Beer and coffee in one bottle? What a time to be alive!


WHICH is better – coffee or beer?

Please. There is no way I’m getting involved in that debate. For as many centuries as both have been around, it’s taken until now for someone clever to put them together in one bottle. Let’s hear it for Boston Breweries and Deluxe Coffeeworks who have put their collective heads together and come up with  Black River Coffee Stout.

It’s exactly what it sounds like: a jet-black brew with a toffee coloured head with an unmistakable aroma of perfectly roasted coffee beans. With a hint of delicious malt in the background, this is a taste-bud activating scent that invites that deep first sip.

A caffeinated beer? “Absolutely!” says Chris Barnard, chief brewer and MD of innovative Boston Breweries craft brewing company. “This is a stout: a drink that is to be savoured rather than chugged. It is the perfect evening drink, and is ideal at meal time too. It’s a fantastic accompaniment to sweeter foods, and the subtle carbonation makes it perfect to cleanse palates after creamy dishes.”

Judd Nicolay, co-founder and operations manager of Deluxe Coffeeworks is in agreement. “Black River Coffee Stout fits the Deluxe Coffee profile to perfection. We are passionate about coffee and we think this is good enough reasons for us to do what we do: roast, supply and serve coffee in the best way we know how. In Black River Coffee Stout our coffee taste is brilliantly captured, and we are proud to be collaborating with Boston Breweries on this great stout.”

While I’m partial to a cup of three of coffee in the morning, my beer-drinking days are few and far between. Therefore I called in someone dedicated to the enjoyment of both brews to give me his expert opinion. I artfully poured the beverage into the appropriate glass, and served it to Marcel The Magician. This is what he had to say:

“As a beer drinker and a coffee drinker, I start every morning with coffee – no sugar. It certainly has that coffee feel to it and is not overly sweet. I don’t like sweet coffees.”

He took another sip. “That’s really nice. It’s got that chocolatey flavour to it and it’s also got the Pilsner hops in it and I’m a big Pilsner drinker so I like the bitterness of it.

Pause for another lip-smacking sip (Marcel was taking this very seriously).

“It’s not too fizzy, which is also quite a challenge sometimes,” he continued. “It’s definitely got quite a bitter aftertaste to it. It’s very drinkable. Sometimes when you drink a very fizzy light beer you kinda take a couple and you feel overfull. This one you can carry on drinking…these four aren’t going to last very long…”

This was all done in the name of friendship and research because Marcel says he doesn’t often try new beers: “There’s not a lot I like. Oftentimes I go ‘let me try this ale’ or ‘let me try this lager’ or whatever, or do a beer tasting and I’m like ‘nah, I’ll go back to my old stuff’. This is something which makes me go ‘yeah, this fits’.

The big question though: would Marcel buy it in a pub or a bottle store?

“If it is competitively priced as a home beer, yes I would consider it. But I’m not that person who buys craft beers to go to a braai. But if I was at a pub, and I could buy this or I could buy (insert other beer brand here) I reckon I’d go with this. What’s the alcohol content of this?”

Five percent, in case you’re wondering. The fact Deluxe coffee is displayed on the bottle – also positively influenced Marcel’s review.

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