One of the latest trends in craft beer making is the chemical marriage between beer and some other form of addictive substance. One flavor finding its way into a lot of beer is coffee. But another one that caught my eye comes from Oregon brewers Rouge, who are known for cranking out a trendy beer or two. So, for this little foray, I decided to try two blended brews to determine if the trend of mixing and matching beer with other favorite items is worth your time or wallet.
First off, I got local favorite Smog City Brewing’s infamous “Coffee Porter,” which the company describes as, “Blurring the line between coffee and beer, our Coffee Porter treats the taste buds to a decadent romp in chocolate-covered espresso beans.” An apt description, indeed! The “Coffee Porter” tastes so close to coffee that you might think you poured the remnants of your Mr. Coffee pot into your glass by mistake.
“Coffee Porter” is pitch black with brown foam at the top that looks like its been topped off by a smear of Hersey’s chocolate. It smells just like a fresh pot of coffee in the morning – if copious amounts of chocolate and marshmallow had also been dropped in your morning brew. It smells like a bag of S’more’s, making this beer perfect for camping trips out in the woods. The body is thin and easy drinking, going down much smoother than any cheap Folgers you might be privy to buying. And, of course, it tastes A LOT like coffee. Some might argue too much, as the line between the two beverages is quite blurred with this bottle. It makes for an interesting drinking experience, but it is such a mix of the two that I can only imagine drinking this again for those early-morning English soccer games on Saturdays. A little less coffee and a little more beer would’ve been nice.
Now, onto the other beer blend… Rogue’s “Sriracha Hot Stout.” Being a fan of Stout and a fan of Sriracha, I could find no reason not to sample these Oregon master’s latest creation. But would blending the complexities of a Stout with the intenseness of Sriracha be a match made in heaven?
Turns out… not so much. It’s beautifully dark, with notes of chocolate, barley and hay, giving it a real earthy scent. The body is medium, however, the heat of the beer makes it feel like it’s heavier than it really is and thus, the crux of the problem with this novelty. The beer tastes like a normal Stout – it’s tangy and earthy – but ends with a massive dose of heat on the finish. A few more sips, and you’ll feel your tongue start to burn. If you’re a lover of all things hot, than this beer is perfect for you. But for the average drinker, it’s like watching ESPN between the years 2010 to 2014 – just too much Heat. The Sriracha aspect of this beer overwhelms its flavor, and after a while it’s like you’re drinking straight Sriracha sauce! Ever put too much hot sauce on your food to the point where all you taste is the sauce? Same thing here. A little less Sriracha and a little more Stout would’ve made this beer a perfect marriage.
So, in the end, I think I would’ve preferred these beers to be their own style instead of mirroring their other halves so closely. Both beers would’ve been better off having whispers of their neighboring counterparts, instead of overwhelming the tongue with them. Oh, well. I guess in this instance, it would’ve been better to stay single.