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Craft Beer: Rascals' Breakfast of Champions a great way to start the day. (Just kidding)

Breakfast of Champions, a 6.1 per cent breakfast stout from Rascals
Paul McConville

‘WHEN all this is over' is a phrase by now so hackneyed it should be driving round London picking up passengers.

Of course, not everyone has high-minded plans about what they're going to do when the shackles of lockdown are finally lifted, most people have turned an otherwise mundane trip to the pub into a quest which might give Frodo Baggins second thoughts.

There have been murmurings in the Republic about stretching the opening hours to allow whatever publicans are left to eke out every last minute of drinking time from thirsty punters. There's no hint yet when those of us in the north will be permitted to imbibe the devil's buttermilk in a pub setting though.

Lockdown may have led to many of us keeping our own loose ‘opening hours' at the home saloon, although it's still all about quality over quantity (and longevity for that matter) for me.

However, if you ware familiar with the sub-style that is the ‘breakfast stout', then you may believe it to be carte blanche to wash down the cornflakes with some craft beer, first clip in the morning.

Each to their own, I suppose, but the ‘breakfast' part of this particular take on the black stuff refers more to the fact that brewers like to chuck in ingredients you would normally associate with the most important meal of the day.

In the case of Breakfast of Champions, a 6.1 per cent breakfast stout from Rascals, those ingredients are oatmeal, coffee and, for the Coco Pops fans, chocolate.

It pours a dark black colour with a frothy, off-white head. Those coffee and chocolate aromas attack the nose straight away, so you know there's going to be a richness to it.

On the palate, it certainly is champion. There's a sweetness to the malt profile, with a nice bitter and almost spicy tinge from the roasted barley. However, this is when the oatmeal takes over and succeeds in adding an uncomplicated smoothness to proceedings. It allows all those wonderful flavours to slide down easily and give the beer a moreish quality.

The oatmeal also makes this quite creamy, which combines well with the bold coffee flavours and give a softness to the chocolate too.

It's a stout, as many do, that does well being kept out of the fridge for a wee while before tucking into, but it's safe to say this one is a triumph.

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