Regular readers of this irrelevant little corner of the internet may already be aware that I do love a good coconut stout. Oh yes. (I also love pineapple on a pizza and if you have a problem with that, you need to sort yourself out.)
So when The White Hag released edition two in their new Dark Druid pastry stout series called Chocolate Coconut (following on from #1 Salted Caramel), they had my attention.
Psst goes the ring pull. Smells of Bounty bar. Excellent. 5.5% ABV stout poured, excitement builds, glass meets lips and I’m relieved and elated. Delicious mid level coconut with a little vanilla in there to stop it becoming too, um, coconutty. It’s sweet as you’d expect but isn’t sickly so. I don’t like my pastry stouts laden with sugar and thankfully this isn’t. It’s just about as perfect a coconut stout as I would want and I thank the Sligo crew for that.
More blethering about coconut is coming later but let’s stay with stouts for now and from Portadown is McCracken’s Chocolate & Vanilla 5% ABV stout. To my surprise it’s initially dry with a whack of bitter, dark chocolate bursting through. Are you a dark chocolate or milk chocolate fan? Well think of this as 80% dark and 20% milk.
After the choc-burst, the dryness comes flooding back and I’m waiting for the very low level vanilla to try and round off those dry edges but it doesn’t really happen. It’s thinner than I hoped, the chocolate isn’t as prominent as I wanted and an extra splash of vanilla would do it good. If those three elements happen, I’d look forward to returning to another bottle.
Moving on to Krammed, a New England pale ale from Mourne Mountains brewery. First thing I need to say about the new scenic labels that MMB is putting out on the recent range is that while the photos are great, they’re flipping difficult to differentiate when all sitting on an off licence shelf. Pretty please add the name of the beer to the front of the can so idiots like me can easily find the beer I’m looking for. Thank you!
The beer itself? Ah righto. It doesn’t much look New England style, pouring quite clear instead of the expected haze. Regardless, a wee sniff and taste and all is almost forgiven. There’s light and sweet satsuma mixed around with a dab of pineapple juice, all on top of a touch of earthy bitterness lingering underneath – just the thing I need on this warm summer’s day. It’s an enjoyable session beer and there aren’t many better Northern Irish beers of 4.5% ABV on sale right now. Heaven forbid you may even want to buy another.
Finally, let’s head back to the coconut and If You Like Pina Coladas by Beer Hut. It’s a 5.3% ABV self-titled Pineapple and Coconut IPA and I immediately wonder what the base beer was before they added the pineapple puree and coconut shavings.
There’s a big bang of mouth puckering tartness to start with that I wasn’t expecting, my pina colada cocktails aren’t like this. Following on from the sour element comes a sweet, syrupy pineapple touch with the coconut very much the lesser addition of the two, but give it a few minutes and the sourness mellows and begins to actually marry well with the sweetness. It’s another tasty summer fruit drink that’s masquerading as an IPA but any actual beer in there seems lost. It’s fun though.
As I finish writing this, the summer sun seems to have disappeared, replaced in the sky with menacing black clouds packed full of that nasty rain. However, don’t let that stop our brewers brewing summer beers.
Now, where’s my Hawaiian shirt?