Coffee beans are a natural friend to stouts and porters. The addition of coffee seems to take the roasted, bitter-sweet, coffee-like flavors already present in those dark beers and make them taste bigger, bolder, and smoother.
Brewers most often add the coffee in one of two ways. They can throw ground coffee into the hot beer wort, let it infuse as the wort cools, and then move on to straining and fermenting. This is much like brewing a regular cup of coffee, but using beer instead of water. Alternatively, brewers can cold-brew the coffee into the beer during or after fermentation. The advantage here is that you get more of the roasted coffee flavor and less of its bitterness.
Either way, results are worth seeking out. Here are five of my favorites:
• Cappuccino Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company • Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company • Breakfast Stout from Founders Brewing Company • Pipeline Porter from Kona Brewing Company • Java Stout from Bell's Brewery
What's your favorite coffee-brewed beer?
• Related: Saison to Gueuze: Best Beers for Wine Lovers
(Images: Bell's Brewery, Founders Brewing Company, and Kona Brewing Company)