Mid-week tipple: a chocolate stout and organic wine

Each week John Wilson picks and beer and a wine for you to try right now

World’s End Chocolate Vanilla Imperial Stout, Blacks of Kinsale


Sam and Maud Black have been brewing since 2013, making them old hands as far as Irish craft brewing is concerned. We have been here before; Imperial Stout is not a session beer unless you want a very heavy session. It is typically 8-12% in volume with fairly full-on flavours of roasted malt, dark chocolate and sometimes loads of hops too.

Last December saw the first release of World’s End, but it will feature every year from now on. Sam Black recommends keeping a bottle of the 2015 for a year to try against the 2016. That may not be easy, as stocks have depleted rapidly; a few shops still have it though.


“Every craft brewer should have a good imperial stout”, says Black. “We made the Model T before, and this time we took it a step further”. World’s End is made using Fairtrade cacao husks and Madagascar vanilla pods. “It is very unusual to get the cacao husks; normally it is chocolate nibs or plain chocolate. We got ours from bean to bar producer Clonakilty Chocolate. It has only ever been done once before as far as I can see, but we gave it a go and it worked very well. To be honest it was a shot in the dark as to whether it would give any flavour, but it came out great. The vanilla rounds it out and sweetens the flavour slightly giving the perception of chocolate”

World’s End is full bodied and powerful with masses of roasted coffee and dark chocolate flavour. The vanilla does stop it getting too severe; think 85% dark chocolate. This is great beer, one to sip and savour slowly on a cold evening.

Merinas Tempranillo 2014, Uclés, Organic

I have been a fan of Bodegas Fontana, producer of this wine, since I visited the winery a few years back. Having spent several days traipsing around La Mancha tasting a lot of fairly average wines, theirs shone out like a beacon. Made from organically grown grapes, they were vibrant fresh and fruity. Even the white wines didn’t have any of the confected flavours that dominated so many of the other wines. The reds were fresh and full of succulent fruit. This one has juicy rounded dark cherries and soft tannins; great easy-drinking everyday wine. At €12 a bottle it is amazing value; the white version is pretty good too.

Available from On the Grapevine, Dalkey; Drink Store, Manor Street; Red Island, Skerries; Nectar, Sandyford; Green Man, Terenure.