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What's the hype about coffee stout?

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Creamy, rich and smooth, stout has been reinvented for a new generation of sippers. Joe Flanagan of Bristol’s Small Bar explains what coffee stout’s all about …

Coffee stout

What exactly is stout?

It’s originally an English or Irish dark beer made with a small percentage of roasted black patent malt. It can be dry like Guinness or sweet and silky like a milk stout – the creativity of the modern brewing industry has blurred the lines.

Why the hype about coffee stout?

Coffee and stout are a perfect marriage. Coffee is roasted, as is black malt and this roasted character resonates when executed well. Plus the wide array of flavours in coffee – earthy, fruity, nutty – allows coffee to complement the beer and create new flavours. I also think the happy collaboration between indie breweries and roasteries has played a part.

Want to find the best places to sip cracking coffee in the South West? Discover the region’s top coffee shops and roasters here

Which ones do you rate?

Flat White, the Bristol collaboration between Left Handed Giant Brewing Co., Arbor Ales and Full Court Press is a fantastic imperial coffee milk stout (8.7% ABV). Lactose is added for sweetness and body with lots of coffee to balance and add complex flavours. Wild Beer’s Wildebeest imperial stout (11% ABV) is another favourite. It’s made with Colombian coffee, vanilla and cocoa nibs and is a decadent beer that’s fantastic as dessert.

Where’s good to drink it?

Small Bar showcases interesting South West beers as well as UK, European and American heavyweights. Located on King St, it’s next to The Royal Navy Volunteer, The Beer Emporium and Brewdog – all good places to find coffee stouts.

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