#coffee – PorchDrinking.com
Probably one of the smallest venues for a beer festival out there, the intimacy of Thalia Hall creates part of the charm of Uppers and Downers, one of the top festivals showcasing the versatility of coffee. Moving to a Sunday for the first time since the inaugural event, the day change didn’t impact the crowd size as once again beer and coffee lovers alike packed the Pilsen music venue for two sessions of coffee beers, cocktails, and more.
It’s not a shock that I’m a fan of BottleHouse Brewery & Meadery. I’ve shared this love before when I wrote about one of their award-winning ales in 2018. Since it’s Stout Month, I felt it appropriate to share another stellar example from the Cleveland area and one of my personal favorites: Rising Star Stout.
Barrel-aged stouts dominate the Fall and Winter release calendars of many breweries as beer drinkers pine for a hearty, boozy beer that they can settle down with when the temperature drops. One of the familiar additions to these barrel-aged beers is coffee. It can add body, big flavors and huge aromatics that round out the barrel qualities and mellow the ABV burn. While I’m a huge fan of coffee in my boozy stouts, I get equally excited by breweries that look to collaborate with their community coffee purveyor or lighter offerings like lagers, cream ales, and simple stouts. Here are six recent coffee beer releases that fit that billing.
What started out as a beer festival for coffee beers has evolved into a full-blown celebration of coffee and all the unique ways it can be used in a wide variety of liquids.
After yet another successful event last year, Good Beer Hunting’s Uppers and Downers returns to Thalia Hall on February 23 with two sessions bringing together some of the most iconic coffee roasters, breweries, and distilleries under one roof.
As they did last year, Revolution Brewing is once again staggering the release of their Deep Wood barrel-aged series. The first three beers got released last week at its now routine release party, which included cans to-go and a draft list full of rare and stand out beers you won’t find packaged.
This summer my goal was to read a light and easy book that was set in a brewery. Surely someone had written a cozy murder that starts with a body in a barrel? Instead I was waylaid by the image at the top of this entry. I immediately let our Slack channel know that I was going to be all over this book. I love a good Lifetime movie, and Enemies on Tap (1st of the Sweet Salvation Trilogy), promised that same magic.
Solemn Oath Brewery represented Chicago at the very first Uppers and Downers in Pasadena, California in 2015. Since then, the festival has been held in Chicago and on March 30, the premier coffee beer festival put on by Good Beer Hunting returns to Thalia Hall.
Like many of Cleveland’s newer craft beer bastions, Platform Beer Co. is attuned to the desires of beer connoisseurs and consumers. They have tackled many popular varieties from New England IPAs to saisons and goses. Platform is willing to experiment and re-evaluate their styles, releasing many offerings throughout Ohio, sometimes for a limited time (like their Small Batch IPA series, for example). Whenever I enter a local supermarket, I’m amazed by how prolific they have become. Still, some of their tried-and-true mainstays are what keep me coming back. One of Platform Beer Co.’s seasonals, High Brow Barista, is a particular favorite of mine.
Bootlegger’s Brewery sold their first keg of beer in 2008. It was originally located in Fullerton, California in a small industrial building in an area that was a little rough around the edges. The brewery felt closer to a neighbor’s garage than it did a commercial brewery. Since then, they upsized the brewhouse from a 7 to a 30 barrel system. They moved the main brewing operations to a larger industrial area while staying in Fullerton. They also open their third tasting room location in Costa Mesa to go along with the Fullerton and Redlands locations.
Last Christmas, my extended relatives decided to gift me a few deliveries of The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club. Opening these mail packages felt like a relic of a different era when getting craft beer required more effort and planning. It can be a fun gift to give to the beer fan in your life when they’ve had everything at the supermarket. I’ve received beers from breweries in New York, Pennsylvania, and Iowa that I never heard about before, but the best beer to come from these shipments was Mt. Carmel Brewing Company’s Coffee Brown.
Back in 1996 when Two Brothers Brewing opened there were just a handful of breweries operating in the Chicagoland area and three closed within two months of Jason and Jim Ebel starting the brewery.
For over two decades, Two Brothers Brewing Company has been making solid beer and is a mainstay in the Chicago beer scene. Just recently, they added a new year-round beer to their rotation as well as two seasonal/limited releases.
Over the past three to four months Chicago has seen a plethora of great coffee stouts released from local breweries. Off Color Brewing’s Coffee Dino S’mores made with Dark Matter coffee continues the boom we’ve seen of java-forward beer.
Ever since a 6th grade math teacher corrected the spelling of my name, I’ve had an itch to visit Denmark. Even though we all know the rhyme “I before E, except after C”, the majority of folks named Niel in the States spell it backwards – Neil. But not me, regardless of what Mrs. Something-or-other seemed to think. I later learned that my family has roots reaching back to at least the early 1800s in the Danish countryside, the origin of this funny spelling. Which made me wonder, “Is there a land full of Niel’s that spell their name the right way?” Fast forward 20ish years and I now live within an hour’s flight of the homeland. And though I didn’t find anyone sharing my first name, I did find lots of good beer.
Cover photo courtesy Danele Bova @Daneleheartshops
Tomorrow, Burial Beer Co. (Asheville, NC) will release Seasoned Skillet Donut Stout for the second consecutive year and A Paranormal Vibe Double IPA (DIPA) – the latest addition to their DIPA Earth Series. This comes as Asheville Beer Week announces last call for the week’s celebratory and beer-centric events.
ABV: 4.6% | IBU: 41
If you’ve had a fever for a drinkable coffee stout in the summertime, Pro Re Nata Beans Deep will cure what ails ya. It’s a soothing beer at a bucolic brewery.
Many years ago I was fortunate to participate in a group study exchange to Italy, where five Americans sent overseas for a month to see how our Italian counterparts live. Each of us were housed separately, with families, to allow for real immersion into the culture. On the whole, we were stuffed with homemade pasta, preservative-free (read: hangover-free) wine and an incredible amount of warmth and big smiles. While I did not indulge in any brews from Birra Amarcord, the bottle of Mora I recently consumed brought me back in a flash thanks to it being an Imperial COFFEE Porter.
Cover Courtesy Funky Buddha Brewing
ABV: 10 | IBU: 40
It’s always a joy for me when a beer not only has a really good name, but the name is also perfect for the beer when describing it. Funky Buddha Brewery‘s I’m So Excited, I’m So Scared hits the nail on the jittery head with this imperial coffee stout; once I took a whiff of it I got excited, and it was so delicious upon tasting it I was a little scared!
ABV: 5% | IBU: 22