A NW Winter Coffee Beer Guide

Tis the season for coffee ales, something about the tail end of the winter brings them about and it surely helps that Portland is a coffee roasting mecca and the home of the NW Coffee Beer Invitational on January 27th. Below is the first full publishing of the NW Coffee Beer Invitational’s impressive exclusive beer list as well as twelve other NW coffee beers that you can find in bottles and/or cans in Oregon now.

NW Coffee Beer Invitational will feature the following, mostly draft-only one-off coffee beers at the festival this Saturday, January 28th from noon to 7pm at Goose Hollow Inn (1927 SW Jefferson St. Portland), admission is $15 for a glass and 8 tasters.

Brewery/Beer List:

ALLEGORY – Starless Sky Coffee Stout
ANCESTRY – Coffee Brown
BURNSIDE – Wau, Nessie! Scottish ale
CHETCO – Evacuation Ale Smoked Porter
COALITION – Morning After Porter
DESCUTES – Ale Café Vanilla Crema
FOTM – Coal Miner’s Caffeinated Daughter Kentucky Ale
FREMONT – Stone Squirrel Coffee Porter
HOPWORKS URBAN BREWERY – Morning Vibes Imperial Stout
LABREWATORY – Push x Pull Coffee Mild
McMENAMINS – Vanilla Latte Milk Stout
MIGRATION – CoCo Coffee Milk Stout
NECTAR CREEK – Top Bar Coffee Mead
OREGON CITY BREWING – Creamy & Dreamy Blonde Stout
PINTS – The Elvis – Peanut Butter, Banana and Bacon Beer
PORTLAND CIDER CO. – Ocular Patdown Barrel-Aged Coffee Cider
SUNRIVER – Mi Casa Mocha Porter
THREE CREEKS – Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged Frontier Justice Coffee Stout
WAYFINDER – Wayfinder Espresso Pilsner
YACHATS – White Coffee Sour
BUOY / FOTM / PINTS / RISTRETTO – Raspberry Cordial Caffe

If you cannot make it to the NW Coffee Beer Invitational or simply have a hankering for more coffee beers in your life we have twelve new packaged examples spotlighted below. Get your java fix with your malt and hop fix!

Block 15 Brewing: Cosmic Cold Brew (Maple Cream Stout)

The final entry in Block 15 Brewing’s Cosmic Cold Brew series of stouts brewed with different coffee beans and changing ingredients is the Maple Cream edition available now. This Stout was brewed with Maple Sugar & Cold-Conditioned on Coffee Beans and tastes as awesome as it sounds. Working with their Corvallis neighbors Bespoken Coffee Roasters, the brewers elevated their standard Nebula Stout with a 24-hour cold extraction on freshly roasted coffee. The Maple Cream variation layers lactose and maple cream into the beer to give it more sweetness and a thick creamy texture like steamed milk in a latte. 7.3% Abv and available in the bottle and on draft now for a limited time.


Elysian Brewing: Split Shot (Espresso Milk Stout)

First brewed as a one-off beer for Seattle Beer Week, Elysian Brewing’s Split Shot espresso stout was so good it became a seasonal. By combining Portland’s own Stumptown Coffee espresso into a northwest ale we get the flavors of a capuccino served cold from the bottle. Split Shot was just re-released so fresh bottles and draft are available now. 6% Abv and 28 IBUs.

Ex Novo Brewing: Quaker Shaker Coffee Oatmeal Stout

Portland’s charity-driven brewery Ex Novo has just re-released their seasonal “Quaker Shaker.” This a roasty and creamy oatmeal stout brewed with coffee from Case Study Roasters. This brew is not afraid to let the dark fruit notes shine along with the caramel and chocolate flavors. Available now in bottles and on draft.  6.5% | 28 IBUS

Firestone Walker: Mocha Merlin

This is the popular coffee and cocoa infused version of Firestone Walker’s already great Merlin Oatmeal Stout and it’s available every winter in cans. Mocha Merlin uses Colombia La Granadilla blend from HoneyCo Coffee Roasters that is added right into the fermentation tank like dry-hopping. The cocoa nibs are from Ghana, it’s a pure chocolate nib with no sugar and little processing. The nibs are steeped in the beer in mesh bags. Finally the brewers chose to use the milk stout version of Velvet Merlin, it includes lactose milk sugar like the aforementioned Block 15 which brings the flavor together for a smoother and creamier flavor and mouthfeel.

Fremont Brewing: Stone Squirrel Coffee Porter

The first of three new Spring seasonals from Fremont Brewing is Stone Squirrel Coffee Porter, available now in cans and on draft. Stone Squirrel uses Tony’s Café Carmelita coffee, cold-brewed on top of chocolate malts, roasted and pale malts with Columbus hops. Pours a rich brown with flavors of coffee and caramel, 5.4% abv and 25 IBU’s.

