If you've been drinking craft beer for some time, pastry stouts might still raise your eyebrows for their tendency to through everything but the kitchen sink at beer but Urban Alley’s Strawberry Kisses is still soaked in tradition. OK, so technically it’s soaked in native strawberry gum leaf and organic cacao but beneath those adjuncts is a classic English stout, with none of the lactose common in such beers and instead just a wide mix of malts to provide its lush base and rich undertones.
It also brings memories of the early noughties flooding back, both thanks to its name and how it tastes. The name, of course, refers to Nikki Webster’s smash hit of 2001 but the flavour takes me back to a schoolyard when that song would signal the end of lunchtime. With a mix of brown sugar, chocolate and strawberry flavours, the pastry stout is a close replica of one of the all-time great school snacks, a strawberry-flavoured YoGo. Much like those school days, there's even a hint of eucalyptus in the air which means the only thing missing is a TV ad guaranteed to sell millions of litres of beer or yoghurt.
- Pastry Stout