Golden ale with coffee flavour is collaboration brew for Norwich City of Ale

Pictured outside The Norfolk Brewhouse are Martin Warren (left) and David Holliday (right)

Pictured outside The Norfolk Brewhouse are Martin Warren (left) and David Holliday (right) - Credit: Archant

An unusual golden ale which draws on the darker flavours of coffee is being brewed specially for Norwich's City of Ale festival.

Three drinks producers teamed up to create something different for this year's celebration, fusing artisan roasted coffee and craft beer, which are both experiencing an explosion in popularity.

GreySeal Coffee, in Glanford, Poppyland Brewery, in Cromer and Hindrigham-based Norfolk Brewhouse are working together to showcase the two distinct flavours, and are brewing it ahead of City of Ale, which starts on the May 26.

Coffee beers typically involve darker beers, such as stouts and porters, but David Holliday of The Norfolk Brewhouse said he wanted to challenge this unwritten rule and provide a drink to test the skills of the brewers and also surprise the drinkers.

'My vision was to have a coffee beer which was golden in colour – so when drinkers smell the aroma and take a taste, then the coffee would be a pleasant surprise,' he said. 'Ales of the unexpected you might say – but, in a nice way.'


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Mr Holliday decided to collaborate with award-winning Martin Warren, of Poppyland Brewery, to produce two different but related ales.

These are the Poppyland ale, which is a strong 6% abv bottled ale, and the Norfolk Brewhouse ale, slightly lower in alcohol at 5% abv, and produced as a cask ale for sale in pubs.

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Recipe development involved many tests for both colour and flavour – something which itself was a challenge.

Mr Warren said: 'Collaborative brews are great as two minds come together, one often pulling the other out of the comfort zone, but both pushing and challenging, but you need to end up with a balanced and eminently drinkable beer – not just one which is a gimmick – you want to showcase what Norfolk can do.'

'We decided that to balance the coffee flavour in a golden ale we would need to brew a hoppy IPA (India Pale Ale) style beer, using a blend of English and American hops. Naturally, the base of the beer was Maris Otter, the premium Norfolk barley.'

GreySeal's head of roasting and development, David Lane, said the brews would use Ethiopia beans, which are naturally very sweet with a peach and honeycomb character.

City of Ale runs from Thursday, May 26 to Sunday, June 5.

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