Tap This: Coffee beans are the new addition to some breweries ingredients
Flavors present within beer have changed with the growing craft beer scene. Some flavors once thought to be bizarre and strange are now commonplace within beer; watermelon for example.
Coffee flavors within beer have long been present but have changed within craft beer. Notes of coffee are naturally present from dark roasted malts and have long been a flavor descriptor in many porters and stouts.
One trip to any supermarket and it is quite evident consumers have a vast choice of coffees that go far beyond the kind that is freeze dried in a can. Single origin, unique blends, locally roasted, organic, the descriptions go on and on. There is no shortage of great companies making great coffee that is freshly roasted and shipped to you such as Blue Bottle Coffee or Stumptown.
Even in our local market we have Electric City Roasting. They have grown in leaps and bounds in recent years. Their coffees are now available in large regional stores as well as online and they are roasting their world class coffee in NEPA.
The popularity of craft beer and better coffee has grown together. The reason for this is quite simple: our palates. As craft beer drinkers, our palates adjust to a variety of flavors not present in bland macro beers. This has made us more particular about other drinks and foods, some may call this snobbishness I call it a good problem to have!
This popularity growth of coffee is making its way into our beer. Many brewers have begun using locally roasted and unique coffees in beers with resounding success. Stouts and porters are where many of these experiments began but they have certainly grown far from this starting point.
Terrapin Beer Company released a beer sampler featuring a similar base style of beer — a smooth American stout. The brewery varied each bottle with a different single origin coffee. This is an experiment used a lot with hops in the beer industry, but using coffee instead truly shows the variety in coffee flavors.
There are breweries that showcase coffee in a more unique way and one that only comes from a true love for the bean. Carton Brewing from New Jersey is a brewery that many beer geeks flock to for their world class 077XX double IPA, but the brewery has another equally delicious beer, Regular Coffee.
Regular Coffee is a 12 percent ABV imperial cream ale. The beer is meant to replicate the regular coffee style beloved by New Jersians, coffee with cream and sugar. The result is an easy drinking beer and one that changes everything you think of when it comes to coffee beers, rich creamy flavors with hints of lactose and no dark roast notes present at all. The brewery released variants of this beer and also a coffee IPA in recent months. These beers are not available year round.
There are a slew of other breweries making world class coffee beers including Kane Brewing’s Sunday Brunch, Terrapin’s Wake n Bake, Avery Brewing’s Tweak and Ballast Point’s Victory at Sea.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.