Why should mimosas and Bloody Marys get all the day-drinking fun? More local brewers and roasters are teaming up to make coffee-spiked stouts and brown ales, and we can’t get enough. Here are a few of our favorites:
1. Opera Cream Stout, Blank Slate Brewing Company
No, they didn’t use actual Bonbonerie Opera Cream Torte to brew it (though we’d definitely try it if they did). Instead, Blank Slate infused this stout with Bonbonerie Opera Cream-flavored coffee, brewed by Seven Hills Coffee. What resulted was a beer as velvety smooth as the cream in the actual torte. It’s sweet enough for us sugar fiends but not overly saccharine or syrupy. And toasty, chocolatey coffee flavors balance it out. The first batch was gone in two days, but if you can’t wait a few more weeks for a taste of the next batch, head to The Growler House on Feb 6 for Flight Night, where they’ll have $2 off glass pours of the stout, as well as other Blank Slate beers. Draft only.
2. Café Ink Imperial Stout, Rhinegeist
This limited release from Rhinegeist is a high gravity stout (10 percent ABV) that pours as deeply dark a color as the name suggests. The flavors are equally as dark: tons of big bitter dark chocolate flavors and dark fruit, more on the nose than the palate. It’s got noticeable hop character, so even though it’s sweet, it dries up on the finish. This is one you’ll want to sip (it gets better as it warms), share, or pair with something good and rich (Holtman’s glazed yeast donut, we’re looking at you). Available on draft, and in 22 oz. bottles.
3. Coffee Please Stout, Fifty West Brewing Company
Fifty West adds cold brew coffee from Coffee Please in Madeira to this stout, which calls to mind a boozy chocolate milkshake amped up with a trace of coffee. If it’s available on “nitro,” get it. Typically, draft beers are forced from the keg to the tap with pressurized carbon dioxide. When a beer is served on nitro, a mix of nitrogen and carbon dioxide push it from the keg to the tap, resulting in a uber creamy texture, thick head. And it’s that gush of nitro that takes this coffee stout to the next level. Draft only.
4. Coffee Brown, Mt. Carmel Brewing Company
At 6 percent ABV, Mt. Carmel’s take on coffee ale is mellow enough to actually drink for breakfast, if you were so inclined. This one’s made with Deeper Roots’s flagship Guatemalan coffee, La Armonia Hermosa, which the Mt. Healthy crew describes as having notes of peach, almond, and dark chocolate. In the beer, this translates to an aroma as awakening as the scent of freshly ground coffee being brewed, and a balanced, roasty body. A hint of maple makes this perfect for pancakes or waffles with plenty of syrup.
Better yet, bring 2 cups of the beer and 1 cup sugar to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes (watch out for boil overs) or until it thickens to a syrup, then drizzle over said pancakes or waffles. We won’t judge you if you wash it all down with more beer, either. Available on draft, and in six packs.
In the Tanks: Coffee Chickow!, Listermann Brewing Company
It’s not available just yet, but Jason Brewer of Listermann says they’ll be tapping a coffee version of their Chickow! hazelnut double brown ale in the next two weeks. If head brewer Patrick Gilroy’s former gig as head coffee roaster at Coffee Emporium is any indication, this beer should be dang fine.