Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, Ghanaian Spiced Porter

If you’ve ever wandered around Pop Brixton in south London, you’ll have struggled to find a decent beer. But at least you’ll have had your nostrils assaulted with assorted aromas from all over the world. Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen was always high up on that list, wafting us all with the smell of jollof spiced chicken and peanut butter stew.

Zoe’s since moved on to run a supper club and serves at pop-ups across the country, but you can still enjoy those spicy Ghanaian aromas now in liquid form.

Living life on the edge (of my windowsill)

I love a good flag, and the Ghanaian flag is no exception. This bottle looks great.

I’m ambivalent about the beer’s appearance, though. It looks like a beer should: brown body, creamy head. What worries me are the bits: rising and falling as they catch the bubbles, little flecks of white and brown tumble through the liquid. Still, I’ve swallowed worse.

The porter is mahogany in colour and only slightly translucent. It smells warm: dark chocolate to start but quickly the nostrils flare with chili spice. No surprise, then, that this beer contains both cacao nibs and chilis. Not just any chilis, mind, but scotch bonnets. It’s going to be a fun evening.

Rich, chocolatey flavour with grain malts to start, before the heat hits. It’s warm, but not overly hot. I’d worry about my partner drinking it, or anyone else who struggles with spices, but I’m having a great time.

This is not a subtle beer: there’s chocolate, there’s chili, and beyond that a little malty, caramel sweetness. That lack of complication is probably for the best – this is a beer meant for drinking with intensely spicy and flavourful food, so any subtlety would just be lost. As a beer on its own? It’s a fun novelty and absolutely worth giving it a try. 3/5

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