NORTH Yorkshire and Trinidad & Tobago may have little in common geographically, but thanks to an innovative Malton brewery they are now linked by beer.

Brass Castle Brewery in Malton has teamed up with a Caribbean cocoa producer more than 4,000 miles away, to produce the unique chocolate beer.

The brewery has collaborated with the Trinidad & Tobago Fine Cocoa Company to launch the Trinitario brew, using some of the finest cocoa in the world.

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

Brass Castle is also using the cocoa bean ‘shells’ or husks, by adding them into the mash.

Cocoa shells are usually discarded for chocolate-making but also have a strong cocoa character.

The Trinitario cocoa variety originated in Trinidad around 1678 before spreading to other chocolate-growing states globally.

It is used for its floral, fruity characteristics in the finest chocolates available today.

Phil Saltonstall, owner of Brass Castle, developed the connection with Ashley Parasram, of Trinidad & Tobago Fine Cocoa, and hopes both companies and consumers in both countries will benefit.

He 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."

The unique working relationship came about after Mr Saltonstall and Mr Parasram met through Mr Saltonstall’s wife, Harriet Cross, who is UK High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago.

During her previous role, as High Commissioner to New England, Brass Castle forged strong links with American breweries, introducing new beers to drinkers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Mr Parasram said: “Although our Trinitario cocoa has been used by some of the best chefs in the world for chocolate desserts, the Brass Castle Brewery chocolate stout will add a new chapter to our national cocoa story."

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.