If you haven't noticed, it's cold outside. And that calls for dark beers. What could be a better than a porter or a stout or any beer brewed with coffee to keep the winter chills at bay? The coffee beer market isn't exactly flooded but there are a lot of great options. If you're looking for a flavorful coffee porter or stout, here are eight to keep in mind. No matter which coffee beer hybrid you choose, make sure you enjoy it somewhere toasty, like next to a roaring fireplace. Stay warm and enjoy the rest of the winter.
Sixpoint 3Beans: Known to be loyal locavores, Sixpoint even maintains a community garden on their roof. They grow many of the ingredients for their Brooklyn-brewed beers in that garden but they've also been known to collaborate with local businesses, such as in the case of 3Beans. Only recently released, this new canned beer from Sixpoint is brewed with Stumptown Coffee as well as Mast Brother Chocolate. Sixpoint adds romano beans, an ingredient once favored by ancient brewers, to the mix as well.
Great Lakes Coffee Infused Edmund Fitzgerald Porter: One of the first breweries in Cleveland since the lion's share of local brewers shut down in the early 1980s, Great Lakes Brewing is also Ohio's first craft brewery. They are dedicated to making great beer with sustainable business practices. Among those great beers is their Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. Named after a ship that infamously sank during a storm on Lake Superior, this is another example of the marriage between chocolate and coffee in beer. It's even won several World Beer Championship gold medals over the years, so it's certainly worth a few sips.
Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel: Mikkeller is a very unique brewery. Brewing at locations around the world, including Denmark and the United States (the Beer Geek Brunch is made in Norway), they are what's known as a "gypsy" brewery. But thanks to the resulting collaborations and creations, they make amazing beers. In addition to traveling to brew, the brewers also include some worldly ingredients. For instance, in the case of Beer Geek Brunch, they employ civet coffee — a very high-end and rare type of coffee that's made through an unusual process. The product is a fantastic combination of oatmeal and coffee in a stout. Though at 7.5 percent ABV, it's probably not a good breakfast beverage unless you have nothing else to do for the rest of the day.
Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout: Based in Grand Rapids, Mich., Founders has been ranked as one of the top breweries in the world by RateBeer.com and has taken home numerous awards for their beers over the years. And they are apparently fans of breakfast beers as well. Their Kentucky Breakfast Stout is a limited release and small-batch beer that can be hard to find. This often makes it a very lusted-after commodity especially in cities outside of Michigan. But the bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout made with chocolate and coffee is a fantastic way to start a day — if you can stand to have an 11.2 percent ABV beer in the morning, that is.
Surly Brewing Coffee Bender: A Minnesota brewery, Surly is known for their impressive collection of robust beers. Owner Omar Ansari has been influenced by great beer since he visited Munich as a teenager during Oktoberfest. Today the brewery brews up five year-round beers, including Coffee Bender. An oatmeal brown ale, the beer is crisp and hoppy but with a coffee boost. While not actually brewed with coffee, the malts used in this ale call upon flavors of coffee as well as cocoa and caramel. It's a unique take on your everyday coffee beer.
Schlafly Coffee Stout: Located in the shadow of big beers like Budweiser in St. Louis, Schlafly is a proud craft brewery that's evolved over the last 20 years into two breweries and restaurants. Each year, they brew up about 50 styles of beer, including their seasonal Coffee Stout, available November through March. This Coffee Stout is another local effort. The brewers blended French Roast Coffee from Kaldi's Coffee out of Missouri with their stout brew. Roasted malts in the beer complement the coffee flavors with hints of caramel for a nice balance of acidity with sweetness.
Terrapin Wake 'N Bake Coffee Oatmeal Stout: Since 2002, Athens, Ga.-based Terrapin Brewery has aimed to make beers that stand out among the crowd of pale ales and stouts. Their first beer was a Rye Pale Ale and they've been improving on those boring styles ever since. Their Wake 'N Bake is an example of that effort. Part of what they've dubbed their Monster Beer Tour, the Wake 'N Bake is a thick and rich stout infused with a coffee blend created by another Athens business, Jittery Joe's Coffee. The coffee beans originated in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Zimbabwe and come together to create a very buzzworthy coffee flavor that combines perfectly with the Terrapin oatmeal stout.
Kona Brewing Pipeline Porter: Hawaii's own Kona Brewing has been producing unique beers on the islands since 1995. Their brewery is located on Hawaii's Big Island but they also operate brewpubs in several other locations around the islands. Their Pipeline Porter is an example of their great line of beers. The coffee in this infused beer was also grown Hawaii's Big Island making this a 100 percent Hawaiian creation. A mix of malted barley complement the complex flavors of the coffee, making for a great all around ale.