Saturday, November 17, 2007

Coffee Beers in KC

Ever since I received my firkin email from 75th Street Brewery alerting me to their new Espresso Porter, I've been on a kick to drink all the coffee beers in KC. I knew that Schlafly had a seasonal coffee stout available and I was sure there were probably a couple of other coffee stouts and porters available at the ol' liquor stores. On my first expedition out of the house since my little surgery I picked up a Rogue Mocha Porter. Of all the porter flavors I prefer chocolate, so a mocha porter would have to be a great introduction to the coffee drinks I was in store for over the week.
To accompany my first drinking experience in 4 or 5 days Stella and I whipped up a flank steak with a red wine sauce and some garlic thyme cracked potatoes. I thought the sweetness of the wine reduction and shallots in the sauce would accompany the roasted flavors of the mocha in the porter very well.
I was right the flavors did mesh well and I would recommend this pairing to anyone wanting to drink the Rogue Mocha porter. I used a standard pint glass for my porter. The pour produced a dark mahogany beer with a creamy brown head very similar to the head on a mocha from Starbucks. The smell was a nice bit of roasted malt but not much of a roasted coffee smell. The taste was pretty malty a good roasted malt but the coffee flavor was pretty thin and the chocolate taste wasn't there at all. It's got to be pretty difficult to brew a beer with these 3 strong flavors well balanced. Unfortunately, Rogue wasn't up to the task. The aftertaste was real thin, not much there, really pretty disappointing. If it wasn't for the rockin' good steak and potatoes this would have been a mildly unpleasant experience.

I finally made it over to 75th Street Brewery to try the espresso porter that got me excited in the first place. I had been warned by Muddy Mo that it only hit the one coffee note and KC Guy told me I would be up all night and have weird dreams. The guy sitting next to me at the bar, a mug club member, asked for a sample of the porter, he didn't order one after his sample. I have to agree with Muddy Mo on the taste, I didn't have any weird dreams or trouble sleeping so I guess someone slipped KC Guy some Red Bull. It was a pretty dark brown with a nice brownish, pretty thin head. The smell was an overwhelming coffee and cigarette smell (although the cigarette was prolly the dude sitting right by me sucking down a heater, yay freedom). And the taste was an overwhelming coffee with very little of the roasted malt flavor of a good porter. As my friend, the Barista told me, it's misnamed espresso, it's really just a coffee porter. While the Rogue didn't have enough coffee flavor, the 75th Street didn't have enough porter flavor. Maybe you should get a growler of the 75th Street porter and mix it with the Rogue Mocha Porter and you would get a wonderful brew.

After I sucked down 2 espresso porters I made it over to the HyVee Liquor Store on State Line to pick up my Schlafly coffee stout. I noted that the Boulevard Smokestack Series are priced at $7.99 over there. So, in I think that Lucas Liquors is the cheapest in the metro (if you count South JoCo as part of the metro, I don't) at $6.99. Anyway, I got a bonus because HyVee also had the Schlafly Winter ESB, I'll try it later, it's sitting in my fridge right now. I'm not going to write much about the coffee stout from Schlafly. If you want to recreate the experience, save yourself the $7 or so a sixer costs and go to your coffee pot at work around 2 o'clock. If there is just about a half cup of coffee in the pot and the burner is on pour the coffee in a Styrofoam cup, put the Styrofoam cup on the burner until the bottom starts to melt and place it in another Styrofoam cup. Make sure that some of the Styrofoam has melted into your coffee. Add ice then drink it once the ice has melted. The taste of this will bear a remarkable resemblance to the Schlafly Coffee Stout. Stay away, stay far away or come over to the Bull E. Vard mansion and pick up my remaining 5.

It turns out that I don't really like my coffee and beer mixed together, but if you must, go with the Rogue Mocha Porter. It's the best of the bunch I was willing to try. And if you take anything away from this experience, make the flank steak with red wine and shallot sauce.


  1. Just found your blog! Great job! Schlafly's Coffee Stout is pretty good. Also pick up Java Stout from Bell's. Bell's is a Michigan brewer (I miss Michigan when it comes to this stuff!). You will really enjoy Java Stout.

  2. Dunno if it's still the case, but Waldo Pizza had the smokestack beers for $7.95 as of last thursday or friday.