Friday, January 5th, 2018

Craft Beer Crosscut 1.5.18: A Flight of Coffee


Peaks-and-Pints-Tacoma-Beer-FlightCoffee Beer. It’s what’s for Friday. We at Peaks and Pints are easy to please; we’ll go for an everyday beer just as often as a big ol’ whale, if not more. But we like our coffee beers like we like our coffee: tasting like coffee. “The coffee wasn’t prominent enough,” Peaks and Pints bartender Joe Rosati sighs. “Where’s the coffee in this? asks Peaks bartender Erin Miller impudently. “Coffee —dismissive shrug,” Peaks bartender Kristen Marlo shrugs dismissively. The dreaded green pepper flavor (easily the most common off-flavor when tasting coffee beers) can wander in and straight up ruin our day. Almost as bad, to us, is when the brewer doesn’t go far enough and the coffee presence is nominal at best. Sometimes barrel aging or other adjuncts intrude on our special moment with coffee. Today, we salute coffee beers in the only way we know how — with a flight of coffee beer we call Craft Beer Crosscut 1.5.18: A Flight of Coffee.

Iron-Horse-Mocha-Death-TacomaIron Horse Mocha Death

7% ABV, 11 IBU

For this seasonal offering, Iron Horse Brewery started with Quilter’s Irish Death, its dark smooth ale that presents a full malt flavor laced with caramel, chocolate, dark fruit, and a touch of sweetness. To this it added fresh, locally roasted espresso beans and pure cocoa. Breathe in the espresso and cinnamon. Taste the creamy, fluffy chocolate, espresso and ice cream with a slight vanilla on the finish.

No-Li-Rise-and-Grind-TacomaNo-Li Brewhouse Rise & Grind 2.0

6.1% ABV, 22 IBU

No-Li Brewhouse has released an updated version of its Rise & Grind coffee milk stout. It’s more cup of coffee with a splash of milk than stout. The award-winning Rise & Grind smells like a bag of freshly roasted coffee and some semi-sweet chocolate chips. The coffee flavor on this beer is full on black coffee. Seriously. Layers of freshly roasted Gemelli coffee gives the beer the flavor of bitter dark roasted coffee, a bite of acidity, and just the slightest touch of chocolate sweetness on the finish — thanks to the grain bill of 2-Row, Extra Special Roast, Dark Chocolate Malt, Black Malt and flaked oats. Potent, strong, flavorful and should be served in a 16-ounc paper cup with a mermaid staring you down.

Fremont-Stone-Squirrel-TacomaFremont Stone Squirrel

5.4% ABV, 25 IBU

Squirrel! We’re buzzing over Fremont Brewing’s coffee porter, Stone Squirrel. In fact, we’re snuggling up to the Stone Squirrel, enjoying the gentle embrace of rich chocolate, coffee and roasted toffee flavors. It’s brewed with locally roasted, cold-brewed Tony’s Café Carmelita coffee, and chocolate and roast malts on top of a base of pale malt and Yakima Valley Columbus hops. It darts by the nose with chocolate and coffee. It scrambles over the tongue with roasted malts, caramel and coffee. Did we mention the coffee?

Evil-Twin-Imperial-Biscotti-Break-TacomaEvil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break

11.5% ABV, 60 IBU

Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø contract brewed at Westbrook Brewing in South Carolina before moving his Evil Twin Brewing to New York City. At Westbook, he brewed his Biscotti Break, a gourmet imperial stout brimming with vanilla, coffee, almond and chocolate notes. This beer starts with a strong scent of dark chocolate and dark fruit. The fruit isn’t present in the taste, but there is plenty of dark cocoa and roasted bitter coffee, all with a rich coating of nuttiness. When you’re using flavors such as chocolate, coffee and almond it can be very easy to have a beer that is too cloying or tastes artificial, but that is not at all the case with this beer.

Elysian-Wide-Eye-Coffee-Barleywine-TacomaElysian Wide-Eye Coffee Barleywine

10.2% ABV, 82 IBU

Brewed with 10 gallons of cold brew coffee concentrate from Olympia Coffee Roasters, Elysian Wide-Eye Coffee Barleywine is brewed with nearly all pale malt, with some crystal and Munich for color, bittered with English Magnum and finished with Northwest Amarillo and Centennial hops. The beer looks typical of a barleywine in that it pours clear-ish with a rich garnet-like color. Aromas are dessert-like with toffee, chocolate, caramel, a mild edge of coffee, and character that is reminiscent of sticky pudding. Flavors are unsurprisingly big and sweet, with a finish of toffee and coffee. The coffee is subtle and well integrated into the barleywine profile. It doesn’t feel like disjointed companionship, and it’s quite enjoyable to experience the interplay of rich sweetness and slightly roasted coffee.