Craft Beer: Mourne Mountains' Yellow Brick Road coffee stout a hard act to follow

Yellow Brick Road – no need to stick your nose near it to get the coffee aromas

IN MY more uninitiated days as a beer drinker, the primary association I made between coffee and beer was that the former acted as a next-day remedy for a session on the latter the previous night.

Now, that link may remain a pretty strong one with me, but nowadays when I think of beer and coffee, my mind will immediately switch to the rich aromas and flavours of a nice stout.

Whether those coffee notes are a by-product of the roasted malt or the brewer has added coffee to the brew, they give some stouts a nice bit of body.

Many self-proclaimed coffee stouts tend towards the milk stout end of things, lending them a smooth, almost latte-like quality. When it comes to coffee, for me, the less milk the better.

That's why I enjoyed Yellow Brick Road from Mourne Mountains so much. It is billed as a cold brew coffee stout.

It seems that many brewers have noticed that the Venn diagram of people who like craft beer and also frequent coffee shops is very crowded in the middle. That has seen a number collaborations between brewers and coffees shops, and this is another one.

MMB have teamed up with Church Lane Coffee in Warrenpoint to produce this 6.5 per cent stout. Cold brew coffee is that refreshing pick-me-up on a hot summer's day and the perfect remedy to the raft of cream-crowned frappuccinos which get shipped out once the mercury hits the 20s.

Making a stout with it is a masterstroke as you get a much richer and intense coffee flavour. It pours jet black in the glass with a slightly off-white head. Once that settles, it does have the look of an Americano. You don't really need to stick your nose near it to get the coffee aromas; they're already jumping out of the can on the pour.

It's slightly thinner than the milk stout-based coffee stouts I'm used to, but I take that as a plus point as it gives it more of a cold brew feel. It glides over the palate with a lightness that is in contrast to the big, bold espresso flavours it carries. There's a hint of sweetness, a little bit of a nutty edge and that bean-like richness to it all.

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