It’s probably safe to assume that most craft beer drinkers are also interested in other artisanal foods and beverages. It’s also probably safe to assume that most craft beer drinkers start their day by enjoying a cup of coffee and are entirely too infatuated with the complex aromas and flavors emitted from their mug. The combination of coffee and beer is far too obvious as a marriage of flavors to keep separate for any longer, so the question begs, why not combine the two and enjoy them together?
While coffee is known for its rather intense flavor, it is actually a versatile tool in a brewer’s toolbox. Coffee in beer has typically been associated as a flavor that complements heavy imperial stouts and their dark and roasty characteristics. However, brewers are now experimenting with and using coffee in nearly any beer style from Berliner Wiesse (Greenpoint Enduro) to IPAs (Stone Dayman and Appalachian Mountain Brewery/Fonta Flora Baba Budan) and everything in between. Here are 6 fairly easily accessible coffee flavored beers covering several different styles.
Founders Breakfast Stout – Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids Michigan – 8.3% ABV
A classic beer with an iconic label. The baby on the front on Founders Breakfast Stout bottles took a hiatus in its home state of Michigan this past fall where laws involving having minors on labels prevents his presence. The good news is that the beer inside continues to be one of the most anticipated releases each fall among Founders’ fans. A huge aroma of fresh black coffee is followed by dark chocolate, oatmeal and, of course, coffee.
Terrapin Wake-n-Bake – Terrapin Beer Company, Athens, Georgia – 9.40% ABV
This beer is probably as close to black coffee in the form of beer as beer can be. Wake-n-Bake hits the nose with freshly ground coffee while the taste comes through with bitter dark chocolate and black coffee with a lingering bitterness.
Sixpoint C.R.E.A.M. – Sixpoint Brewery, Brooklyn, New York – 7.2% ABV
Sixpoint C.R.E.A.M tastes a little bit backwards. While it looks like a regular cream ale, the addition of cold brew coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters turns this typical cream ale into something easily mistakable for iced coffee.
Ballast Point Victory At Sea – Ballast Point Brewing Company, San Diego, California – 10.0% ABV
This imperial porter is brewed with both coffee and vanilla beans to provide a sweetness that takes away from the bitter coffee to create a smooth, sweet and easily drinkable coffee-forward beer while the vanilla is also accentuated and present in the flavor to create a balanced porter.
Peche Mortel – Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!, Montreal, Quebec – 9.5% ABV
A list of coffee beers wouldn’t be complete without this Canadian classic. While not always easy to find, it does see wide distribution in the United States and isn’t too hard to come across if you’re looking for it. This beer pours thick and its flavor is dominated by roasted tones of dark chocolate and dark roast coffee. The bitterness is a standout flavor in this beer, helping to hide the 9.5% alcohol content and making this beer easy to enjoy with a plethora of complex flavors.
Surly Coffee Bender – Surly Brewing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota – 5.10% ABV
This brown ale from Minnesota doesn’t have a huge distribution footprint, with Surly only covering Minnesota and Wisconsin with their full portfolio, and Iowa and Illinois with limited distribution. If you’re lucky enough to be included in its distribution, Surly did an impressive job of capturing iced coffee in a beer can with this brown ale that can easily be enjoyed year-round.
A few more to mention:
Toppling Goliath Mornin’ Delight
Hill Farmstead Genealogy
Treehouse DoubleShot and Good Morning