Even taking into account the full scope of human society since civilization first clawed its way into existence somewhere in the Fertile Crescent, we live in interesting times. On the negative side of the ledger, we’re contending with killer drones, climate change, autotuned vocals, sexting, and the mass extinction of species. On the positive side, we’ve got the rise of online learning, the democratization of publishing and communication, Better Call Saul, sexting, and the accelerating propagation of serious pizza places.
Add to the plus side of the ledger the development of increasingly excellent coffee beers. No longer a mere novelty, coffee-infused beers — when done correctly — are a heavenly and harmonious marriage of two of humanity’s most subtle and gloriously intoxicating beverages. We’ve been enjoying Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout for years; Surly Coffee Bender is a local classic; and Bent Paddle’s Cold Press Black jam session with Duluth Coffee Company was one of our favorite beers of 2014.
And so it was with no small amount of anticipation that we tried this year’s edition of Lift Bridge Irish Coffee Stout, a cooperative effort undertaken with beans from Five Watt Coffee in Minneapolis. Many coffee beers have a sharp, often artificial coffee flavor that shouts down the beer. The coffee beers we’ve typically liked have a clean, smooth coffee flavor that dominates the beer without obliterating it. But in the case of Lift Bridge’s offering, beans and beer pull with an equal amount of strength: the smooth, amiable, but distinct flavor of the organic cold-press coffee walks hand in hand with the mellow, malty blend of milk, stout, and whiskey-barrel-aged Silhouette. The beer opens with coffee and finishes with beer, but neither dominates the stage. It’s a lovely duet.
Lift Bridge Irish Coffee Stout is released in limited quantities in March to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.