Coffee, chocolate and beer #5; altogether now

Now then. I like coffee flavours in beer. But I also like coffee flavours in chocolate. Which one is better? There's only one non-Harry-Hill way to find out: drink 'em, eat'em, blog 'em.

Let's start with the Brewdog Coffee Imperial Stout. It pours an opaque brown washing away to black edges. A flicked wrist offers a light roast coffee/hazelnut puree aroma. So far, so promising. So, a sip: bitterness. Burnt coffee grounds. Harsh. Dry. Some longer gulps knocked the rougher edges off but there was still a resinous, off-puttingly hoppy lick to it. Even the scorched coffee got lost towards the end.

Perhaps some chocolate can redress the balance. Lindt Coffee is billed as dark but actually smells and feels milkier. Digging around showed that it was 47% chocolate, so it was actually more towards the milk end of the spectrum after all. A first nibble gave an understated coffee flavour with a grainy feel, offering just enough resistance against the tongue. Paired with the Brewdog, the beer does taste better, that slight chocolate sweetness taking the edge off the hops and letting the beer drop a gear to achieve a frothy quality.

Shit or bust time. Perhaps a hardcore chocolate can save the day. And in my collection, there was none more hardcore than Hotel Chocolat's The Purist - 100% Ecuadorian cocoa. No shine to the bar, an almost dusty aroma, rolling the first sliver around the mouth you feel pure cocoa powdering around. The first bite brings bitterness but also a surprising cream note with dusty intensity breaking in waves. Alongside the Brewdog, the beer is elevated into a different league. Coffee now climbs out of the glass, jolting into the chocolate palate in a reverse mocha moment.

Only one way to go now - Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast. I love this beer; it appears three time on my unwritten list of 'beer experiences yet to enjoy' (namely; drink more than one bottle of it to myself in a sitting, drink a bottle of it for breakfast, drink any of the Beer Geek Brunch varieties). It's so soft, the oatmeal in it working wonders to round out the body and carry the light cofee and creamy chocolate flavours. Such a stunning chocolate nose, too. It's a very easy going beer, no overloading on the palate, just enough consistant carbonation tp keep pushing out the flavours.

Alongside the Lindt bar it's... not much different. But dip some of The Purist in and you're mainlining cocoa. It's smothering your nose, dusty chocolate coats your palate, washy coffee intensifies the flavour. It's almost too flucking much. And hurrah for that - great beer and great chocolate desrves to take your taste buds to the edge and back again. A hyperreal combination.

Mucho kudos to Craig Garvie for the Brewdog Coffee Imperial Stout and to for the Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast.


  1. Lovely stuff. That 100% bar sounds like a right beast, where did you get it?!

    I like both of these beers. I enjoy the BrewDog BECAUSE of the extra hoppiness. I think it works really well with milk chocolate, something about the roast bitterness in the beer and the sweetness in the chocolate coming together.

    You have to try the Brunch Weasel if you haven't yet, it's a little bit of beer heaven.

  2. The Purist is available from the Hotel Chocolat chain, the article has a link to their site where they have a store finder. IMO they offer some of the best high street chocolates you can buy.

    Never seen Brunch Weasel - will certainly keep an eye out for it.