Hello and welcome to another ‘Spew Brew Review’. I know it has been awhile since I talked about some beer. To be honest, I found myself in reruns when I was out tasting. In other words, instead of trying new stuff, I gravitated to some of the older ales I trusted.
I mean you can’t blame me for that. I have tried literally 300+ beers (I know I haven’t even close to written on all of them, but there is time….); don’t I ever get a break and just enjoy a beer I actually like?
Anyway, due to the amount of tastings I have done, I regret to say that I will be off beer for awhile in attempts to get myself in summertime beach shape. Hey, being a single, XX-ish middle ager, I need to bring my A-game to the dating scene.
So to cap this off for a bit, I decided to write about a strange but amazing new beer trend; breakfast beer.
Yes. Breakfast beer. Now this is not necessarily beer you drink FOR breakfast. It is more about beer that uses breakfast food overtones. Things like bacon flavor, pork, coffee, etc. All this nuanced flavor poured into an imperial stout.
Why an imperial stout? Well, as I said in an earlier post, the stout/porter is the best beer to provide that flavor backdrop to all of this experimentation.
So let’s delve into five of these breakfast of champions:
1. Beer of Breakfast - Dogfish Head
7.4% ABV 30 IBU
Let’s start off with a trusted and true brewery, Dogfish Head out of Delaware. Their distribution is great; they reach from the Northeast to the Northwest and to the Southwest. Good work Dogfish Head distributor! Anyway, there is good reason why they have such a wide reach….they make very good beer. And this one is definitely one of my favorite. Beer for Breakfast is not just a standard coffee stout. Sure, it has some of that taste in it. But it also has some pork overtones as well. Sounds a bit weird, I know. But trust me, it works. 7.4% is lower on the ABV scale for these type of brews, but that is perfectly fine. I mean, do you really need 10%+ on every beer you have? If so, you have a problem.
2. Breakfast of Crows - Skookum
10% ABV N/A IBU
This one is very different from the previous; even with the name ‘Breakfast of Crows’ (a not-so-subtle allusion to the 4th book of the Game of Thrones series), one would expect some coffee flavor in it. But…not so much. This is a barrel-aged stout that had more chocolate than coffee. It was sweeter than you would think, almost like syrup rather than a coffee bean. This reminds me more of a barley wine. No biggie though. It still is a fine brew. With a 10% ABV, it has some real octane to it.
3. Imperial Mexican Biscotti Cake Break - Evil Twin
10.5% ABV 60 IBU
This beer is really not a breakfast stout, but breakfast stouts aren’t that ubiquitous quite yet. OK, I guess that is code for I haven’t had 5 of these yet, but anyway…… I want to include this one in here because a) it has a funny long name that is based on food, b) the word ‘break’ is in the name c) it is an amazing beer. Evil Twin, remember, is not really a brewery. It is some guy (who literally has a twin) who trots around from brewery to brewery, rents out their equipment, and goes to work. And his work is almost always excellent. This one is his best. IMBCB is deep, chocolaty, and strong as hell. Honestly, even with the 10%+, you still want more. This is just about the best beer around. However it is hard to find. Other than it is distributed as a seasonal, this Evil Twin guy doesn’t always repeat his process. So if you find this anywhere, get it!! You will not regret it.
4. Dragon’s Milk - New Holland
11% ABV 31 IBU
Again, not really a breakfast beer. Hey, it is hard finding these guys. But this has the word ‘Milk’ in it, so it is sort of in the same ballpark. Anyway, Dragon’s Milk is a standard Imperial Stout; aged, bourbon aftertaste, and is very very very very OK. The reality about all of these types of beers is that they are strong, they take a lot of time to brew, they cost a bit more, and they are delicious. Dragon’s Milk is not the best of these types of beer. But it is better than what you are drinking right now. Well, unless you have a Mexican Biscotti Cake on you. I don’t know much about New Holland. They are from Michigan, Michigan is very ahead of the game in the craft beer world, and I guess I wold expect more. Not bad New Holland, but I’ll choose New Belgium over you.
5. Kentucky Breakfast Stout - Founders
12.4% ABV 70 IBU
OK, here is the OBS of the group (original breakfast stout). There maybe have been some that predate this one, but this is the one that I heard about first, this is the one that has a bit of a following from years past, and it is the first beer that pops up when you Google ‘breakfast beer’. Founders, out of Michigan, has been around for awhile, however recently has expanded their distribution to places like Washington and California. Some of their stuff is good, but not this one. No sirree. This one is VERY good. So very good to the point where it is excellent! This one is very much like the ‘Beer for Breakfast’; pork overtones, coffee flavor, etc. But this one is even better. Maybe because the people at Founders have had multiple iterations of this therefore have perfected their recipe. Regardless, this is just a great beer. Too bad they brew it sparingly. Why does all the good beer come in such limited quantities?