I don’t usually go for stout. But when I do, I generally like ’em – especially if there’s coffee involved. I guess I just have other priorities, or areas of interest. This time, however, I was informed that Magic Rock Brewing’s Dark Arts Surreal Stout is a collaboration with my favourite coffee roaster Dark Arts Coffee, and I actively went out looking for some.
I try a few different shops, in both Crouch End and Finsbury Park. And eventually I hit black gold, snagging the last two window display cans in Blackstock Road’s Arsenal Wines (not to be confused with Arsenal Food & Wine, which also has a good selection of beer).
Guess what, turns out the name’s just a coincidence. Still, the dark, velvety liquid oozes into the glass, filling it with the rich aroma of coffee and roasted malts. The light brown foamy topping completes the sumptuous picture of decadence.
The taste is just as rich and resplendent. Bitter with hints of dark chocolate and liquorice, and according to the Magic Rock website, “blackberries and figs.” I feel sophisticated, like Don Draper swirling an old fashioned. Or as Ron Burgundy would say, “I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.”
Dark Arts is rich, spicy and extravagant, and loaded with flavour – the result of Magic Rocks’ combination of four different malts and loads of “whole hops.” There’s a refreshing lingering bitterness too, that cuts through the malty brew, converting you to the dark side.