Author: James Smith, The Crafty Pint
Original Article published on 26 June 2023
Hawkers' barrel-aged white stout wasted no time garnering a cult following when the beer first appeared so, in typical Hawkers fashion, not only has the beer returned but it's been given variants too. There's three of them in 2023, each with a label rather more hellbent than the liquids inside.
The "straight" version, if such a beer can be described as such, does look remarkably like an APA rather than anything even vaguely approaching a stout. And given where the series heads this year, it's interesting how dessert-like the starting point is: there’s caramel nougat with a toffee swirl, plus hints of spicy bourbon, and much that reminds me of a café con leche made with beans given bitter roast. So where does it go with tiramisu…?
For one, into amber territory visually, with the base beer coming across like an altbier or nutty English brown ale. The coffee elements are enhanced, sweetness dialled down, chocolate makes an appearance, and the dry finish is stepped up a notch or two as well, leaving you with something that's rather like a liqueur.
And, ultimately, if you’re going to make a while stout you may as well make it pink, yeah? The strawberries and cream could just as easily be strawberries and coconut cream, with the adjuncts – fruit purée and lactose – taking control, using the beer’s viscous, malty base for ballast and leaving you with something akin to the leftovers after Arnott's Iced Vovos and Monte Carlos are put into a cage and instructed to fight to the death.