A NORTH Yorkshire brewery has teamed up with a cocoa producer 4,000 miles away to produce a new flavoured beer.

Brass Castle Brewery in Malton has launched Trinitario, a five per cent ABV beer in the style of a chocolate stout, after collaborating with the Trinidad & Tobago Fine Cocoa Company in the Caribbean.

While many UK chocolate beers are flavoured with lactose, vanilla, and chocolate essences, Trinitario’s flavour will come entirely from the cocoa, with the nibs steeped during fermentation and conditioning.

Brass Castle has added the cocoa bean shells - which have a strong cocoa character but are usually discarded for chocolate-making- into the mash.

The Trinitario cocoa variety originated in Trinidad around 1678 before spreading to other chocolate-growing states around the globe. It is still used for its floral, fruity characteristics in chocolates today.

Brewery owner Phil Saltonstall met Ashley Parasram, of Trinidad & Tobago Fine Cocoa, through his wife, Harriet Cross, who is UK High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago, and hopes the link will benefit both companies.

During Harriet's previous role, as High Commissioner to New England, Brass Castle forged links with American breweries, leading to collaborations and new import-export arrangements, introducing new beers to both sides of the Atlantic.

Phil said: “Beer is one of the most popular drinks on the planet, across very many countries, and it brings people together. We call it ‘beerplomacy’ – developing international links and relationships through the common language of beer.

"Doing that over longer distances and bringing together ingredients from shore to shore makes for interesting and fun collaborations. We’re able to use our brewing expertise to get something unique and special out of these wonderful ingredients.

“In many ways, beer and chocolate is an obvious pairing. Like beer, cocoa beans go through a fermentation process to prepare them for conversion into chocolate.

"As brewers, we can combine various malt types to develop a very basic chocolate character in beer already - so the flavours really are complementary.

"Many breweries make chocolate beers, but there is something special about Trinitario cocoa and we wanted to use it to make a really special beer.

“Besides light lagers, sweet stouts are staple Caribbean beer fare. In Trinitario, we have made a beer that is recognisably Caribbean in its sweetness, using fine local ingredients.

"Trinidad and Tobago has always been associated with very high-grade chocolate. The country’s output of cocoa has reduced as the economy changed, but Ashley is working to rebuild some of that production and protect the cocoa’s international reputation.

“We know that Malton produces some of the best beer in the UK, and Ashley is producing some of the finest cocoa in the Caribbean, so this is a really exciting partnership.”

Brass Castle will sell the beer in 440ml cans through its usual UK markets. It intends to ship some to Trinidad and hopefully recreate the beer there in partnership with a local brewery.