Craft Beers with coffee added to them have been around for some time but lately have increased in popularity. With more Craft Breweries opening and brewers exercising their creativity, coffee is one ingredient that is being utilized more and more. Also, the amount of specialty coffee varieties available with their unique flavor profiles gives brewers quite a few choices to create some amazing specialty beers.
Some dark Craft beers already have some “coffee notes” due to the darker malts used including Black Malt, Dark Chocolate Malt, and Black Wheat Malt. These malts are common in the crafting of dark beers such as Stouts and Porters and give a roasted coffee-like flavor to these beers. Brewers have found that by adding coffee to beer they can achieve some very intense coffee flavors and aromas on top of the roasted malt flavors.
By using different and unique varieties of coffee produced by small local specialty coffee roasters the brewer can choose a multitude of coffee flavors to meld with the flavors in the finished beer. Coffee can be added in different ways to the brewing process but one of the most preferred ways is to “cold brew” the coffee and add it to the beer after fermentation is complete. This process preserves the intense aroma aspects of the coffee and can concentrate its flavors. Other flavors can also be added in addition of the coffee such as cacao nibs or vanilla.
Coffee beers do not have to be dark beers and in fact one of the more popular coffee beers are lighter golden or blonde colored ales brewed with coffee! More breweries will have some type of coffee beer on their beer list so if you get a chance, try one out! Cheers!
Rob McFerren is the owner of Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewing Co.