Thursday, 27 June 2013

Beers Of London Series
39. Hoppy Collie Brewery - Coffee Stout 5.5%

Fortune is a wonderful thing. Finding a new brewery that you'd never heard of before. Finding out that the brewery is based in London. Finding out that they've been brewing a range of beers since late January / early February 2013. Then finding out that the beer you have in front of you tastes ... well you'll find that out soon enough.
I had a good day out in London yesterday and as I'm prone to do, though not as often as I'd like, I made a detour on my way home and called in at the The Cock Tavern in Hackney. It's home to Howling Hops brewery and I wanted to pick up another bottle to review for this series as I rather enjoyed the Smoked Porter when I tasted it. I'll be reviewing the bottle I picked up soon enough but when I looked around to see what was on offer there on one of the taps in front of me was this pump clip:

I was intrigued and immediately tried to find who this 'Hoppicoly' were and actually ... what sort of a name was that anyway!
Fortunately the internet is a clever thing and soon worked out that I actually wanted Hoppy Collie Brewery, beer and dogs, I dug a little deeper. Their website is rather helpful. Based in Hammersmith, Hoppy Collie was started by Travis Mooney, an American who understandably had a
 hankering for the beers of his home country. Inspired by the online home brewing adventures of Wil Wheaton (that annoyingly pretentious child from Star Trek: The Next Generation) home brew kit was bought and he made his first tentative brews in July 2011. These were well received, Travis brewed a beer for his own wedding, and in June 2012 the transition from home brewer to commercial brewer was made with the founding of the Hoppy Collie Brewery, and in case you're wondering about the name all of the brewing takes place under the watchful eye of Viola, the original hoppy collie dog.
The regular line up of beers includes an American Pale Ale, a traditional Bitter, a California Common, a blonde ale called Hammersmith Blonde, and a coffee stout which was the beer I stumbled across and therefore the beer that I'm reviewing (obviously you say ... you clever lot).
Brewed with Cascade and Northern Brewer hops and a healthy dose of Ethiopian Sidamo coffee beans, it pours black, pure unadulterated black. Black as night, black as coal, and possibly, as was exclaimed by a nameless person as it was pulled, so dark that it 'must have been made from the souls of pump monkeys'. God bless those pump monkeys. There's a thin café latte head sitting atop this light-swallowing black-hole of a liquid, releasing a marvellous aroma of bitter chocolate and freshly roasted coffee beans. It picks and grasps at the tongue as it passes over it, digging needles of molten chocolate and espresso deep into the flesh, hot rich and intense. This is a beer of considerable punch, beautifully creamy and rich with a real depth of flavour. A real delight. The finish is smoky, but not overly so, and full of more coffee and chocolate, but this time becoming sweeter and dryer as it lingers for some time.
This is a fantastic beer, big and full of flavour, and now I've had the good fortune to stumble across some Hoppy Collie I'll certainly be looking out for more. I suggest you do too.

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