One of the excellent things about being a beer blogger is that people always know what to give you as a present. So when my birthday rolls around each year in late April I can trust that I’ll always get some nice bottles of beer or some other beery treat. This was the case again this year when Andre and Cat gifted me two impressive and generally difficult to find coffee stouts.
Of course the flipside of this generosity is that there is then an expectation that you will blog about said beers and I’m here today to say I finally got around to drinking these brews. As my birthday falls just before Good Beer Week/Eurovision it was difficult to ‘fit these in’ any earlier.
Rushing drinking either of these beers would be a mistake, these are savouring beers, beers to drink with good quality cheese (like we did) or a great quality fruit toast (like we tried but failed in doing because Uprising was closed on the public holiday, damn you hipster bakers and your magical bread).
The first of the special beers was from Baird Beer in Japan and is the Morning Coffee Stout. This is a stout made with the usual roasted malts and roasted barley, plus the not so normal ingredients of Japanese kokuto (which is black sugar) and coffee beans, which are cold brewed and then added to the beer after fermentation is complete. So this is basically stout with some cold coffee poured into it.
The beer smells of coffee but with an ethanol/alcohol tinge. The alcohol heat comes through in the flavour as well which is a little odd as it’s ‘only’ 7% so maybe it’s something else that I’m mistaking for alcohol. It is a great looking beer, jet black with a dense foamy head. The dominant taste is not surprisingly, coffee. A pretty darn good beer – Pint.
The second beer is from a brewery that I will fully admit I have a massive beerman crush on. In my eyes Epic from New Zealand cannot put a foot wrong. I love everything they do from their labels, to their logo, to their marketing, their business approach and most importantly their beer.
Now if the Baird beer seemed a little odd with the coffee, this brew takes it up another step with the addition of not just coffee, but also caramelised figs and some toasted coconut. Truth is I struggled to actually locate the fig and coconut flavours, the coffee does still dominate, but in a different way to the Baird beer. This was sweeter (probably the figs) and smoother and the coffee felt wet rather than roasty if that makes any sense.
This is all then packaged in a very special 750ml bottle, gone is the usual Epic labelling I love so much replaced with a stylish sophisticated label that would not look out of place on a wine shelf, except of course the trademark Epic humour is there if you take the time to read the back of the bottle. This is another great beer from the Epic stable and further proof that you can’t go wrong picking up any of their brews – Pint.
Also if you want to read a really long, detailed and technical description of how this was brewed you can read all about it on the Epic brewers’ blog. It’s nice to see this started life on a system that would be familiar to most homebrewers before heading off to be contracted brewed, proving that contrary to what most Australian beer geeks will tell you, contract brewing isn’t actually evil.