ask!)

Utobeer – London

Beer Moth – Manchester

Brewdog Shoreditch – London

Bottledog – London

DogTap – Ellon, Aberdeenshire

Hopefully we’ll see this beer better represented online soon!

EST. CALORIES: 390   ABV: 13%

Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout – English: Magic Rock Bourbon Barrel Bearded Lady 2014

This week, a beer that is unfortunately a little harder to get. Magic Rock‘s Bearded Lady aged in Bourbon Barrels for 180 Days. The particular one I’m reviewing is the 2014 release.

Let’s start with Magic Rock‘s description of the beer:

180 day aged Bourbon Barrel version of Bearded Lady Imperial Brown Stout…. Say hello to the Bearded Lady, our uncompromisingly big and beautiful Imperial Stout. Born from our Dark Arts recipe she uses masses of magical malts to deliver deep chocolate, rich coffee and vinous berry flavours all complemented by a balanced yet subtly spicy hop profile. Powerful, robust, intriguing; yet decadently smooth and sumptuous, the lady demands respect…

A great description of this beer, as I really do think it’s something special. A bold description from Magic Rock though, and you can tell it’s something they are very passionate and confident about. There’s also a lot to expect from this beer and you expect it to be extremely decadent and complex.

As I see this stout as a serious contender with Goose Island’s Bourbon County stout, I think the recipe is similar but with some extra specialty malts added in. Pale Malt, Munich Malt, Munton’s Dark LME, Caramalt, Chocolate Malt, Black Malt, Roasted Barley, Caramel Malt and finally some Crystal Malt. As for the hops, I think Kent Goldings and Cascade hops are used to keep it spicy but also a little fruity too. This is then placed in Oak Bourbon Barrels for 180 days (10 months) to mature during secondary fermentation.

When you pour this beer, it pours completely black and no light can pass through. It has a thin Tan/Beige Head which leaves a little bit of lacing sticking to the sides of the glass, after a while this disappears and does not return. The nose is one of the things that makes this beer absolutely incredible, loads of Dark Fruits, Chocolate and loads of Bourbon Notes. It makes you wanna get on and drink this beer, but believe me it’s a slow burner and something that you’ll appreciate so much more sipping. The taste of this beer is very complex, it starts with a flavour very similar to Belgian Chocolate Truffles, moving on to Dark Fruits, Hop Spicyness, Vanilla Pods from the Oak Aging moving on to bitter Dark Chocolate and finally Bourbon. It’s not very carbonated, but I feel it adds to the great feel of the beer. This really is a beer to keep you warm on the cold evenings when the temperatures reach around 0 and something I recommend highly!

Unfortunately, the Bourbon Barrel Bearded Lady for this year has sold out, but check Magic Rock’s Website around August next year for 2015’s release! If you can’t wait until then, The Liquor Shop has the non-Bourbon Barrel aged version in Stock at time of Writing!

EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%

Collaboration Stout – English: Squawk Brewing Co/Bean Brothers Coffee Co. – Espresso Stout

Today I’m writing about a very interesting collaboration between Bean Brothers, an Artisnal Coffee company and Squawk Brewing – a Craft Beer Brewery. The beer is called Espresso Stout. After Reading Claire from Dap n Drink’s article about Cup North I knew I had to try this beer. It’s really interesting for me, as a Brewery and a Coffee Company have collaborated together to make a Coffee Stout instead of the brewer sourcing their own from anywhere they want. The fact that a Blend created by Bean Brothers created the blend of Coffee in this Stout makes it a true collaboration. The fact I get the impression Bean Brothers instigated this collaboration is even more interesting! I contacted Jeremy from the Coffee Company and he was happy to send me a bottle. Thanks again!

Lets start with Bean Brothers and Squawk Brewing’s description of the beer:

We are delighted to offer our espresso stout. It is brewed by the magnificent Squawk brewery using their award winning stout recipe. We showcased this stout at CupNorth this year and it is fair to say that it was loved by all! A clean tasting stout with the espresso beautifully present and finishing with a sweet aftertaste. If there was a desert stout , this would be it. Excellent accompaniment to cheese and chocolate based desserts.
Magnificent!

