Ten Must-try Cold Coffee Beers for Winter 2017

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January is the season for cold-brewed coffee beers and the NW Coffee Beer Invitational, and so for the 2nd year in a row we have chosen our ten favorite coffee beers available in bottles or cans to enjoy this January. Each of our selections are available in the Pacific Northwest.

Block 15 - Cosmic Cold Brew, Cafe Borgia-2

Block 15 Brewing: Cosmic Cold Brew Café Borgia

The 2nd of three versions of cold pressed coffee stout from Corvallis, Oregon’s Block 15 Brewing. The Cafe Borgia edition is a stand out among other coffee stouts, as it uses both citrus and cocoa to complement the Ethiopian coffee beans from Bespoken Coffee Roasters. Like most coffee beers these days, Block 15 does a full 24-hour cold extraction on freshly roasted beans with sweet orange peel in the boil and cocoa extract to the tank. The Cosmic Cold Brew Café Borgia edition is 7% ABV and available now in 500ml bottles with a 3rd and final version being released in March.

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Breakside Brewery: Fourth Wave

Rather than highlight coffee through the already roasty flavors of a stout or porter, Breakside Brewery has counterintuitively used a Vienna-style lager for a base beer. The idea was to use a light, malt-forward base beer that would become a more interesting base beer off which to build a chocolatey, fruity, and nutty coffee onto. That beer is Breakside Vienna Coffee Beer, which is draft only, Fourth Wave is its bourbon barrel-aged big brother. Using a a single origin Stumptown Coffee, the beer spent 10 months in Heaven Hills barrels and creates a sweet, spiced, nutty, toasty and oaky treat that’s not too heavy or intense. 9.6% ABV and 40 IBUs, Fourth Wave is available in limited edition 22oz bottles.

Elysian Split Shot

Elysian Brewing: Split Shot Espresso Stout

Elysian Brewing created an Split Shot espresso stout as the official beer of the 2012 Seattle Beer Week. It was so popular that it’s become a popular annual seasonal. Teaming with Portland’s Stumptown Coffee, Split Shot is smooth and with a high kilned flavor a signature of espresso beans. Crystal malt and flaked oats are used to keep up the smooth and creamy mouthfeel. 6% ABV, 28 IBUs and available on draft, 12oz bottles, 6-packs and 22oz bottles.

Epic Brewing Son of a Baptist can

Epic Brewing: Son of a Baptist

Epic Brewing’s Baptist Imperial Stout was our non-Oregon beer of the year. The new smaller and single roaster “Son of A Baptist” may be the most ambitious coffee beer ever. Epic made twelve different versions of Son of a Baptist, each one with a selected coffee roaster in one of the brewery’s twelve biggest markets. So there are twelve different coffee versions, each one with cacao nibs and local coffee. Portland was one of those twelve markets, and Epic teamed with Coava Coffee Roasters. Check out the 12oz cans of this beer if you love local coffee.

Everybody's Brewing Cold Press Coffee Porter

Everybody’s Brewing: Cold Press Coffee Porter

Everybody’s Brewing in White Salmon, Washington, just across the river from Hood River in the Gorge, teamed with small Hood River-based Stoked Roasters’ special Bluebird cold press coffee. The base beer a malty porter with notes of toffee, chocolate, and vanilla that’s complemented by the smooth nuttiness of cold press blended in balance. Fairly sessionable at 5.4% ABV and 45 IBUs and available in 22oz bottles.

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Flat Tail: 6am Stout

Created with brewers in mind, 6am Stout is a bit of caffeine kick to go along with morning alcohol and presumably milk, considering it’s a lactose edition. The description tells us little, but the Corvallis brewer has used local Sivetz Coffee along with oats and lactose for this low bitterness, 10 IBU breakfast beer at 6% ABV. Available through January in 22oz bottles.

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Lagunitas: High West Imperial Coffee Stout

Lagunitas swings hard and knocks one out of the park in the 2016 OneHitter series with High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout. It’s hard not to admit that this Imperial Stout brewed with coffee and then aged in High West Rye Whiskey barrels is not a steal in 12oz bottles for around $2.50 each. It’s not often you find beers aged in RYE whiskey, either; it adds a bit more spiciness and perhaps some acidity to the roasty, rich, but not too heavy coffee laden Imperial Stout. Bottles of this one are a stiff 12% ABV but light on your wallet. Get it while you can.

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Laurelwood: Organic Espresso Stout

Laurelwood’s collaboration with Portland Roasting Co. is the only beer that made this list last year, too. Perhaps that’s because it’s one of the best regular coffee beers released in bottles. This Organic Espresso Stout often manages a deft balance of roast, cream, smooth full but not heavy body. There is still annual differentiation–brewers change, and so does their taste in coffee. This year the blend is an organic coffee from Mexico, Peru, and a single origin coffee from Guatemala called “Las Mujeres”. 6.4% ABV and 30 IBUs, Laurelwood Organic Espresso Stout is available now in 22oz bottles.

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Sierra Nevada: Coffee Stout

There is no spectacular originality or flavor component in Sierra Nevada’s Coffee Stout, but it doesn’t need it, because as usual Sierra Nevada just brings excellence together. The brewery blends “the hearty flavors of coffee with dark roasted malts to create a complex and layered mix of dark chocolate, caramel and light fruity notes punctuated with a roasty, dry finish for the perfect cold-weather drink.” Available now in 12oz bottles at 6.4% ABV and 53 IBUs.

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Sixpoint Brewing: 5Beans

Brooklyn, New York’s Sixpoint Brewing has been brewing this coffee collaboration series with Portland’s Stumptown Coffee since 2013’s 3Beans. That beer was made available even before Sixpoint was distributed here and was many Northwesterners first experience with Sixpoint and the brewery’s thin 12oz cans. Fast forward to 2017 and we have made our way to 5 beans, with each bean representative of an ingredient. The 3bean original was for wheat, barley, and the coffee bean. This version adds cacao and takes a Turkish inspired twist with the addition of black cardamom pods. It’s big and spicy at 10% ABV and 38 IBUs and available in 4-packs of 12oz cans.

If you like coffee beers dont miss the 4th annual NW Coffee Beer Invitational this Saturday, January 28th at Goose Hollow Inn in SW Portland.

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4th NW Coffee Beer Invitational
Saturday, January 28th, 2017
12:00 – 7:00pm
Goose Hollow Inn, 1927 SW Jefferson St, Portland 97201

$15 admission includes a festival glass and 8 taster tickets. Family friendly. Tickets at the door only.

Participating breweries & cideries:

7 Devils Brewing • Chetco Brewing • Cider Riot! • The Commons Brewery • Deschutes Brewing • Fire on the Mountain Brewing • Georgetown Brewing • Gigantic Brewing • Great Notion Brewing • McMenamins West Linn Brewery • Montavilla Brew Works • Portland Cider Company • StormBreaker Brewing • Uptown Brewing • Yachats Brewing • Zoiglhaus Brewing

Samurai Artist
Samurai Artist

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: SamuraiArtist@NewSchoolBeer.com

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