Brewery: Local Option Bierwerker
Style: Amber Ale
Coffee beers are usually darker styles. Stouts, porters, even brown ales, have the malt profile to stand up to the relatively intense flavor contributions of coffee. Lately though, lighter styles have been experimented with, like this amber. I will be honest, it was the name that caught my attention first. Not only is it a slightly crass attention grabbing name, I had also just discussed this same name with a friend for his coffee stout. I guess there are plenty of people with dirty minds like ours! So anyway this beer will obviously have a lot going on. Oaked coffee amber ale is not something you see everyday. In fact I am pretty sure that combo is unique to this particular beer. maybe for good reason? Guess I will find out.
Pours a dirty amberish color. I guess you could call it a red ale, if by red you mean slightly dirty coppery brown. Massive skummy dirty white head that coats the glass in thick rings of lacing. The smell is coffee central, like fresh grounds in the bottom of a french press. Oh or it is like a beer that has sat on a lot of ground coffee. Maybe a touch of oak in the smell, a hint of wood, but also maybe my imagination. The taste is all about the coffee, I really can't taste much of anything else. This was a little cold, so I let it warm hoping that would bring out the nuance. Warmth brings out the oak a bit, but the malt is still mostly hidden. While I usually enjoy a strong coffee presence in my beer, it is just confusing here. An amber should have some definite caramel and maltiness to it, and an amber with oak should really have some nuance. This is a one trick java pony. It does have a nice medium high-ish body, which I like as a lot of these heavy on the coffee beers are a bit watery in the mouth. Long lasting aftertaste with a decent amount of bitterness, which I think might hide the smoother oak tones. A bit of woody vanilla makes it through here and there. All in all a little too overpowering with the coffee, but I enjoy the concept. A darker style might give a few more nuances, or a little less coffee. Mixed bag for me.