Friday, June 23rd, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 6.23.17: A Flight of Java


Beer-Flights-Logo-no-wordsAnd with the third-wave coffee scene operating in growing parallel with the craft beer movement, it makes sense that breweries across the country unite their craft beer with the bitter, almost dirt-like elements of coffee beans and pulled espresso. Light and dark merge. Morning and night lose all distinction. Suddenly, it’s totally cool to crack a tallboy at 9:30 a.m. on a workday. Brewers incorporate coffee in their brew in several ways: mixing beans into the malt build, infusing during barrel aging or straight up cut the beer with cold press. With so many kinds of coffee and beer and so many ways to commingle them, no two hybrids are created equal. With that in mind, let us sample five coffee beers in our flight Craft Beer Crosscut 6.23.17: A Flight of Java.

Skookum-Java-Uncle-Buckwheat-TacomaSkookum Java Uncle Buckwheat

7.2% ABV, 12 IBU

Skookum Brewery head brewer Hollis Wood and his small team churn out “big bold strong” craft beers in a giant facility with a popular taproom down the street from the Arlington Airport. One said craft beer is their buckwheat brown ale conditioned on coffee, Java Uncle Buckwheat. Brewed with molasses and conditioned on Camano Island Coffee, the flavor is rich and robust, with a lovely coffee character upfront, accentuated nicely by a hint of cocoa and dried out by the buckwheat. It’s wonderfully constructed, with lots of body.

pFriem-Golden-Coffee-Ale-TacomapFriem Golden Coffee Ale

6% ABV, 30 IBU

Hood River’s bustling pFriem Family Brewers sits on the shores of the wind-whipped Columbia River. It’s enjoyable to sip a cup of pFriem Golden Coffee Ale from pFriem’s patio and watch the windsurfers zip around on the nearby river. Yes, indeed, Golden Coffee Ale, one of Josh Pfriem and his crew’s world-class options. Fruity Kenyan coffee and aromatic hops create a rich, citrus and nutty flavored, quaffable treat for both coffee and beer lovers alike.

Rainy-Daze-Sunrise-Coffee-Porter-TacomaRainy Daze Sunrise Coffee Porter

6% ABV, 30 IBU

Looking for the perfect beer for your mug? This coffee porter may be it. Sunrise Coffee Porter is brewed by chill brewmaster Mike Montoney at his Rainy Daze Brewing Co. in Poulsbo, Washington. The pour is on the dark chestnut brown side, and the smell of coffee hits your nose from the start. And the coffee doesn’t finish there — this beer hits your mouth with delicious coffee notes while finishing smooth and sweet. It’s well balanced and drinkable.

Cismontane-Blacks-Dawn-TacomaCismontane Black’s Dawn

8.5% ABV, 50 IBU

Longtime friends Evan Weinberg and Ross Stewart in the beautiful mountainside town of Rancho Santa Margarita, California, founded Cismontane Brewing Co. in 2009. Named after the famous San Diego surfing session Black’s Beach, Cismontane’s Black’s Dawn big roasted malt coffee imperial stout is made with Green Earth-roasted fair-trade beans, brown sugar and oats. Chocolate and licorice hints bolster roasted malts, toast and espresso, while hazelnut adds luscious depth. In the back, roasted malt bitterness takes over, lending a slightly ashy finish to this complex beer.

Great-Divide-Espresso-Oak-Aged-Yeti-TacomaGreat Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti

9.5% ABV, 75 IBU

It’s safe at this point to say it: the yeti exists. Scientists were skeptical for many years, but the evidence is overwhelming. Seasonal migration patterns have different species of yeti lumbering right through the middle of the South Sound, from the Chocolate Oak-Aged Yeti to the cappuccino-hued Espresso Oak-Aged Yeti that arrives at our beer flight today. Great Divide Brewing Co.‘s Espresso Oak-Aged Yeti is infused with Denver’s own Pablo’s espresso, the prominent coffee character marrying harmoniously with the beer’s roasted malt core and additional notes of vanilla bean, Baker’s chocolate, cocoa powder, caramelized sugar, leather and charred oak. It’s wonderfully dense, flavorful and forward now, but after six months of cellaring it now has additional layers of complexity.