I like the description for this beer, it lets you know about the beer but it also shows that all involved are passionate and confident about their product. I prefer descriptions like this to over complex descriptions, or ones that leave too much to the imagination. They could have easily just had “Stout brewed with our Coffee Blend.”

Onto the Brewing process, I’ve discussed this with Jeremy from Bean Brothers who has been very helpful. As this beer is very Coffee forward, let’s start with the Coffee in this brew. The stout is brewed with BB’s “Derek” which is a seasonal Espresso Blend. It’s a blend of 3 Coffees, Brazil Sul de Minas, a chocolaty and roasty Coffee, Ethiopian Sidamo which has a fruity Blueberry flavour and a less known Coffee from Timor that has a herby and sweet taste. Oliver at Squawk then uses a blend of six different malts involving Chocolate Malt. As I was told about the Chocolate Malt, I’m going to try and guess the others. I think the other Malts are Dark Chocolate Malt, Black Malt, Caramel Malt, Blackprinz Malt and Crystal 150 Malt. I could be wrong, as this beer is so Coffee forward! As for the hops, a small amount of Cascade is used. I also detect a little bit of Kent Goldings in there too. After this the Coffee is added and left to Ferment. The Fermantation is ended early to improve the Mouthfeel of the Brew and to keep some of the sweetness. I also detected some Lactose Sugar notes in this brew, but this could well be the sweetness of the Timor Coffee.

I was very interested behind the story behind this beer, so I asked Jeremy at Bean Brothers –

Relationship-wise, we have known each other for at least 12 years, I have a speciality coffee shop in the heart of Huddersfield called coffeevolution and Oliver used to be a barista there before starting his business Squawk Brewing Co. I suppose the fact that that he has a good knowledge of coffee has bolstered his understanding when embarking upon the Bean brothers Squawk brewing quest!

What an encouraging story! It’s obvious why Squawk were chosen – it’s always good when a Brewer knows their Coffee when trying to make a Coffee Stout!

When you pour this beer, it pours very dark with a light Copper coloured film on the top of the beer. This dissipates quickly and looks a lot like Espresso afterwards! On the nose there’s loads of Milk Chocolate, Roasty Coffee aromas, lots of dark Roasty Malts, Dark Fruits which eventually fades to some Herbal Tones. It smells very inviting indeed, and I couldn’t wait to try this Brew! The Stout starts with a Fruity, Acidic Coffee Kick with hints of Nuts which fades to Dark Roasty Coffee, Milk Chocolate Raisins with some Lactose Sweetness. Again, I’m not sure if there is Lactose Sugar in this, and it could well be the sweetness from the blend of Coffee used. The beer has a Coffee-Like mouthfeel, with light Carbonation. It finishes Sticky and Sweet.

This is definitely a beer I’d recommend for Coffee lovers.

You can Purchase Espresso Stout at the Bean Brother’s website here.

For any bars/shops that would like to stock Espresso Stout, I’d recommend contacting Bean Brothers and/or Squawk Brewing.

EST. CALORIES: 195   ABV: 6.5%

Stout – Danish: Mikkeller Beer Geek Vanilla Shake

 

This week, as the winter is taking it’s hold I will be writing about a Legendary Stout from Mikkeller – Beer Geek Vanilla Shake. A Stout brewed with French Press Coffee and Vanilla.

This beer really is one of those sought after brews, and as soon as I saw it I knew it had a place here for Winter. I’ve had it cellared away for a couple of months.

Let’s start with Mikkeller‘s description of the beer:

From the beer geek breakfast series – the beer that really put Mikkeller on the map – we decided to shake things up by adding a truck load of vanilla to the french press coffee trick, creating a whole new dimension to the beer that are loved by freaks and geeks worldwide.

I like Mikkeller’s descriptions – he always knows that the beer he has brewed is good and he taught some of the best brewers in the world. Tobias Emil Jensen and Tore Gynther, who went on to form To Øl for example. The French Coffee trick is impressive, and although I’m still not 100% sure of it I have the recipe for the base Stout and I will attempt to decipher what they do. There’s always a mystery to the descriptions, and I think that creates a good interest in the beer itself. As Mikkeller is a Gypsy Brewery, this one was brewed at the Lervig Brewery.

