Life

Beer: William Brothers' Chokka Blokka stout and Tin Man Tropical IPA

William Brothers' Chokka Blokka
Paul McConville

THIS week, I tried two beers from the same brewery which got me thinking about two completely different movies.

The brewery in question is William Brothers, which is based in Alloa, Scotland and the beers come in fantastically designed 500ml cans as part of their Totemic range.

The movies in question were Apocalypto and the Wizard of Oz. Okay, so both involve characters going on journeys of a sort, but both for very different reasons and, barring a rather brutal opening which involves a character being crushed to death by a flying house, the Wizard of Oz doesn't quite come close to matching the Mel Gibson-helmed flick for shear out-and-out bloodshed.

Anyway, the reason Apocalypto popped into my head was the first William Brother offering Chokka Blokka. This is billed as a 'Mayan-inspired mocha stout' and comes in at 4.8 per cent abv. It's been the perfect weather for a nice comforting stout and, as a coffee lover, I was doubly excited by this one.

It pours jet black in the glass and has a slightly off-white head. There are rich aromas of coffee and bitter chocolate and they follow through into the taste. It has quite a smooth mouthfeel thanks to the oats in the malt bill and there are lashings of sweet malt and coffee, although the chocolate is less pronounced on the palate.

They've used cocoa nibs in the brew and you do get a nice bitter bite of dark chocolate, but the coffee is much more dominant and there's even a slightly burnt caramel flavour lingering there too.

Billed as a tropical IPA, The Tin Man got me thinking of the Wizard of Oz – naturally enough – and if you're asking if this one has a heart, the answer is yes, it has a heart of pure fruit.

It's lovely and hazy in the glass, pouring a murky dark amber colour with a white head and you get plenty of juicy aromas of it. As you'd expect from the billing, there are plenty of juicy, fruity flavours but there is a fair old whack of sweet malt too.

It's almost lager-like in its maltiness, but the opposite when it comes to complexity of flavours. It has the malty profile of a Bavarian lager but the fruitness of a an all-out IPA.

If you remember those sweets Toffos and the fruit flavoured version they brought out many years ago, you're not a million miles away from the taste of this 5.5 per cent beer.

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Life