THE BEER: Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing
THE PLACE: My backyard. This is not a beer that can be obtained outside of Minnesota. Luckily a chum was recently in the Twin Cities and was kind enough to bring me a few cans.
WHAT IS IT? Unsurprisingly, it is a coffee-infused version of Surly’s Bender. Which, in turn, is an oatmeal brown ale.
VITAL STATISTICS: This fellow rolls in at 5.5% ABV. The malts include pale ale, aromatic, medium crystal, dark crystal, oats, and chocolate. It’s hopped with Columbus and Willamette and fermented with English Ale yeast. And the coffee is Guatemalan Finca Vista Hermosa Full City Roast by Coffee and Tea Ltd. Goddamn, but Surly has an informative website.
HOW IS IT? Fucking fantastic if you like coffee. Do you like coffee? I do. I’ll swill that shit all the live-long day. Here’s the thing, though – I don’t automatically like all coffee beer. Most tend to be stouts and can be overly bitter and roasty. This, however, tastes like an alcoholic iced coffee. It’s delicious. I’d start every day with one if Surly beers were readily available in my neck of the woods.
DEEP THOUGHTS: I’ve had a beer crush on Surly since I first tasted their wares at the Great Taste of the Midwest several years ago. I’m not the only one – in the years since, their stand at that fine beerfest has been consistently mobbed by the drunken populace. Back in the day if someone announced a trip to Minnesota I would invariably offer hearty condolences.* Now I plead, beg, and barter with that lucky traveler and hope for a delivery of anything Surly offers. Which is a pretty good endorsement, if I may say so.
*I kid Minnesota. We have fun.