The Kraken Coffee Stout by Time and Tide

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Beer Name: The Kraken Coffee Stout

Brewer: Time and Tide Brewing, Eastry, Kent, England

Date Sampled: 7th September 2016

ABV: 7.4%

Serving Type: Can

Location Sampled: Home

Hygge. No, I've not got something stuck in my throat. Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word that is coming to prominence across Europe and beyond and is what many people believe to be the secret behind the Danes featuring at the top of the list of the world's happiest people.

It's a word I'd come across before but was reminded of it this morning after watching Meik Wiking (pronounced Viking!) on Sunday Brunch. Wiking is the author of The Little Book of Hygge and embodies all of the woollen cosiness that seems to wrap most of Scandinavia in a permanent hug.

Hygge is an idea that you can find happiness in the moment, whether five minutes of quiet time with a mug of coffee in your favourite arm chair, or with a small a group of friends together in a cosy cabin with the wind howling outside.

Things that are consistent through experiences described as Hygge include soft lighting (candles or open fire are ideal), small cosy spaces and either time alone or with a small group of your favourite people. Helen Russell, the author of The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest People said (when talking to the BBC), "The rest of the world seems to be slowly waking up to what Danes have been wise to for generations - that having a relaxed, cosy time with friends and family, often with coffee, cake or beer, can be good for the soul."

Taking that all into consideration, and I know I'm biased, but if you roll all of these things together it could easily describe a wintery afternoon in a country pub drinking amazing beer.

So I guess right now you're wondering why on earth you're reading about Danish cosiness in a beer review? Well the answer is that if you were looking for a beer to enjoy by a fireside with a storm howling outside, you'd struggle to find much better than The Kraken by Time and Tide.

Time and Tide is a relatively young Brewery (started in 2013) who's mission is to "bring you incredible flavours that excite your palate and make you smile." Based in Kent, a county famous for it's hops, they have a range of beers that include traditional sounding IPAs and Stouts right through to "Root of All Evil," their Beetroot infused Hefe! They are creating a fair amount of buzz but when I picked up this can of The Kraken in The Leopold Tavern it was the first time I had seen any of their beers for sale down here.

Mixing stout with coffee is neither new or particularly unusual, but it is a blend that is easy to get wrong. Time and Tide have got it very right.

The Kraken's aroma is a bit of surprise. It's got an unmistakable smokiness to it but has a lovely hoppy floral note which lightens the whole mood.

The pour is a thing of beauty with a lovely mocha head which hangs around longer than expected.

It has a classic stout bitterness, with the smokiness from the nose present gently in the background. It's here however that the coffee really comes to the fore, but rather than bringing more bitterness, it has a fresh citrus thing going on, which is what you'd hope and expect with it being made with cold brew coffee.

The mouthfeel is lovely and smooth, with the subtle carbonation reminiscent of the microfoam you'd find in a skilfully brewed flat white.

Time and Tide have turned out something pretty special, and sat here drinking this amazing coffee stout on a candle-lit Sunday evening, I don't think I could feel more Hygge.

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