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River North Brewery | Nightmare Fuel

Nightmare Fuel
Susan Engebretson

With the weather in Denver finally beginning to think about becoming cold, I wanted to take the time to review one of my favorite local beers to share with friends and family in front of the fire. I remember being introduced to this beer during a weekly Friday-morning meeting. I was listening to a brewery talk about a new specialty release, and, since we were not allowed to talk during presentations, a new message appeared on my computer screen from the coworker sitting next to me. It read, “that is one of the few beer names that I am upset that I did not come up with first.” The brewery was River North, and the beer was Nightmare Fuel.

River North brews Nightmare Fuel with over three pounds of coffee per barrel and it clocks in at 12% ABV. This American-style Imperial Coffee Stout definitely fuels the drinker, and if you detest even the smell of coffee, then this beer will fuel your nightmares for weeks to come. Nightmare Fuel pours as black as a winter’s nights with a thin tan head. The aroma comes from highly roasted malts and locally roasted coffee beans from Logan House Coffee Company, located in the Stanley Marketplace.

River North uses Logan’s darkest roast, called “Powder Day,” in Nightmare Fuel. The brewers do not use a toddy when making this beer. Instead, they age the beer on the actual beans, much like dry-hopping in IPAs. The result is an intense coffee aroma and flavor present evenly throughout the beer.

ABV: 12.0%

Drink Nightmare fuel right out of the fridge and it is like drinking cold press coffee. Strong and roasty – but not burnt – flavors dominate, with a healthy dose of coffee and alcohol. Allow the beer to warm up a bit and the coffee and alcohol flavors are balanced by emerging chocolate and toffee flavors. The finish is dry with some lingering alcohol warmth and coffee bitterness.

If after reading this you thought this beer could not get any better, well then River North read your mind and started aging Nightmare Fuel for an entire year in whiskey barrels, but that beer deserves its own showcase.

Nightmare Fuel pairs well with early morning Friday sales meetings, long Imperial Stout festivals and warming up by the fire after a spirited snowball fight with loved ones.

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