I love coffee and I love beer, so when the two are combined I get majorly interested. There’s loads of coffee beers on the market and I’m pretty sure I have at least another thousand to taste – wish me luck.
Thanks to my buddies at Coffee Architects I visited the London Coffee Festival in April which got me thinking about coffee beers and how my love affair with them is intensifying by the day. At the festival one of my favourite coffee tinged delights was available to sip – Wild Beer’s Wildebeest, if you haven’t tried it yet get out there and hunt a bottle down pronto. It’s so good that I have one bottle that I’m coveting in my cupboard for a ‘special occasion’.
Coffee being a stimulant and beer being a ‘depressant’ in classic terms should surely cause some trouble, right? When combined though they are an unbeatable combination. So why do they pair so well? Well if you’re a fan of porters and stouts you’ll know that they are already on the malty side of the spectrum anyway – giving hints of coffee aromas and flavours, especially in the delectable finish.
Although classically attributed to these beer styles this has now been turned on its head and brewers are experimenting with a new breed of coffee beers. Craft beer and craft coffee go hand-in-hand and as a major coffee fan, I like my coffee rich, complex and chocolatey – similar characteristics to some of my favourite beers! We can rejoice and cheer while we benefit from some these tasty craft partnerships like Beavertown and Caravan, or Wild Beer Co and Tincan Coffee.
So what other coffee beers should you check out? Try these gems:
- Weird Beard – Out of the Office – I’m in love with this coffee IPA! It’s the right side of coffee without being sickly. I actually think I could drink a couple of these quite happily but at 7.0% I better pace myself. It’s brewed with Hasbean Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Konga Sedie Natural beans and it’s as smooth as hell.
- Marble – Chocolate Marble – This really is sublime. I would normally steer clear of anything that says ‘liquorice’ on the label so prominently but the liquorice is subtle, in fact the cocoa finish makes it super moorish.
- Nest Beer – Espresso Stout – Nest never disappoints me so I had to give this beer a whirl. I finally purchased this from Beer Gonzo, Coventry and I like it a lot. After a few sips I could actually taste currants in the aftermath of sipping it. Very different to other coffee beers I’ve tried, not as thick and there’s is certainly a tinge of fruitiness about it.
- Beavertown/Caravan – Spresso – I first sipped this at the Beaver for my Valentine event and if I see any cans of it around again I’ll be stuffing them in my bag pronto. This beer gave me a major hit, like a big coffee clenched fist in fact. If you like your coffee flavours big then this is the beer for you.
Have you tried Buxton’s new Guatamalen Coffee Extra Porter? Heaps and heaps of coffee with a sweet dark fruit edge. Up there with the best coffee beers around.
Another absolute belter that springs to mind is Founders Breakfast Stout, though not as easy to get hold of perhaps.