How do you like your coffee? I take mine in a stout when I can.
There’s something about the use of real coffee in a dark beer that I find irresistible, but it’s got to be done well, because coffee can so easily overwhelm the palate and dominate that you may as well just have ordered a double espresso. Not in this case though.
The new collaboration between Huddersfield’s finest coffee duo, Bean Brothers and new Manchester brewery, Squawk, sees the former use their Derek coffee blend in perfect harmony with a stout base to create the collaboration 6.5% Espresso Stout.
It pours thick, almost syrup-like, into a dark pool showing the merest hint of ruby at the base of the glass. A fizzing, tight, off-white head shows, easing into a lacy mocha halo carrying aromas of smooth, fresh coffee, roast malts, a hint of sweet wafer and chocolate. Pour this into a white cup and you’d be forgiven for thinking this was an americano.
A smooth mouthfeel (reminiscent of a latte) with a lightness upfront makes this an easy drinker. The flavour profile carrying transient hints of caramel, then fresh roast coffee with wisps of dark fruit, currants and dark chocolate. Subtle sweetness and then gentle waves of smoke and cinder ease into the finish leaving a dryness that coats the palate in coffee and wafer biscuits.
I’d love this to have more depth upfront, but that’s a pretty small qualm. Overall, this is a very welcome addition to the style with the Derek coffee blend working very well in this format. I’d be interested to see what else the Bean Brothers could bring to beer with their other blends, merging the not too dissimilar worlds of craft coffee and beer. Speaking of beer, I’ve not had any from Squawk before, but with the quality on show here I shall definitely be on the look out for some more brews from them.