Canadian Breakfast is a maple syrup and coffee infused stout from Bermondsey brewers Brew By Numbers. It’s a delicious, complex beer with oodles of black coffee and dark chocolate flavour, but very little of the maple syrup sweetness promised on the label. Canadian Breakfast is vegan-friendly.
It’s time to try something a little different.
Brew Report has come a long way since I first sat down to write about Fin du Monde in 2017. Nearly 200 posts and well over 200 beers later, it feels like a good time to innovate.
Plus it’s not like we have anything else to do during lockdown, right?
Regulars to the blog will remember we’ve visited Brew By Numbers a few times before: spiritually with the Bring the Brewery Home box in the depths of May lockdown, and physically when I popped into their taproom in the summer. Sadly, the pubs are closed once again, so I enjoyed this beer in the comfort and safety of home.
Somewhat unusually for a Brew By Numbers beer, we’re faced with a shiny, chrome can rather than the stark black labels we know and love. Thankfully the stylised numbering remains: a 08 drizzled onto the can in syrup.
It looks, surprise surprise, like a stout. It’s thick and inky black with a rich, luxurious, foamy head, not unlike something you’d expect on a high quality cappuccino.
For all that maple syrup branding, there’s no hint of it on the nose. Instead, it’s all bitter, black coffee. Oodles more of that on the palate, along with dark chocolate and a little demerara sweetness. The mouthfeel is thick but not syruppy. The oats mean the beer coats the inside of the mouth, letting the flavours hang around that little bit longer.
There’s a hint of cinnamon or some other woody spice on the finish, but that’s the closest we get to maple syrup in this beer.
Is this a good beer? That I can affirm without a doubt. It’s rich and complex, full-flavoured and well balanced with a thick, satisfying mouthfeel and just enough alcohol to warm you up as the snow melts outside.
Is it what I was expecting though? After all, this can looks like the label’s been drizzled on in maple syrup. The blurb describes “the unmistakable flavour of Canadian maple syrup”. I’m just not getting it. I don’t feel short changed: it’s a delicious, dry breakfast stout. But it’s not what I was hoping for when I picked up the can.