As with all Stouts, the all important Malt comes first. As Vanilla Shake is based on an Oatmeal Stout, there’s quite a lot of fermentables involved! Pilsner Malt, Flaked Oats, Cara Munich, Smoked Malt, Chocolate Malt and Roasted Barley are in this one. As for the hops, we’ve gone American as this is quite a sweet stout. Centennial and Cascade hops are used, aiding the sweeter and fruitier tones in the brew. The next part is where this brew comes into it’s own – Coarsely ground Coffee Beans and Vanilla Beans are brewed using the French Press Method. Scalding water is used (just before boiling point), a little salt is added. Whilst the water is reaching scalding point, the coarse ground Coffee and Vanilla is put into the French Press. The scalding water is added, the Coffee and Vanilla mix stirred and left for 4 – 5 minutes to steep. After this, the plunger is pressed down at a steady speed and the Vanilla Coffee is added to the Fermentation after cooling.

When you pour this beer, it pours a thick black. I know everyone describes Stouts as something light cannot penetrate but light really cannot penetrate this one! There’s a thin Cola foam coloured head which dissipates quickly, leaving a mocha coloured ring around the glass. The lacing is very sticky and leaves a small ring after drinking. Now on to the aroma, wow! As soon as you open the bottle you get a blast of Vanilla Beans, with big Roasty malt and Sun-dried Fruit with Rum notes in the background. Given the fact this beer is 13%, it’s expected that there will be some sort of boozy smell but the Vanilla and Chocolate malt have transformed this into a satisfying Vanilla Rum smell. The taste initially goes with the Aroma, lots of Sweet Vanilla to start with, making way to some huge Roasted Malt flavours and Espresso. There’s some Belgian Dark Chocolate finishing with some Rum-Rasin Ice Cream notes. The Beer is very thick in your mouth, a lot like a Vanilla Milkshake. Carbonation is low making way for a Creamy Mouthfeel. You’d expect this beer to finish bitter, but it finishes sweet with a final Vanilla note. This beer would be great with a Christmas Pudding (or even baked into one!) or after a Roast Dinner on a cold Winter’s evening and it’s something I’d definitely recommend to anyone.

You can Purchase Vanilla Shake online at the following places, unfortunately it is always in high demand and it’s a hard beer to get at times. I got mine from Bottledog in Kings Cross, London.

Mikkeller Website

The Beer Boutique

Bourbon Barrel Aged version can also be bought from Mikkeller’s Website here.

For any Bars/Shops wanting to stock this beer, Mikkeller beers aren’t imported in big numbers to the UK. The best people to speak to about getting some of their beers are Brewdog or Mikkeller themselves!

EST. CALORIES: 390   ABV: 13%

Stout – American: Founder’s Breakfast Stout

Now the weather is getting cold, I’m going to be posting about a few darker beers as well as others. Winter always seems to be the longest season in the UK. I decided to start this off with a Legendary Beer from Founders Brewing Co – Breakfast Stout. This is a big stout brewed with both bitter and sweet chocolate, Sumatra and Kona coffee and a tonne of specialty malt. It really is one of those legendary beers in my opinion.

Let’s start with Founders description of the beer:

The coffee lover’s consummate beer. Brewed with an abundance of flaked oats, bitter and imported chocolates, and Sumatra and Kona coffee, this stout has an intense fresh-roasted java nose topped with a frothy, cinnamon-colored head that goes forever.

A nice short but sweet, modest description of the beer from the brewers. Founders have never been known to be braggers. Even from the description though, you can almost imagine drinking this beer. Stouts are usually rich and some people even consider them a meal, but this particular stout takes it even further.

After doing quite a bit of research and drinking the beer myself, I believe Founders Breakfast Stout uses 2-Row, Crisp Chocolate, Briess Roast Barley, Debittered Black and Crystal malts. As this starts life in the mash as an Oatmeal Stout, Flaked Oats make up a good deal of the fermentables too. As for the hops, which aren’t usually a focus point in a Stout and are primarily used for bittering. Nugget and Willamette Hops are used in this beer to bitter the beer and let the malt, oats, coffee and chocolate to shine through. The coffee and chocolate are added during the boil and also during fermentation.