Hopworks Urban Brewery: Morning Vibes (Imperial Latte Stout)

Hopworks new Morning Vibes Latte Stout is actually one of the beers for this weekends NW Coffee Beer Invitational but the brewery is also releasing it in bottles. HUB says they wanted to brew an Imperial Stout that reminded them of their first mourning cup. TO do that they used organic malts, organic hops, and organic coffee from fellow B Corporation friends at Nossa Familia Coffee. They even added cocoa for a richer flavor and lactose for added silkiness. Expect big chocolate malt character, deep coffee notes, and creamy and dark, boozy textures. Hopworks will release bottles of this 9% abv beer on February 1st with a 10am fixed menu pancake and egg `breakfast. HUB will open their pub on SE Powell open an hour early and offer 3 pancakes, 2 scrambled eggs, 2 slices of bacon and a 13 oz pour of Morning Vibes all for $12. Crowlers of Morning Vibes will also be available for $15 and limited 22 oz bottles for $9. Dine in with HUB and get a 10% discount on beer to go. If you’d like to bring in the kiddos, they have a special breakfast for them as well at $5.75. Breakfast lasts one hour and is at our Powell brewpub only, so make sure you’re here between 10am-11am.

Laurelwood Brewing: Espresso Stout

An annual favorite, Laurelwood Brewing teams up with Portland Coffee Roasting each year to compose this Organic Espresso Stout. Each year this beer is slightly different as Laurelwood’s head brewer collaborates with the roaster on a select blend of beans. This is usually an incredibly nutty and chocolatey beer, malty and sweet but with a dry finish, always smooth and very drinkable. Not one of the more intense coffee beers around but one you can drink a pint or two of at 6.3% abv. Plus it’s one of the few beers that is certified Organic by Oregon Tilth.

Matchless Brewing: Dallah Breakfast Stout

This beer from Tumwater, Washington’s new and hot Matchless Brewing dreamt up by ex-beer bartender and now sales extroardinarie for the brewery — Ken Sorenson. Envisioned as a breakfast stout inspired by coffees of the Gulf region and Arabian Peninsula. Dallah is yet another of the increasingly common milk stouts that use lactose milk sugar to bring the subtle milk sweet creaminess. This one is a big bodied beer that is also spiced with cardamom for a warm spicing and brewed with a custom roast from Conduit Coffee of Seattle. Matchless Brewing Dallah is available still for a limited time in 16oz cans in Oregon and Washington and is a not so sessionable morning brew at 7.8% Abv.

New Belgium: La Folie Grand Reserve Geisha Sour Ale

This grand reserve release is undoubtedly the grandest beer of the bunch at $50 a bottle and brewed with what is reportedly one of the world’s most sought-after and expensive coffee varieties – Panama Geisha. New Belgium added whole Panama Geisha beans to one of the base foeder’s for their amazing La Folie flanders-style sour ale, by using whole beans they hoped to preserve the coffee’s mandarin and soft jasmine floral notes which play nicely with the sour plum and cocoa flavors synonymous with La Folie. The acidic ripe cherry, plum and balsamic notes of La Folie still pop but play well with the velvety smooth and nutty flavors of the coffee. I got to try a bottle myself for this article and was impressed with how well the flavors were integrated together. Rather than the burnt, often bitter notes that coffee adds to beer this one was smooth and toasty and fruity. The beer dark amber and not black like I expected. 750ml bottles of caged and corked Geisha Grand Reserve are hard to find but were recently sighted at such places as Bemont Station and The Beermongers in Portland.

Redhook Brewery: My Oh My Caramel Macchiato Stout

Redhook Brewery has released My Oh My Caramel Macchiato Milk Stout this winter, an ode to their Seattle lineage and to Seattle Mariners baseball commentator Dave Niehaus who’s “My oh My” saying became synonymous with the team. Also, Redhook was originally co-founded by Gordon Bowker, an entrepreneur that also co-founded Starbucks Coffee and was a co-owner of Peet’s Coffee. So Redhook’s ties to coffee are very strong indeed. My Oh My is a blend of coffee and dark malts, lactose milk sugar with aromas of chocolate, espresso and roasted malts tie up in a rich finish for this only 5.5% abv and 33 IBU’s beer is available January – April of 2018 on draft and in bottles.

Reuben’s Brews: Breakfast Stout

Newish to Oregon, Seattle based Reuben’s Brews makes great beers and their decadent Breakfast Stout with Kuma Coffee is no different. This rich coffee stout also uses lactose in a malt driven complex base of 2-row, munich, caramel, chocolate, victory, de-bittered black malt, oats and roasted barley. Wos that’s a mouthful. Finally it’s finished with coffee from Kuma Coffee, a direct-trade Seattle roaster. 22oz bottles of Reuben’s Breakfast Stout are available now in Oregon and Washington and it’s 8.4% Abv and 34 IBU’s.

Three Creeks: Frontier Justice Coffee Stout  

Central Oregon-bases Three Creeks Brewing have collaborated with local Sisters Coffee Roasters on a Rye Whiskey barrel-aged coffee stout called Frontier Justice. Brewed with ten different specialty malts, cascade hops and over one pound per barrel of cold pressed Sumatra coffee. This 8% beauty blends the complimentary notes of coffee and roasted barley with the sweet and spicy rye whiskey notes for a rich coffee aroma and flavor. Available this winter while it lasts, Frontier Justice is 8% abv and 55 IBU’s.

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