Hump Day, need more coffee!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I work in IT. IT is hell. So when I've been working 10 days straight on one problem and have yet to even see the light at the end of the tunnel (yea you politics guys probably think that's nothin') ... there's one thing on my mind for the majority of the day: Coffee.

It starts at 6am when I wake up and make the coffee, and it ends sometime after 11pm when I finish my last Espresso Love.

Espresso Love from the Arbor Brewing Company is a "Breakfast Stout", which is by no means a strict style guideline from the BJCP. What it is is a casual grouping of stouts that include coffee and oatmeal in the recipe. Some even take it a step further and add chocolate, like Founders Breakfast Stout. A quick search of shows 22 beers using the word Breakfast, 48 using Espresso, 85 using Coffee, so this isn't a new fad but definitely hasn't caught full steam yet. Personally I think a good Porter or Stout can only benefit from a bit of coffee!

Espresso Love is their standard Oatmeal Stout plus locally roasted and ground Espresso. And what a WONDERFUL combination it is! The Love pours dark, like black espresso with cola colored edges. Large rocky head is formed, most likely due to a vigorous pour, and is the color of a strong mocha. The head recedes slowly leaving no lace and no film to speak of (I gotta stop putting my beer glasses through the dishwasher! But I'm lazy...)

The aroma on this brew is absolutely amazing. Only other stout I've had that could come close was Bell's Rye Stout. This is an awesome combination of strong espresso and hints of caramel and chocolate. Like walking into a Starbucks, this could totally wake me up out of a dead stupor in a whiff.

And the taste does not disappoint. It's truly great. It's a very full flavored stout starting with some dark fruit like plums then molasses and chocolate, all quickly swept aside by strong coffee and roasty malt. Dark Chocolate and coffee are prevalent flavors, really a winner on these cold 'Winter' days.

Oatmeal Stouts are known for their thick, creamy body. Oatmeal lends the majority of this to the style due to their increased amount of unfermentable proteins over barley. This beer is a GREAT example of that; it has a creamy mouthfeel to make all other stouts jealous. Actually, the only other one that I've tried that got close was Bell's Rye Stout. Really got to try this one to know though!

At 6.5% ABV, it's a bit heavier than your average beer, but not so strong that it totally knocks your socks off. Almost dangerously easy to drink, I think that this one will have a special spot on my fridge all Winter! Cheers!


Pete,  7:21 PM  

Sounds nice!...where might one find this tasty beverage around the mid-Michigan area? :-D

the infamous roger 10:37 PM  

I love you midwestern beer reviewers. On the left coast we consider 6.5% ABV a session beer.

This is the time of year I think about brewing specialty beers, so it's nice to see a coffee beer reviewed. I'm planning on brewing a really big porter (1.090ish OG) this weekend. I'm thinking I'll fortify it with whiskey, maybe after infusing the whiskey with oak chips...

Sopor 8:05 AM  

Pete, currently I only know of one place carrying this, because I haven't had to go any further!

Westside Grocery Store

It's gotta be all over though, Westside has a fairly small selection.

Roger, speaking of stronger beers, if you ever manage to get your hands on some Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree, rejoice!! That was an AMAZING IIPA!

That stuff was amazing!

Sopor 8:06 AM  

Oh yea, and you can't go wrong with a Coffee Porter Roger! Porter is next on my list to brew, but I'm shooting for more around 1.050, what you might consider a "Small Beer" =)

(note that the Double Crooked Tree was so amazing I had to tell you twice!)

B Mac 9:23 AM  

As a former Ann Arborite, Arbor Brewing was always somewhat of a Mecca. And the Espresso Love is one of their finer brews IMO.

I wish they sold more of the Arbor brews at the local Beer Mecca (i.e. Odies)

Smitty 10:39 AM  

Excellent review, sopor. I'm going to Oades tonite to see if their distributor has supplied them with any. Awesome.

This is a great new feature as well...and Wednesday-humpday beer review and the Friday beer review.

Rickey Henderson 11:39 AM  

So Rickey can suggest that his office coffe club use this instead of folgers? Sweet.

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