When you first pour this beer, it pours black and opaque. People often joke that light cannot penetrate Guinness, but this is something else. Light really can’t penetrate this brew! After you finish the pour you end up with a off red/pink head, almost cinnamon coloured as described. The head stays for a minute or two and then dissipates quickly leaving a ring around the edges of the glass. This really is a pretty looking beer. Big hits of the Kona Coffee on the nose, strong Chocolate and Oatmeal aromas tailing off to a nice sweet and milky smell. This is one of those beers that are so inviting, with Stouts, Oatmeal ones especially once they’re poured I always want to dive in straight away. Once you taste this beer, you will realise what you’ve got yourself into: big Coffee hits, subtly sweet Chocolate and a little bit of Oatmeal. After this some Espresso coffee notes, lots of Dark Fruits, Sugar and a touch of Vanilla.  The 8.3% alcohol is well masked by the complex flavours, it’s so smooth and the only hint at the alcohol is the slight warming you feel when you drink it. Perfect for this colder weather! Lots of sweetness and only a touch of bitterness and incredibly easy to drink and enjoy, this is definitely one I recommend sitting next to the fire with on a cold night sipping away. Who needs hot chocolate anyway?

You can purchase Founders Breakfast Stout in the UK at:

Beers of Europe

The Real Ale Company

The Liquor Shop

A few places are currently out of stock, but Breakfast Stout is a seasonal release from Founders and begins in October. Although, a bottle from last year would be just fine!

You can purchase in person (last time I checked) at The Utobeer Cage in Borough Market, London as mentioned in one of my previous blogs.

For any bars, shops etc that are interested, Founders products are distributed by James Clay in the UK. Breakfast Stout only comes in Bottles at the time of writing.

Travel: Beer and Food in Barcelona

Seeing as I like heat and this summer has been a bit humid and cloudy, I decided to take a short 3 day break to Barcelona. Apart from fitting loads in seeing the sites, I managed to track down a few very good food/beer places for this blog and this special post is about them. Barcelona really is a beautiful city and I will be going back there at some point!

Kiosko

I stumbled across this place when visiting the Barceloneta area. They do absolutely amazing burgers and you can check out their menu on their website. They have a great selection with Lamb, Pork, Beef and even Vegetarian Burgers. I went for the Chicken burger which was more like an extremely tasty sandwich due to the brown bread choice. The chicken was just breast meat, cut quite thin and then marinaded for 12 hours. The bread was also freshly rolled that morning (the complete sandwich pictured above). It was absolutely incredible and they also made all of the condiments and mayonnaise themselves in the kitchen. I really do recommend this place.  Kiosko has amazing food and sells one of Barcelona’s most popular lagers – Moritz. Whilst this is a lager on a large production and is not considered as craft beer, it rivals Damm’s Estrella which is made across the city which is seriously mass produced and uses adjuncts in it’s lager recipe. This creates something less enjoyable, a tasteless fizzy yellow liquid. More on that later. Although Moritz is produced on a large scale and is not a craft brewery, for a Euro Pale Lager it isn’t too bad. The fact they use Saaz hops in the beer is a great effort and it’s a thousand times better than a lot of the mass produced lagers out there and almost tastes like a Pilsner. Pretty okay in hot weather.

The other local mass produced beers are Damm’s Estrella, which is quite frankly absolutely tasteless and there’s nothing to really write about it apart from it tastes a bit like Carlsberg mixed with Budwieser and to be honest isn’t even really refreshing on a hot day due to it’s extreme fizzyness. Damm also make Damm Lemon, which is like a Radler and to be honest was quite refreshing in 36 Degrees Celcius heat but in a sort of Sprite/Fanta Lemon way and finally, Voll Damm which is their attempt at a Märzen / Oktoberfest beer. In my opinion the beer doesn’t really reflect this style but out of the Damm beers sold everywhere it’s bearable and it actually has a very malty taste. Let’s move on…

Mosquito

Next up is Mosquito, a restaurant that is a fusion of Tapas and Dim-Sum. The menu is great and the staff are really friendly! The dumplings are out of this world, and they have cold and hot choices. The stand outs for me were the Lemon Lime Chicken and the Beef Dumplings. Another definite recommendation from me here! Mosquito also has a huge selection of Craft and Belgian beers with over 200 bottles and 7 taps to choose from.

