Monday, February 27th, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 2.27.17: A Flight of Dark Coffee

Ron Swarner


Coffee and beer. Two of the most popular vices in the world. Two of the most ancient beverages known to mankind. Though the pair aren’t commonly served together, something magical happens when coffee and beer become one. Light and dark merge. Morning and night lose all distinction. La La Land wins Best Picture, but, it didn’t. Suddenly, it’s totally cool to down a dark craft coffee beer at 11 a.m. on a workday, which is exactly what Peaks and Pints is doing today with Craft Beer Crosscut 2.27.17: A Flight of Black Coffee.

Eel-River-Single-Origin-Mocha-Stout-TacomaEel River Single Origin Mocha Stout

6% ABV, 20 IBU

Based in the small town of Scotia in Humboldt County in northern California, Eel River Brewing specializes in craft brew and was the first certified organic brewery in the country. The brewery reached out to its neighbors resulting in the Single Origin Mocha Stout — produced by Eel River Brewing and packed with Humboldt Bay Coffee Company’s single origin Peruvian roast and Dick Taylor Chocolate’s single origin Madagascar cacao. The result is a rich, creamy milk stout.

Paradise-Creek-MooJoe-Coffee-Milk-Stout-TacomaParadise Creek MooJoe Coffee Milk Stout

5% ABV, 30 IBU

The milk stout, also known as an English sweet stout, emphasizes a malty sweetness with hints of chocolate and caramel. Some versions, like Paradise Creek Brewing’s MooJoe, add lactose for more body and softness. The Pullman, Washington brewery takes its beer one step further by cold conditioning it with fresh ground coffee from Bucer’s Coffee House across the border in Moscow, Idaho. The result is a smooth, light stout with coffee and chocolate notes and slightly bitter on the end.

Lagunitas-High-West-ified-Imperial-Coffee-Stout-TacomaLagunitas High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout

12.2% ABV, 39 IBU

Lagunitas brewed High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout with beans from Petaluma Coffee and Tea Company, then stashed it in High West whiskey barrels for two to 10 months. It’s 100 percent barrel-aged, which means they didn’t blend the barrel-aged beer with non-barrel-aged beer (something a lot of breweries do to even out the flavors). It smells the way this style of beer should: like coffee and whiskey, and the first sip is a wave of velvet followed by a strong coffee bite. The whiskey rears its beautiful head, too, adding a peppery spice and some heat. We pick up some earthiness from the wood, as well.

Founders-Breakfast-Stout-TacomaFounders Breakfast Stout

8.3% ABV, 60 IBU

Founders awoke early and brew this stout with flaked oats, chocolate, and two kinds of coffee beans. This imperial stout pours jet-black with a thick, tan head that strongly resembles latte foam. In fact, coffee really shines through in this beer, giving off a strong aroma of fresh roasted beans, caramel and roasted malt. If you like your coffee black and your beer before noon, this is the perfect way to start the day.

Ballast-Point-Coconut-Victory-At-Sea-TacomaBallast Point Coconut Victory At Sea

10% ABV, 60 IBU

Based out of San Diego, Ballast Point started when a few guys with a love for good beer and good fishing decided to open up shop and sell their own brews. Victory at Sea looks like breakfast — an abundantly black liquid fills the glass while a powerful-looking head the color of brown sugar and the consistency of pancake batter slowly retreats to a thin but stubborn blanket. Bitter medium-roast coffee flavors play at the sides of the tongue while a sweet coconut character build at the front. Toast and molasses make appearances as well, and alcohol heat rolls down the throat, noticeable but not overpowering. As the drink warms, coconut becomes more pronounced, lending a sweet finish to counteract the bitterness of the coffee beans.