I was listening to Brews News Radio last week and the professor likened the craft beer industry to coffee. I have no direct quote because I can’t be bothered listening to the whole hour again to find it but the concept was this….
15 years ago everyone was happy with a can of International Roast coffee, but nowadays if your workplace doesn’t have an espresso machine you are likely to riot. Back in the 80’s if you told people that in the near future they would happily pay $4 for a coffee everyday they would call you crazy.
And there is something for everyone. Nescafe may still be in the cupboards and there are coffee snobs doing cupping sessions (which sounds pseudo sexual if you ask me), but there is also everything in between. Cafes are just as prevalent in suburban shopping malls as they are in city laneways filled with ironic milk crates.
Imagine if you will the beer scene in 15 years, there will still be the Carlton Draught at one end and the Brewdog Toyko 18.2 at the other, but in between is where the excitement is. Imagine being able to walk into any pub in any suburb and find good quality craft beer available, the same way you can get a decent cup of coffee almost anywhere now.
Why all this talk of java though? Well today we are tasting two coffee-infused beers. The first is Mountain Goat’s collaboration with coffee roasters Seven Seeds, the Seedy Goat IPA, which is part of the ‘Rare Breed’ range of limited edition brews. Now first thing you need to understand is it’s not meant to taste like coffee.
And it doesn’t, rather it tastes like a slightly strange IPA. The coffee is meant to be imparting bitterness but not really taste, meaning that it’s doing the job of some of the hops. It’s an interesting beer, amber with a wispy head, scents of tropical fruits and a definite and familiar hop aftertaste, but just before those hops is an unfamiliar, un-beer like tang.
It’s a good beer and an interesting study in what can be done, but Mountain Goat make better IPA’s, both their regular one and the Double IPA, and there are better Coffee IPA’s out there, namely Mikkeller’s Koppi IPA . Still worth a Pint though.
The second beer is one that is 100% meant to taste like coffee; it’s Burleigh Brewing’s collaboration with coffee roasters Zarraffa’s Coffee, the Black Giraffe, part of their ‘Bit on the Side’ range of limited edition brews. It is a black lager, or Schwarzbier for you German speakers out there.
This poured black with a creamy crema coloured head. It smelled of coffee, not burnt coffee like you get with many stouts, but rather sweet latte coffee. It’s also an unusual taste; coffee, then fruits, then coffee again and then it melts away to a lingering aftertaste more like a coffee liquer or possibly an iced coffee Big M.
This is a seriously good beer, all the complexity you would expect from a stout but as easy to drink and refreshing as a lager. A new favourite – Jug.
Long Bow Youtube clip: It might be possible to get decent cup of coffee in Melbourne, but it’s a bit tougher in the Mallee. ‘A Decent Cup of Coffee’ by Wedding Parties Anything (with one of the later line-ups).