Despite this contrast in purpose, both are often shared socially, spurring thought-provoking conversations and good times. My wife says the best days are when you go right from coffee to beer, and as someone who has consumed more than his share of both, I cannot disagree.
So… why not combine the two? Yes, coffee beers are hot right now, so we took on the onerous task of testing several varieties. Grab one from the list below and feel free to drink yours out of a mug… we won’t judge.
Terrapin Beer Company Single Origin Coffee Stout (5.7% ABV)
Each brew in this mixed four-pack features the same base stout, made with flaked barley and oats for a smooth texture. Then different single origin coffees from around the world (Ethiopia, Sumatra, Guatemala and Hawaii) is added, providing unique coffee flavors and aromas. Set up a cupping (that’s coffee talk) and try them all.
Hopworks Urban Brewery Survival Stout (5.8% ABV)
HUB makes a full line up of organic beers and the Survival Stout does not disappoint. It’s made with a combination of ancient grains including barley, wheat, oats, amaranth, quinoa, spelt and kamut and then finished with cold-pressed Stumptown Organic Holler Mountain coffee. This combination creates a subtle balance of flavors including chocolate up front and a coffee finish. The best part: These grains are necessary for human survival and the beer is organic. In other words, it’s good for you!
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery Bourbon Barrel Sidamo (10.3% ABV)
Part of Hardywood’s exclusive barrel series, this limited production imperial stout takes the original sidamo to a whole new level. First it’s aged in bourbon barrels for 12 weeks. Then it’s conditioned with sidamo coffee from local Lamplighter Roasting Company. This combo gives the beer a deep dark color. It also provides hints of chocolate and blueberry flavor from the coffee and a subtle whiskey taste you get from the angel’s share in the aging process.
Sixpoint Brewing Company C.R.E.A.M (7.2% ABV)
Craft Rules Everything Around Me is unlike many of the other beers on this list in that it is not a stout or porter but a blonde ale. The beer itself is brewed first with a variety of malts and Columbus hops. Then the coffee, Guatemalan Finca El Injerto from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, is added in the conditioning tank, a similar process to cold brewing. This approach ultimately enhances the flavor profile. And by that we mean “makes it f-ing fantastic.”
Stone Brewing Coffee Milk Stout (5% ABV)
Originally this beer was a limited edition English-style milk stout, then its Escondido, California-based brewers added beans from Ryan Brothers coffee, from nearby San Diego. The blend created a tremendous balance between coffee and beer, which was further enhanced by a bit of sugar, giving this wonderful beer its creamy smooth texture.
Samuel Adams Nitro Coffee Stout (5.8% ABV)
Released as part of Sam’s Nitro Beer Project, this coffee beer does not disappoint. Each can is packaged with nitrogen, which when poured has smaller bubbles and produces a much creamier taste. Flavor is further enhanced by the inclusion of Sumatran Mandheling and Indian Monsoon Malabar coffee, which gives the beer its malty character, jet-black color and hints of chocolate and dark fruit flavors.
Good People Brewing Coffee Oatmeal Stout (5.7% ABV)
C.O.S. is one very approachable beverage. Birmingham-based Good People cold brew Homewood, Alabama’s Octane Coffee overnight and then add it super fresh to the tank. This process gives their oatmeal stout a tremendous coffee taste up front with a slightly hoppy finish. The best part beyond its tasty flavor is the lower alcohol content, allowing you to have a few more cans without worrying about where you’ll actually be drinking your coffee the next morning.
Dark City Brewing Company Populous (7.1% ABV)
If you are looking for a truly coffee-forward beer, Dark City’s Populous will not disappoint. This porter is cold brewed with top secret coffee (seriously, they wouldn’t tell me) from their neighbors Asbury Park Roasters. This process makes for a robust coffee flavor, helping its Jersey-based brewer win Best in Show beer vendor honors at the recent Asbury Park Beer Festival. Not bad for a brewery that just opened in January.
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery Coffee Obsession (11.5% ABV)
Coffee Obsession is a newly released, very limited edition chocolate stout that you must get your hands on. The amazing coffee flavor comes from the combination of dark roasted malts from all over the world, blended with dark roasted coffee from nearby Richmond, Virginia. It’s a very full-bodied beer that packs a major coffee punch.
Local Option Mourning Wood Hybrid Amber Ale (7.3% ABV)
Yes, the name of this beer is really Mourning Wood and although the label would suggest exactly what you are thinking, this moniker is actually a play on the time you drink coffee and the aging process. Made with Dark Matter’s El Salvador San Jose pulp-natural coffee and then aged in fresh American oak to balance the astringency of the coffee, this amber ale is well-balanced and worth a try.
Tyranena Brewing Company The Devil Made Me Do It (7.5% ABV)
Originally, a limited-edition brew, The Devil Made Me Do It proved so popular that it became a seasonal release. The oatmeal gives this brew it’s creaminess and the addition of Sumatra and Costa Rican coffee beans from local coffee roasters Berres Brothers make this porter “devilishly delicious.”
Editor’s note: The last few beers on this list are not pictured, in case you’ve had a couple and are wondering wtf happened.