In the world of craft beer drinking, there are as many options as there are beer-loving imaginations. But sometimes, what the palate wants is not always what the brain wants. Sometimes, instead of a pint, your brain wants you to think you’re having something else: like coffee. The flavor of coffee, after all, shakes your mind awake like a Pavlov dog.
In other words, the internal struggle basically goes like this:
Palate: Mmmm, beer. It’s been a long day, let’s just have beer!
Brain: No! We need coffee! We need to be awake and vigilant!
Palate: Yeah, um, no. Beer time!
Complete person: Ah, I’ve got it! Coffee-flavored beer!
Here are some suggestions on choosing great coffee beers…seven, to be specific. And remember, when sipping these beers in particular, it’s pinkies out!
Stone Brewing Co. Master Of Disguise
From the company that made the term “Arrogant Bastard” famous, this unique brew is a trick unto itself. It resembles an ale (lighter, more buoyant) but drinks like a stout (thick and perfect for winter). HOW DO THEY DO IT? (Other Stone coffee brews: Mint Coffee Milk Stout, Americano Stout, Mocha IPA).
Santa Fe Brewing Company Imperial Java Stout
Whenever you see the word “imperial” you can be sure of two things: the beer is strong and it’s going to taste really good. Breweries don’t mess with Imperials unless they know what they’re doing. And in the case of this coffee-flavored beer, that truism holds.
Fort George Brewery Java The Hop
This beer could taste like straight up coffee grounds, but would read a 10 out of 10 on the tongue anyway because of the charming Star Wars reference. But lucky for Fort George – a brewery that likes to experiment and has made waves for its yearly “three-way” IPA (partnering with two other breweries) – this Java-inspired brew is otherworldly. (Fort George makes another, way less Star Wars-y coffee brew called Coffee Girl)
Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti
Picture a Yeti moving nonchalantly across a snowy dune. It’s almost like the beer crawling past your lips – your palate enjoying the sparkle of the carbonation and the smoothness of the crema-like coffee flavor. That’s what this beer is like.
Funky Buddha Maple Bacon Coffee Porter
Speaking of the experimental, this one is less coffee-forward than others on the list, but damn if we aren’t suckers for working in our two cabin brunch favorite flavors: bacon and maple syrup. Kudos!
Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout
You know you’re refined when you equate your beer to Italy’s favorite cup of espresso. Light, feathery, fluffy. These are the memorable adjectives one uses when discussing this Lagunitas brew. (High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout is another Lagunitas beer worth tasting).
Elysian Brewing Company’s Split Shot Espresso Milk Stout
And finally, the grand-pappy of them all. An espresso milk stout – malty and rich, creamy and velvety. This is one of the few coffee beers you can have more than two of. What are we saying! Buy a six-pack! Have one for breakfast! six-pack! Have one for breakfast! (Other Elysian coffee brews include: Punkuccino Coffee Pumpkin Ale, The Fix)
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