Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Kofra Stout

This was one of those evenings that needed a stout, you know, one of those days that, however nice, just required something to give it pep and spring. So it was that I turned to a can that I picked up from the newly extended craft beer range in the evil Empire that is Tesco. I can't complain too much, their new range is a pretty good one even if I haven't yet sampled all of it. Anyway, all that aside, it was a sunny day and time to try the Redwell stout effort: Kofra Stout. It promises coffee and unicorn tears and I, for one, can't wait to see what difference that would make.

I mean, unicorn tears. It's... different to say the least. Would you like to know more?

This poured well from the can with some activity like what one would expect from a soft drink but with heavy roasted coffee tones from the outset. It was thick and strong into the glass too, producing a nice thin head that looked, well, like a stout should. Dry and roasted on the nose, bringing to mind the kind of landscape I remember from the bed of a reservoir back in a hot summer one year when we walked to a drowned village. There's dust and salt and just dryness. It's not a bad first impression and the thick coffee blackness of the body does much to commend against the bright sunshine through the kitchen window. Why not in my garden, you may ask, and I would respond, my rhetorical friend, with the fact that I was attempting to sort out my lunch. So, there you go. Also, there was a kitchen to clear up and so it really wouldn't do to be bobbing out into the garden on a beer errand.

Onto the tongue and there is a tinkle of the sparkle of carbonation about the edges but tempered by the fires of roasted coffee that work in the middle and slowly spread through the thick blackness to touch all the parts of the mouth. A rough but firm mouthfeel, like rock on a hot day radiating the reflected strength of the sun high in the sky. A rainy Saturday outside Watt's coffee shop in Bank Street in Carlisle lingers at the back of throat, full of the promise of something rather special, but set against the here and now of the dry roasted coffee and milky texture of the centre of the taste. That carbonation remains but does not dominate, there is a splash of the alcohol, not surprising given the 5.9% ABV of this one, but it too does not dominate. A hint of hops but this is all about the coffee flavours and the hints of chocolate that slowly build as one gets through the glass.

Not the bitterness of dark chocolate either. It's not soft and mellow like the vegetable oil infused Cadbury's milk chocolate but it is not far off either. Think a sort of bubbly chocolate but deeper and with more, well, with more cocoa solids in it. Then add some coffee fudge for good measure and keep it liquid and at the consistency of a good pot of coffee in which one could stand a spoon. Then add alcohol, chuck the whole lot out and pour a can of this instead - it does the job much better than any mixture could. The arid aftertaste slowly metamorphoses through the can until one is left with a soft sweetness, so subtle you could mistake it for something you were eating (I had this one without food), and a chocolate warmth that puts me in mind of well-made hot chocolate on a cold winter's day, before you can really taste the chocolate and whilst your mouth is simply glad of the hot milk.

In short, and in case it wasn't obvious, I think I rather like this stout. And it is such that I can really imagine me drinking this pretty regularly. I even think the price paid is a pretty good one, being £1.80, and that I could stand to pay that to have it at home. I mean, it's no dessert stout and no imperial stout, obviously, but it is a drinking stout that would have a place at most things I do at home both in the evening and at weekends. If I drank a beer a day (I don't) then this would be my usual. Not heard of the brewery before, they're from Norwich apparently, but I salute this stout as a fine example of the craft and one that I shall surely return to!

Enjoyed best after a long day at work with a few workmates clustered round telling tales of the day and sharing the gossip about colleagues who are not present. Bitch a little about management, vent about incompetence below and then just take swigs of this to mellow the tongue, remind you to talk positively about others behind their back and shit-talk to their faces. Let the Unicorn tears guide you one and simply enjoy the overall impression and feeling that this leaves.


  1. Hmm dude one to look out for in tescos then. Great blog as usual ���� baly

    1. Thank you! And yes, this is well worth picking up. I shall be having more of this!