Coffee beer blends two of the world’s most-consumed drinks into one delicious pint. Lately, local breweries have a wide range of coffee beer on tap and in cans and bottles to seek out. For instance, Kansas City Coffee Kolsch is a collaboration beer brewed as a tribute to late 3Halves brewer Rodney Beagle and as a fundraiser for his sons, the “Beagle pups.” Check out these nine coffee beers to wet your whistle as summer gives way to fall.
Kansas City Coffee Kolsch is based on a recipe developed by late 3Halves Brewing brewer Rodney Beagle. Beagle’s Coffee Kolsch was one of many memorable and popular beers that appeared at beer festivals and local taprooms. Kolsch, a German style with a crisp finish, hint of malt, and light body, retains its character in this interpretation. Subtle coffee notes add depth and a hint of golden caramel color.
This year a handful of local breweries banded together to recreate Beagle’s beer. A portion of sales of this beer will be donated to a fund on behalf of Beagle’s sons. Participating breweries include Callsign Brewing, The Big Rip Brewing Company, River Bluff Brewing, Red Crow Brewing Company, Pathlight Brewing, Strange Days Brewing Company, Torn Label Brewing Company, and Rochester Brewing and Roasting Company. The beer is on tap at several taprooms, such as Strange Days and Torn Label (pictured above). Check brewery tap lists for availability. More releases of the beer are planned later this year.
House Brew – Torn Label Brewing Company
Torn Label’s coffee wheat stout is brewed with Sumatran Toddy from Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters. It’s one of Torn Label’s first beers, along with Alpha Pale Ala and Monk & Honey Belgian Ale, to be packaged in cans. Coffee stouts seem commonplace now. The debut of a locally-brewed coffee wheat stout signaled that Torn Label’s lineup of beer wasn’t going to be run of the mill, then and now. This modern classic still holds up as an easy-drinking stout with robust flavor and a dark appearance. Available in cans at the taproom and local retailers.
Early Riser Coffee Porter – Boulevard Brewing Company
Porters are often brewed with black or chocolate malt to yield a mocha or chocolate character. The style’s flavor profile naturally marries well with the addition of coffee. Boulevard Brewing took its base porter and added Colombian Cajibio Estate coffee supplied by Maps Coffee Roasters. Boulevard’s beer blog shares in-depth notes about the beer’s origins. For instance, Vincent Rodriguez of Maps Coffee “purchased and refurbished three commercial grinders to handle the task of grinding 2,800 pounds of coffee to net the required 2,400 pounds” for the original batch of Early Riser Coffee Porter. Originally released in 2016, the beer remains a go-to option for coffee porter. Available on tap now at the BLVD Beer Hall while supplies last and packaged 12-oz. bottles at Boulevard and area stores.
Steep Drop Nitro Cold Brew Milk Stout – Boulevard Brewing Company
Also on tap at BLVD Beer Hall, this dark velvety milk stout sings with mildly nutty notes. Boulevard uses small-batch coffee made from fair trade beans custom roasted, by Second Best Coffee. The brewery describes Steep Drop as a “smooth, creamy nitro milk stout” that “ blooms with notes of honey, molasses, citrus and cocoa powder.” Available on tap now at the BLVD Beer Hall while supplies last and packaged 12-oz. cans at Boulevard and area stores.
Magic Drip – Barrel-Aged Wheated Imperial Stout – Boulevard Brewing Company
Yet another coffee beer arrives from Boulevard just in time for fall. Messenger Coffee provided the Colombian dark roast whole beans used in this Wheated Imperial Stout, made with pale, dark, and crystal malts. The stout was barrel-aged in various casks from eight to 18 months, imparting vanilla, oak, and char. Boulevard touts this boozy (13.5-percent ABV) Imperial Stout as offering “notes of rich chocolate and coffee, vanilla, whiskey, and toasted oak.” Available in 4-packs of 12oz bottles and on draft, Magic Drip will begin hitting shelves and taps in the KC area on September 13th.
Premium Unleaded Imperial Coffee Stout – Strange Days Brewing Company
This collaboration sources beans from local roaster Oddly Correct. This Imperial Coffee Stout clocks in at 12-percent ABV. Brewer Trevor Schlam says, “We used a blend of Ethiopian and Colombian beans.” The result yields “intense coffee flavor and aroma with underlying notes of roasted malt, dark chocolate, and plum.”
Rochester Brewing and Roasting Company has three coffee beers currently on tap. Check out the companion story about Rochester’s use of coffee in beer, featuring insights from brewer Marshall Van Tuyl on how they thoughtfully use house-roasted beans to impart flavor and aroma.
Rochester Original Coffee Stout – This Imperial Coffee Stout weighs in at 8.-percent ABV. Made with Rochester’s in-house roasted coffee blend, the stout “features a silky mouthfeel and a rich flavor with notes of dark chocolate and prominent coffee.”
Maple Mocha Oatmeal Stout – Brewed with Rochester Original coffee, maple syrup and cocoa that leans to the sweet side as a dessert stout. Easy-drinking at 5.6-perent ABV, this smooth stout would marry well with a maple-glazed donut or any chocolate dessert.
Coffea Arabica Ale (Honduran) – Rochester’s coffee ale series is a vehicle to showcase the coffee produced on site, and how it can be married with beer. Coffea Arabica Ale is a light-colored beer that runs counter to the stereotypical image of dark coffee stouts and porter.
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Pete Dulin is the founder and editor of kcaletrail.com. His most recent book is Expedition of Thirst: Exploring Breweries, Distilleries and Wineries Across Central Kansas and Missouri. Pete’s other books include Kansas City Beer: A History of Brewing in the Heartland (The History Press, American Palate series), KC Ale Trail (out of print), and Last Bite: 100 Simple Recipes from Kansas City’s Best Chefs and Cooks.