I’m writing this in Starbucks. Yes, I’m one of those people. The cream on my latte is taller than the mug it’s served in and it’s covered in something. I dunno. It’s crunchy. It’s November so I turned down the “Christmas blend” on moral grounds. I don’t know what’s more overpowering, the burnt coffee or the sickly “toffee nut” flavour. Ho hum, I guess I’m a glutton for punishment and Starbucks is my weakness*. Bare this in mind as I talk with fondness of the delicious beer I drank last night; it was considerably tastier than what I’m drinking now.
I’ve been a huge fan of stouts since Sadler’s Mud City first touched my heart and when I heard about Redwell’s collaboration with Kofra, an independent coffee shop in Norwich, I was eager to taste the results.
With the cold weather and dark days pushing in Redwell and Kofra joined forces to create a coffee stout with the Norwich shop’s own blend. Before sitting down to plan the brew Kofra hosted a coffee tasting at the brewery discussing different blends and degrees of roasting, as well as optimum water temperatures and tasting notes for different beans. Nate Southwood from Redwell said it was fascinating “seeing people talk about and describe coffee with the same passion with which we talk about beer.”
The stout was brewed using barley and chocolate malts and the coffee was added post-fermentation before the conditioning and canning stage. Kofra used a blend of two beans; two thirds Guatemala Special Reserve Lot 2 from a town called Huehuetenango and the remaining third from a Costa Rican farm called Tarrazu.
Kofra’s Jose De Leon Guzman & Redwell’s David Jones check on the brew.
Now, to the taste! The smell that wafted out was pure coffee shop** though I found that the aroma disappeared soon after even with much flaring of nostrils over my glass. It poured pitch black with a foamy, tan head. Sadly, no clinging to the glass which I always look for but that wasn’t reflected in the full body of the beer. Tasting, I got a rich roast malt flavour mixed with fruity coffee, I didn’t get too much chocolate but the silky smooth mouthfeel was utterly luxurious and thoroughly creamy. The aftertaste was sharp and satisfying, so much like a normal coffee.
Obligatory badly lit phone camera shot.
Nicely done, Norwich. Time to leave Starbucks and go on the hunt for some better coffee. I think I can hear a chemex at Madame Waffle calling.
Kofra Stout will be available in 330ml cans from retailers (Eebria online for folk outside of Norwich) and pubs from Thursday 5th November 2015.
*That and Rustler’s Quarter Pounders. Christmas present ideas for you.
** Not the coffee shop I’m currently in, it smells of burnt sugar and rain.
Disclaimer: Redwell sent me a can of the Kofra Stout to try. It confused the postman.