Beer geeks and coffee nerds, listen up. Your interests are about to cross-pollinate. For the last four years, hometown heroes Speakeasy Ales & Lagers have been collaborating with Ritual Coffee Roasters to create an infused version of their Payback Porter. For the first time, this annual favorite has been released in 22-ounce bottles, to the tune of just 600 cases.
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To complement the rich, roasty porter, Ritual's bean buyer Steve Ford selected their "Sugar Skull" fall espresso blend. The coffee itself lends acidity and notes of bright berries and mocha. To bring out the flavors in the espresso beans, the brewery decided on a 42-hour cold extraction process. The coarsely ground beans were held at 35 degrees Fahrenheit, ultimately utilizing one pound of coffee per barrel (31 gallons) of beer.
The resulting beer is lush without being too heavy on the palate. Deeply roasted malts are accentuated by the slight acidity in the coffee, yielding a decadent yet quenching beverage. Classic West Coast hop varietals Chinook and Cascade bring a light citrus note that really tie the room together. The dominant aroma is of fudgy iced coffee, with notes of toffee bringing up the rear. If there were ever a beer made for breakfast, this is it.
Speakeasy's Payback Coffee Porter is currently available on shelves at better beer stores around the city. We recommend grabbing some Sugar Skull espresso at Ritual, and brewing it up to compare against the beer. If nothing else, that slightly legitimizes consuming the beer at 9 a.m.