I'm still not finding much enthusiasm for writing but when Redwell Brewery asked me if I wanted to review their new canned stout I could not refuse. It arrived in time to help me celebrate International Stout Day too which was convenient. I already had a bottle of stout for this particular day but I'm not averse to increasing my stout consumption.
I first came across Redwell when visiting their brewery during the Norwich City of Ale week back in 2013. It was very early stages then in their story and since then they have gone from strength to strength. Like all good craft brewers their beers are now available in cans and I enjoyed their Steam Lager when I found it in my favourite beer shop, Cotteridge Wines, earlier this year.
Kofra Stout (5.9% ABV) comes in a smart green can. The name comes from the fact that this is a collaboration with a local Norwich coffee shop, Kofra. The beer is brewed using a blend of coffee that is roasted especially for them. The can informed me that the beans came from Guatemala and Coasta Rica in a 2:1 ratio. I'm not a coffee drinker. I have not tried it since childhood and coffee chocolates are always discarded. Here's the strange thing though. I love the smell of coffee and I love dark beers with coffee notes. Perhaps I need to give it a try again!!
The can had probably been well shook up by the postman but it didn't explode when I opened it thankfully. In fact it was only lightly sparkling with a head that quickly dissipated. I made a mistake in giving the glass to my wife to try first. My wife is a coffee drinker and she did not want to give it back to me. I'd already enjoyed the aroma of coffee emanating from the glass and I was wanting to get my hands on it.
I finally got my glass back with most of the beer still there and the first sip gave me an instant hit of coffee notes as I expected. It had a nice soft mouthfeel making it very easy to drink and the strength of 5.9% ABV was not obvious as it slipped down so easily. The more I drank the sweeter the stout became and the coffee bitterness fell away into the background. It wasn't overly sweet though as the coffeeness was always there to keep it in check. That's the other great anomaly with my love of beers from the dark side. I do not like milk stouts but I do drink milk. In fact the only milk stout I have enjoyed this year was one which had the addition of coffee.
Overall this is a very good stout. My wife gave it a definite 10/10. For me I tend to reserve that score for imperial Russian stouts with mental strengths but this stout has much of what I love about this style of beer. From me it therefore gets an 8/10.
Finally, how did it compare to the bottled stout I had lined up? Black Brite (4.5% ABV) is brewed by Wentworths for the Barnsley Beer Company. Fruity with a horrible aftertaste. Thin and lifeless. Not very good. My wife thought it was undrinkable.
So there you have it. I am planning on visiting Norwich City of Ale again next year and hopefully I will get to visit Redwell Brewery again. Great progress has been made it seems. My wife will insist I bring a few cans of Kofra Stout back with me too.