Friday, December 9, 2016

Shiner Cold-Brew Coffee Ale amounts to more than a hill of beans

Cold-Brew Coffee Ale is good to the last drop (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

For this, the latest edition of what the little brewery sent me in a little white box, Shiner packed up a bottle of its latest Birthday Beer (number 108 for those keeping track) and a bottle of Chameleon Cold-Brew Organic Black Coffee. Wrapped in a burlap sack, the two brews arrived nestled in a pile of Chameleon coffee beans, the key ingredient in the brewery's new Cold-Brew Coffee Ale.

The beer, of course, is a collaborative effort born out of the idea that coffee and beer have known to play well together. It's a product that couples the Spoetzl Brewery with Chameleon Cold-Brew, an Austin-based company credited with being the country's original bottler of cold-brew coffee.

In this case, the coffee consists of 100% organic, Fair Trade beans. And, it is said, that coffee crafted with the cold-brew process is especially suited for making a coffee ale. That's because the method produces deep coffee flavors without the bitter and astringent qualities sometimes found in a hot cup of joe. A perfect fit, it seems, for a beer coming from a brewery known for its rather mild, more drinkable dossier.

So, how did it turn out?

Well, the brewery describes Cold-Brew Coffee Ale as "malty, with a slightly sweet coffee aroma and a silky, smooth taste." That's pretty close to my impression of the beer as well, though I'd probably expound a bit on the roasty element. The roast isn't intense, mind you, but it has some depth and it meshes well with the grain bill, which results in a consistent, balanced mix of coffee and roasted malt that sustains from start to finish.

As for how it drinks, give credit where credit is due, since Cold-Brew Coffee Ale is nothing if not smooth, with no perceptible bitterness or astringency in the aftertaste.

The real question, though, is whether or not the beer does that one coffee company say it...good to the last drop? Based that whole start to finish thing I said before, I'd have to say yes. Cold-Brew Coffee Ale is a flavorful, easy-drinking beer that's defined by its primary ingredient. As long you don't mind that the beer wasn't sourced from a barrel and the beans weren't shot out from a civet (i.e. it's just a good, basic coffee ale), then I think it's certainly worth trying.

Look for Cold-Brew Coffee Ale on tap, in 24-ounce bombers and in 12-ounce bottles and cans.

Cold-Brew Coffee Ale
Style: Coffee Ale
Malt: Roasted specialty malt
Hops: Mt. Hood
Other: Arabica coffee, cold-brew coffee.
ABV: 5.0%

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