Ah, fall — the season of boots and flannels, and, of course, Oktoberfest. Has anyone else wondered why Oktoberfest ends so early in October? While the first Oktoberfest was in October to celebrate the marriage between Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, the dates have since changed. To take advantage of the longer and warmer days in September, the festival start date was moved to the end of September. Lasting about 16-18 days, depending on the year, the festival now finishes in early October.
Though Oktoberfest wrapped up last week, we’re still riding the festival waves to bring you our top five favorite coffee beers to try this season. Coffee and beer are a match made in heaven — the flavor notes and characteristics of coffee meld beautifully with the malty and dark (and even light and sweet) characteristics of many beer styles. We have a nice spread of brews to share with you today, and if you’re new to the coffee and beer combo, we have a few good intro options for you to try, too. Let’s get to it.
First up is the Dammit Blonde Stout, masterfully brewed by our friends at AL. Ringling Brewing Co. in Baraboo, WI. Brewed in collaboration with our team, this stout has chocolatey notes mixed with a bit of citrus, thanks to the addition of our Whirling Dervish roast. Our Whirling Dervish is made with a blend of Colombian and Kenyan beans roasted to find a unique mix of both body and acidy snap, which pairs perfectly with this stout. This stout just sold out, but if you’re interested in trying it, let the team know and they may just bring it back!
This imperial stout is well-known in the beer community and is heralded as one of the best coffee stouts. Brewed by Founder’s Brewing Company in our neighboring state of Michigan, the Breakfast Stout is brewed with an abundance of flaked oats, bitter and sweetened imported chocolates, and Sumatra and Kona coffee, and is topped with a frothy, cinnamon-colored head. Whether you enjoy this as a morning pick-me-up (fair warning, this brew tips the scales at 8.3% ABV, but we’re not judging) or at cocktail hour, this stout will not disappoint.
Made with a blend of Ethiopian and Sumatran roasts, this coffee stout smells just as good, if not better, than your usual morning cup of joe. Plus, this brewery roasts its own coffee and is one of the few in the world that does so. The flavor of this oatmeal stout has been compared to chocolate-covered espresso beans, as it's made with a bevy of malt varietals, including pale chocolate malt, kiln coffee malt, biscuit malt, and others. Another we wouldn’t blame you for cracking open in the A.M.
For those new to the coffee and beer combo realm, this one is for you. The Early Riser coffee porter by Boulevard is made with a smooth, dark, rich, and roasty porter mixed with Colombian Cajibio Estate coffee to create a coffee-forward brew. According to the ambassador brewer at Boulevard Brewing Company, this porter has a 5% ABV and 28 IBU score (International Bitterness Score), meaning this porter is not as bitter or as hoppy as most porters because they wanted the coffee to shine. Because of these qualities, this brew would be a great introduction to the coffee + beer community.
We’re finishing off our list with another Midwest favorite from a Minnesota brewery, Surly Brewing Co. Coffee Bender is made with Surly’s house oatmeal brown ale and locally roasted Guatemalan coffee, resulting in a cappuccino-like creaminess.
This brew has a 5.5% ABV and a moderate IBU, so it may also be a great introduction for newbies.
That’s it, folks! Do you have a favorite from this list – or did we miss one? Let us know in the comments!