Urban Island Urban Graffiti (440ml can, 6.0% ABV, vegan)
Well, it’s taken a while to get round to Urban Island, one of Portsmouth’s new-ish breweries, which served up their first beer back in 2014. You can visit their taproom, a few minutes from Hilsea station, on Fridays and Saturdays. You can drink in, or take away growlers, cartons or cans.
While most of their brews are firmly in the craft beer category (US style hoppy pale ales) Urban Graffiti is a bit different.
The can might be a shocking pink, but the contents are as black as pitch, oozing out of the container and forming a thick, tan foam consisting of tiny bubbles, a bit like a certain famous drink of a similar hue from across the Irish Sea.
The aroma is intense and screams roasted malt at you, as if the colour hadn’t been a big enough clue.
Urban Island describe this as a ‘Black IPA / Stout’. To my taste buds, though, it’s very firmly in the stout camp. But what a stout! Dark chocolate and coffee, a generous wallop of alcohol, all delivered in a thick, creamy, bubbly payload. There might be a hint of piney hops in there, but the malt is the star of the show. The finish is bitter and lip-smacking.
On this evidence, it’s no surprise that Urban Island have been the recipient of many recent regional Brewery of the Year awards.
Written by Richard Salsbury