Craft Beer: Bringing home the bacon with Notorious PIG from Bullhouse Brewery
A CERTAIN well-known stout, which it used to be claimed was 'good for you', also enjoyed the label of 'a meal in a glass' such were its supposed nutritional qualities.
Of course, as good for you as any beer is, it shouldn't really be a substitute for any meal, let alone breakfast. The term 'breakfast stout' has been made famous by the Founders brewery in the US, referring to the stout they brew with oats, chocolate and coffee. It's not the sort of thing you could lash into you before the morning commute, but it is a robust beer with strong coffee aromas and flavours – a real pick-me-up.
The newest offering from the ever-experimental Bullhouse Brewery in Newtownards tips a hat to the breakfast stout tradition, but with a bit of a twist.
Notorious PIG features some of the components of the most important meal of – coffee and bacon. Yes, that's right, bacon. It's actually billed as a maple bacon coffee porter and packs a considerable punch at 6.7 per cent.
The design of the bottle is intended to mimic the neon sign of an American diner, just to reinforce that breakfast theme. It pours a jet black colour with a tan-coloured head. As the head dissipates, it takes on the look of the dark foam you'd get on the top of a cup of espresso.
There are strong coffee aromas but they do give way to a sweet and woody maple aroma too and a slight hint of smoke.
But what does a beer made with bacon actually taste like? Well, not just of bacon. Yes, there's a subtle smokiness, but also a strong espresso hit and a sweet, almost caramely flavour. The smokey and almost salty undertones hint at the presence of the bacon, but it never overpowers, instead complementing the other flavours nicely. It's nicely balanced, with even a hint of dark chocolate in there too.
At 6.7 per cent, it's a bit of sipper and I think would go nicely with some strong cheeses, given the savoury feel to it. It's an adventurous brew pulled off excellently by a brewer not afraid to push the boundaries.