Well folks, it’s winter 2018. While many people dread the cold and wet weather, I like to look at the bright side. Local breweries are serving up some delicious seasonals this time of year, which are the perfect companion to cozy up next to the fireplace with. Unless, you have a significant other. Or a dog. Okay, maybe it’s a three-way tie (just don’t tell your significant other or dog that).
Some of my favourite seasonal beers combine two liquid staples in my diet: coffee and beer. If you thought beer and caffeine buzzes were separate experiences, think again. Tons of craft breweries have partnered up with excellent local coffee roasters to brew some unique coffee infused brews that will have you asking yourself, “Can I drink this before noon”? Well, if you can drink a mimosa or beer-mosa with brunch, then why the hell not?!
So, where should you start when it comes to coffee/beer hybrids? Here’s five options that I’ve enjoyed recently:
Faculty Brewing x Milano Coffee Roasters
599 Cold Brew ESB | ABV: 3.3%
Faculty Brewing is known to produce some very creative beers, and their 599 Cold Brew ESB is no different. They teamed up with a local favourite, Milano Coffee Roasters, to create a very sessionable ESB with a ton of flavour. Don’t let that 3.3% ABV fool you! Smooth cold brew coffee dances with a solid hop profile; uniting the best of both worlds. Pair with eggs benny, chicken and waffles, or whatever you’re eating to cure that Sunday hangover.
Spinnakers x Fernwood Coffee Co.
Cold Brew Coffee Blonde | ABV: 4.5% | IBU: 25
This recent release from Spinnakers is part Blonde ale, part Fernwood Coffee Co. cold brew. It’s bright, refreshing, and drinks more like a cold brewed coffee than a beer. Subtle chocolate notes round out it’s flavour profile. I quite enjoyed trying this lighter style of coffee beer. Warning: there is a significant amount of cold brew in this beer, so don’t drink it right before going to bed…
Parallel 49 Brewing x 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters
Parallelogram N2 Coffee Porter | ABV: 6%
My most visited brewery, Parallel 49, and my go-to Vancouver coffee shop, 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters, have brought Parallelogram back after a brief hiatus. You can be damn sure that when I heard Parallelogram was re-released I boogied on down to the brewery to pick up a 4-pack. This beer was brewed with four different malts, Williamette hops, European yeast, flaked barley, and 49th Parallel’s French Roast. The malt and coffee flavours are delicious. Parallel 49 also infused nitrogen into Parallelogram, which adds a silky smooth texture to each sip. Due to the nitrogen infusion, make sure to hold the bottle upside down when pouring. Then, watch the beer’s carbonation cascade upwards. It’s a beautiful sight to behold!
Granville Island Brewing x JJ Bean Coffee Roasters
Small Batch Mocha Porter | ABV: 6.0% | IBU: 25
I’ve been really impressed with Granville Island Brewing’s Small Batch series thus far, so I wasn’t surprised with how much I enjoyed their Mocha Porter. For this brew, GIB used JJ Bean coffee…one of my favourite local roasters! Add in a healthy dose of cocoa nibs and you get a decadent Porter that is the perfect after work treat.
Tofino Brewing Co. x Rhino Coffee House
Dawn Patrol Coffee Porter | ABV: 6.5%
If you like coffee-infused beer, look no further than Tofino Brewing’s yearly release of Dawn Patrol Coffee Porter. The folks at Tofino Brewing used locally roasted beans from their island surf-town friends at Rhino Coffee House. If the caffeine infusion isn’t enough to tickle-your-fancy, this beer is also conditioned on bourbon soaked vanilla beans which add a subtle sweetness and slight alcohol kick; rounding out the flavour profile quite nicely. Dawn Patrol’s label design adds a nice touch, as it mirrors the texture of a burlap sack of coffee beans.
Continuing on the coffee x craft beer vein, I’ll be attending the first annual Hopwired Festival this Saturday (Feb. 24) at the Croatian Cultural Centre. This new event is a mix of local beer and coffee tastings. What more could you want?! Oh wait…it gets better. A number of participating breweries and coffee roasters have partnered to create some unique, caffeinated beers to pour at the festival. Tickets are sold out, so for those of you who managed to grab a ticket, I’ll see you there!
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