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Have you ever been out at the bar, feeling like a beer might make you even more tired?  No worries. What you need is the beverage that combines two of America’s favorite drinks. This week on Beer Notes, we’re talking about coffee beers.

You might already be familiar with the coffee stout, as stouts and porters are the most popular styles for coffee beers. But lagers and ales are often used, too.  Coffee is being added to more styles because brewers love to experiment and we love to taste something new.

Recently we’ve seen a sour ale combined with a coffee flavor.

Like the grain used to make beer, coffee beans require roasting. Many brewers, when making a coffee stout or porter, use a chocolate malt in the brewing process for nice, roasty notes in the finished product.

The beer is brewed as usual — the coffee is added only after the actual beer has been mashed, boiled, chilled and fermented. The coffee is typically cold-steeped, strained and added to taste just before the finished product is kegged. Brewers are using high-quality, local coffee beans to give their brew that authentic touch.  Look for partnerships between local roasting houses and breweries like Rise Up Coffee and EVO craft brewing who, together, produced the Rise Up Coffee Stout.

Coffee beers go well with food.  The most obvious pairing would be desserts, like chocolate truffles or pecan pie, but also recommends pairing coffee beers with pork tenderloin and aged semi-hard cheese. Vanilla ice cream is always a favorite. You can even make a coffee stout float.  Yum!

If you’re someone who starts their morning with a highly-caffeinated cup of joe and ends it with a cold, refreshing craft beer, think like Reese’s and get some coffee in your beer — or some beer in your coffee.  For Beer Notes, this is Ann McGinnis Hillyer.

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