A St Agnes brewery has released what it believes to be the highest ABV beer ever brewed for sale in Cornwall in its latest small batch experiment.

The beer – which is called Hygge in reference to its comforting aroma and taste – is intended to be enjoyed instead of wine or port and goes perfectly with a cheeseboard according to its creator Mike Mason, Head Brewer at The Driftwood Spars Brewery.

Mike said: “I didn’t set out to brew a really high ABV beer just for the sake of it, but the flavours just called for it. When it was ready I did some research and I think it’s the highest ABV beer ever made by a brewery here in Cornwall, although I’m sure someone out there will correct me!”

Mike Mason, Head Brewer at The Driftwood Spars Brewery

Hygge is a Cognac & Marshmallow Imperial Stout which is described as “rich and thick, oozing silky marshmallow flavours and finishing with a spicy, subtle Cognac bite from maturation on Cognac barrel chips.”

Imperial Stouts are often around 11% ABV with sweet malts resulting in high residual alcohol content; these sweet malts have to be perfectly balanced with bitter hops in a rich and complex style that has many layers of flavour – it’s an extremely difficult style of beer to master.

At The Driftwood, Mike and Brewery Assistant Tim have a Pilot Brew Kit at their disposal; the 70 litre capacity set-up allows them to experiment and push the boundaries with beers like Hygge. 

Mike explained: “With its marshmallow silkiness and Cognac kick, Hygge was designed to be a luxury version of an Imperial Stout and, like all good strong beers, the flavour benefits from the higher ABV.”

Hygge Cognac & Marshmallow Imperial Stout

Louise Treseder, Brewery Owner and Landlady of The Driftwood Spars, said: “Here at the pub we’re recommending sharing a bottle and sipping it like a wine or port. Our guests are enjoying it with our West Country cheeseboards, which Cornish Smuggler, Yarg and Brie amongst others.”

Hygge is bottle conditioned and sold in 330ml – just 100 bottles were produced and are now available to buy in the brewery shop, online and in selected independent bottle shops across Cornwall.

Hygge can be purchased online here, or visit The Driftwood Spars to enjoy a bottle in the cosy surroundings of a Cornish pub this festive season.

Cornish brewery pushing the boundaries with 14.4% beer
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