With all the controversy surrounding caffeine in beer lately, i was kind of happy to drink a coffee beer in the name of the brewers that have been doing this responsibly for years. This one from Troeg’s brewing company is a bit different though. The label says that, after boil but before fermentation, this brew is run through hops and coffee beans, similar to what Dogfish Head does to some of their beers after they are finished. But this may have a good logic to it – since putting coffee beans in the boil would probably result in a very bitter brew – a cooler wort through coffee eliminates the bitterness. I think that the hop infusion at this point is different also, and I’d like to see more brewers experiment with that.
Check out the label on this one. I thought it was just a cool design of a skull until I looked closer. It’s actually made up of coffee pots and pints of beer. Really cool design – gotta give the graphic designers kudos on the creativity of that one.
It pours black and opaque, like one would expect from a coffee infused brew, but smells like a cold cup of coffee, maybe a little hint of chocolate in there, but not very rich. The taste is very smooth. It has a nice coffee tastes – not a lot of roastiness or bitterness, just the slightly spicy coffee notes. It’s clean – it doesn’t have that dirty coffee aftertaste, and I like that a lot. I think this is well balanced, but it isn’t very thick. It’s like a brown ale with some coffee infused. As for the hops, I’m having trouble picking them out – so I wonder if the infusion process for those was not as effective as it was for the coffee beans. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, but I’m just not getting it.
Overall this is a very solid coffee beer, but if you’re expecting deep chocolate and roasty notes, they’re not really there. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t a great brew – I’d snatch this again if I found it. A nice one from Troeg’s.