November 16th, 2010

The First Sip: Babies and Barley

Greetings again, faithful craft beer enthusiasts! First of all, I give my apologies for a late second rendition of what was intended to be a semi-regular article. The wife gave birth to our first child last week and with all the nervousness, excitement, stress and sleep deprivation… The First Sip just kept getting put on the back-burner. Sad as it is, the sleep deprivation was the inspiration for this edition of TFS! Everyone, say “Hello!” to one of my favorite beers, Real Ale Brewing Company’s Shade Grown Coffee Porter out of Blanco, Texas. This beer is the ultimate merger of artisan coffee and craft beer (hipsters rejoice). It is Real Ale’s Fall seasonal beer, so expect to see it on the shelves right now.

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The company describes the beer as, “A rich, robust porter with a dry finish. Brewed with organic barley and organic fair trade coffee from Katz Coffee Roasters. Savor the subtle coffee flavor of this irresistible ale.” You coffee enthusiasts may be familiar with Katz, but for those who aren’t, here’s a quick snippet from their website: “Founded in 2003, Katz Coffee is a small-batch, custom roasting operation based in Houston, Texas. Katz Coffee creates and roasts custom and proprietary blends for many of Houston’s most highly-acclaimed and discriminating chefs and restaurant owners.”  Bottom line, Real Ale is taking a steadfast stand on bringing some really high quality coffee to make their beer. I’ve had a coffee beer made with Folgers before… trust me when I say there is a big difference!  Commitment to the best ingredients is what really makes craft beer great.

Nothing goes quite as well with a crisp cool Autumn night like a blend of coffee and the richness of a robust porter. I’ve even brought it to tailgates to start my morning off with just the right blend of coffee and beer! This is the type of brew that you can probably give a beer novice to entice them into trying some flavors they may not have traditionally associated with this alcoholic beverage. It is full bodied, but not overly filling as it finishes nice and dry. The flavor is rich with dark beer notes of roast and dark chocolate with a pronounced, yet not aggressive, coffee overtones. Bottom line, if you like beer and you like coffee, you’ll probably enjoy this Texas made treasure! As always, don’t be afraid to give something new a try. Feel free to drop me a comment or a message if you would like me to review a specific beer.

Until next time, stay crafty, my friends!

— Jeff

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