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These are a few of my favorite things

I remember years ago when I was a slightly younger, and dumber version of the guy I am today I was at a show and saw a bottle that intrigued me. Sitting back on the shelf was a bottle of Red Hook Double Black Stout, a beer made with coffee. Back then I was barely into my infancy of coffee snobbery, and still just dabbling in beer snobbery as well. There was something about that bottle that piqued my interest, it could have been the idea that the future me would greatly appreciate the melding to two of my passions, but in reality it was probably the fact that it was available in a 22oz bomber.

Lets be honest here, it was a better bargain.

I remember it being smooth and malty, with a fairly intense coffee overtone. It was almost bitter, but in every other aspect it seemed to be a good example of what an Imperial stout should be. Red Hook were pioneers in their field, or at the very least, ahead of their time. The Double Black Stout became my go to beer at a time when everyone else was drinking Grain Belt Premiums.

Fast forward to now-ish. I am much more of a coffee snob, and every bit as much of a beer snob. Don't get me wrong; when the time is right, I have no problem swilling down a couple of PBRs or Hamms with the lads, but when I actually pay money for beer, it's the good stuff. I still have a penchant for dark beers, and it just so happens that there are quite a number of coffee beers on the market. Oftentimes these beers are even served in coffee cups, either for kitsch value or because they are a high ABV.

Our own Surly Brewing has their Coffee Bender, a brown ale brewed with Guatemalan beans. This was probably the second coffee beer that I encountered.

Founders Brewing Company out of Grand Rapids, Michigan also has a wonderful coffee beer, their Breakfast Stout brewed with Kona and Sumatra.

Last summer I stumbled upon the Luna Coffee Stout from Hinterlands out of Green Bay, Wisconsin. The coffee flavor was dominant, but I was unable to determine what varietal was used.

It seems that both Wisconsin and Michigan are where it's at as far as coffee beer is concerned; Central Waters out of Amherst with their Peruvian Morning Brand Stout and Brewhouse Coffee Stout; New Glarus has a Coffee Stout seasonal beer that warrants a trip across the border; Goose Island has a Bourbon County Coffee Stout aged in bourbon barrels that a number of my friends are clamoring about as well.

All of these great coffee beers had me wishing that I could develop a relationship with a local craft brewer and get something brewed with out beans, and my wish was granted. It seems that one of the new kids on the block struck up a deal with a customer of ours and started brewing up a porter. Dangerous Man Brewing in Northeast Minneapolis got coffee from The Matchbox Coffee Shop right next door. Knowing that the plan at Dangerous Man was an ever changing tap lineup, I made haste in heading over to check out their Matchbox Coffee Porter, brewed with one of our Guatemalan coffees. Medium bodied, malty, smooth and dark, it had notes of chocolate and a subtle creaminess that I was not expecting.



I may have to make a return trip to see if I can score a growler of it this weekend.



Author: Dave Turner

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