Beer: Wide Street's Monksland Belgian Stout and Curious Society's Night Tide Cold-Brew Coffee Oatmeal Stout

Wide Street's Monksland Belgian stout
Paul McConville

ONE of the world's most successful marketing campaigns may lead many to believe that Ireland is a land of stout, given the prevalence of one particular iconic brand.

I have bored readers of this column before with the news that porter and stout were actually quintessentially English, but Ireland is now a land of innovative craft brewers and many have taken 'the black stuff' down some slightly less familiar paths.

Brewed in Longford, Wide Street's Monksland is a perfect example of the diverse nature of craft beer it's a Belgian take on an English style brewed in Ireland.

It's billed as a Belgian stout and clocks in at 5.2 per cent. The lowland influence comes in the use of five Belgian malts and Trappist ale yeast, and it certainly bring the best of both styles.

It pours a jet black colour with a slightly tan head, although it isn't as opaque as the initial colour would suggest, with little hints of dark brown coming in round the edges. That points to a slightly thin mouthfeel, but there's no skimping on flavour and this is quite a complex brew.

You've got that roasty malt aroma, firing off smells of burnt toast and coffee – the basis of many a rushed breakfast.

There's a wash of coffee and chocolate on the initial gulp but then the Belgian influence comes tumbling in with dark fruit flavours. There's some sweet raisin like tastes and a hint of fig and there's even a little bit of that yeasty tang you get with some Trappist ales.

Coffee stouts have long been a popular sub-section of the porter/stout family, but Yellow Brick Road by Mourne Mountain added a welcome twist last year as a cold brew coffee stout.

Another Irish brewer has gone down that same route with Curious Society, an off-shoot of Larkin's, bringing out Night Tide. This is a cold brew coffee and oatmeal stout (closer to my own breakfast staples). The oatmeal adds a wee it of depth to it as the cold brew end of things can be intense on flavour but thin on mouthfeel.

This 5 per cent stout has a fair bit of carbonation going on, which is evident on the pour and there's little in the way of a head. But once all that settles down, there are intense espresso flavours, balance nicely with the creamy sweetness of the oatmeal.

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