I ordered a Belgian beer in Mosquito called Caracole Ambrée, as I’d never seen it before and the waitress recommended it. Although I usually write in depth reviews, this is an article about Barcelona’s Beer and Food places I visited, so the reviews will be briefer than usual. Back to the beer – When you pour this beer, be careful as it literally explodes out of the bottle with serious carbonation. It pours an amber colour leaving a thick foam on the sides of the glass as you drink. It really is an inciting looking brew. You can definitely smell the funky belgian yeast which has traces of Strawberries, Bananas but also some Citrusy Hops and a nice sweet malt backbone. This is definitely an outstanding Belgian beer as far as smell goes. It starts with a big alcohol kick, followed by some citrus and a lot of funky Belgian yeast notes – banana, cherries and fruitcake finishing with sweet roasted malts. It really did go down a treat, especially with the food! Good recommendation Mosquito waitress! 

Bier Cab

Last but almost definitely not least, I visited Bier Cab in the Universitat area. Bier Cab is a great Gastropub and I had some absolutely amaing Tapas here. Nachos with Pico de Gallo and Guacamole, Chicken Strips and Potato Cubes with hot sauce and sour cream on top of them. After sharing these, I had a burger which was incredible. Loads of spanish cheese, hot sauce, medium rare burger, pickles and caramalised onions on a freshly baked bun. This was another place that made all their sauces, condiments and everything else.

I had 3 beers whilst in Biercab, To Øl Amass (Oatmeal Stout), Uncommon Brewers Siamese Twin Ale that had been Barrel Aged and Lervig Aktiebryggeri AS Rye IPA. To be honest I was completely spoilt for choice as BierCab has 30 ever changing taps and over 200 bottles (and even Beavertown Cans!) The current tap beers are displayed on a digital screen and when the kegs are changed to a different beer, it comes up on the screen straight away. It really is an experience. I seriously recommend this place as somewhere you cannot miss when visiting Barcelona.

Lervig Rye IPA arrived golden and hazy with a generous head which dissipates slowly leaving some sticky lacing. I could smell the piney hops, toasty sweet Rye and citrus as soon as the beer was put on the table. It really was a fantastic smelling brew and so fresh! The taste starts with some sweet rye, goes into some pine and grassy notes ending with great citrus bitterness, it’s an extremely enjoyable IPA and definitely verges on imperial. I need to try and get this again somehow! Despite the intense flavours, it’s smooth and goes down well hiding the 8.5 percentage but finishes very dry.

Next up was the Barrel Aged version of Siamese Twin ale from Uncommon Brewers, which I’m told was aged in Red Wines and began life as a Dubbel. Arrived an Ox Blood red with a generous head which dissipates to a thin cap that unfortunately left no lacing. There’s a lot going on with the smell of this beer – Red Grape must, red wine, some sweet malts but no hop smell dectectable. When you taste this beer you get an initial hit of brown sugarn then it transforms into Red Wine with some tart flavours and subtle banana on the finish. This one is lightly carbonated and finishes pretty sweet.

Fianlly, To Øl Amass (pictured above). As a stout it arrived black resembling coffee with a thick brown sugar coloured head. Head retention was great and it left a thick coating on the glass.
It smelt very roasty indeed with some coffee notes, burnt sugar, can definitely smell some oat in there too.
When you first drink this beer, you get milky coffee dark roasty flavour followed salted caramel, some sweet oat notes finishing with some piney hop which fades to a fudge taste. This really was dark and complex and in my opinion fantastic! It finished very smooth indeed due to the oats with an almost silky mouth feel, I’m guessing this is heavily hopped although the flavours are very subtle because it finishes very dry.

Barcelona really is a fantastic city, I really do recommend visiting whenever you can. The food is incredible and if you know where to look, the beer is too. If not, there’s always Moritz as a good go to in a beach bar.

Remember this is an extra post guys! Tomorrow I’ll be back to my usual format and be writing about the awesome Dogfish Head Festina Pêche!