For his first write-up, Sprudge Beer columnist Jason Dominy tackles a whopping 12% coffee beer from American Solera of Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of the hottest breweries in America right now.
As a former coffee professional (three years at Batdorf & Bronson Atlanta) now deep in the beer world, my outlook on coffee beers is informed by the many similarities between those products: the use of grains, how they’re roasted, yeast differences and how they affect flavors, and how preparation changes the ending flavor results. Today I’m a craft beer aficionado and advocate, teaching about it around Atlanta, talking about it on a craft beer podcast (The Last Beer Show), and attending events all over the country. I’m also known for holding craft beer bottle shares at my own home, some with style themes and some without, but one of my constant favorites is coffee beers, and you can imagine why.
American Solera needs no introduction to beer geeks—it's one of the most talked about new breweries in America right now, due in no small part to the profile of its founder, Chase Healey. He's previously the founder of Prairie Artisan Ales with his brother Colin; the duo sold the brand to Krebs Brewing in 2016, with Chase stepping away to launch American Solera shortly thereafter.
American Solera primarily focuses on sours and wild ales, having recently brewed with Texas brewery Jester King and “gypsy brewer” Evil Twin. In just their first year of public release, the brewery took home big awards (including Best New Brewery in the United States) at the 2016 RateBeer Best Awards.
And the beer? This tasty stout is perfectly balanced between the coffee and chocolate, and the body is syrupy-thick with a crema-like head. The coffee flavor isn’t roasty like a lot of other coffee stouts, landing somewhere more in the range of tasting slightly fruity. That's in no small part due to the coffee in play here, a natural processed Maragogipe from Ariel Montoya at Hacienda El Boton in Bolivar, Colombia. That approach to coffee processing—the “natural” process, in which gravity and time pull the flesh of the coffee cherry off the coffee seed we then roast—can yield big, sometimes wild fruit flavors. The roaster involved in the collaboration, Tulsa's Double Shot, claims it was the first natural-processed Colombian coffee brought in to the United States. So, you know, a rare beer with some rare coffee, that's pretty awesome.
As a coffee beer lover I have to say, the depth of American Solera's stout paired with the natural fruit of this coffee makes for one of the most well-balanced coffee stouts out there right now. I will also mention that this is a pretty rare beer—beer people are laughing at this understatement—but suffice to say, Sprudge readers can't go buy this one at their local beer shop. In future columns I'll mix in stuff that's a bit more accessible, but for now, don't miss this great beer if you can get yourself anywhere near Tulsa—yes, it is worth the trip, and the wait in line.
Jason Dominy is a content marketing specialist at Pardot, co-host of The Last Beer Podcast, and freelance writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. This is Jason Dominy's first feature for Sprudge Media Network.