New Year, New Brew

Sheesh, I feel like it has been forever since I posted. My last post was last year (insert sound byte of applause). Glad I got that one out, I have been trying to use it on customers and they are not fond of it, they chuckle but I can tell it’s out of pity.

Every year people do this thing where they resolve to be better and then give in by summer. They resolve to be kinder, to donate more, to stop biting their nails, to finally fix that gutter that leaks on the side of the house, or, my personal favorite, the whole “new year, new you” gym membership explosion. If I want to change I will do it and it being a different number on the calendar has nothing to do with it. So since I won’t be changing this year I thought of what else wouldn’t be changing for many people. I leaned back (not far, my work stool has no back) and sighed, feeling the warmth from the freshly brewed coffee in my hands spread up my arms to my neurons in my brain creating potential energy that fired when I took that first luscious sip. Coffee. That was it. No matter how many years go by that is the one consistency many people maintain from year to year.

I thought about my life and how coffee played a roll in it. Honestly, I prefer tea most of the time, but coffee my darlings… coffee is to me what pickles with peanut butter are to a pregnant woman at three in the morning: pure, heavenly bliss. So I resolved to make everyone’s first week of 2018 just a bit better by introducing my Top 5 Favorite Coffee Brews.

#1 Oak & Dagger Coole Beans – Brown Ale: 6.3% ABV – No IBU
Out of all the coffee brews I sampled, this one took the venti-iced-double-espresso-soy-macchiato-with-an-extra-pump-of-vanilla cup. This brew has an identity crisis, and I am not saying that because I drank beer that tasted like iced coffee from a wine glass when I first sampled this. No. I am saying this because if I were to do a blind taste test between this and a nitro iced coffee I truly am not sure if I could know the difference. If I were still in college and wanted to misbehave I would probably sneak this into a football game disguised as coffee in a mug. This binary brew is a cold brew in both senses of the term (but only if you pull it out of the fridge).

#2 Aviator Mezzanote – Porter: 5.4% ABV – No IBU

This brew takes me back to my time in the succulent and delectable cities of Italy. The Italian lifestyle is one I wish to emulate as I age in this world. In Italy they have a saying that each Italian lives their days by, “La dolce far niente,” which translates to “the sweetness of doing nothing.” I decided to try this while indulging myself on brews of a sweet nature and fell in love. This brew immediately transported me back to sitting in the Piazza del Campo in Siena on a warm June day with that crisp tuscan breeze that always seems to blow cooling my fresh pressed cappuccino while I placated my hunger with a slice of tiramisu. It was at this moment when I realized that this motto of living life the Italians so cherished was essentially a form a meditation. So when you take a sip of this brew I advise you lean back, prop your feet up and close your eyes while you take your first sip enjoying the sweetness of doing nothing.

#3 Dragon’s Milk Reserve Mocha Mint – Stout: 11% ABV – 31 IBU
I went into sampling this brew with no intentions of liking it. The brew touts flavors of mocha and peppermint, however, all I can bring myself to think when I hear the word “peppermint” is that one time in second grade I choked on one of those round peppermints and the teacher thought I was messing around and didn’t help me… sorry, I was reliving that childhood terror. Anyhoo, needless to say I was surprised when (rather than confronting my pallet with that familiar nightmare peppermint flavor) I was pleasantly swooped up on a boat of chocolate roasted mocha coffee with a hint of mint. This brew gives me more the cute and comforting Girl Scout Thin Mint vibe than the choking to death on a $.10 mint terror.

#4 Ballast Point Victory at Sea – Porter: 10% ABV – 60 IBU
This brew combines two of my favorite scents: fresh pressed coffee and whole, natural vanilla beans. Ballast Point is native to California, the sunshine state where everything is so overdone it sometimes is just the right amount of done (take Hollywood for example). They used Caffe Calabria Coffee Beans and whole vanilla beans to create a smooth, rich and velvety flavor akin to an iced coffee with vanilla syrup. The malt of the porter also brings out the bitterness of the beans, which offsets that alluring vanilla that washes over your palette. I’m sure many Hollywood men would agree, the flavor is similar to the attitude of their first wife. And probably their second too.

#5 Hi-Wire Strongman Coffee Milk Stout – Stout: 5.3 % ABV – No IBU
This brew like strong Russian man with hairy moustache. If you didn’t read that with a terrible Russian accent then this brew isn’t for you. Hi-Wire is like the new brew on the block. They have grown exponentially over the past year since their inception in 2013. Now, they are a common taste on North Carolinian tongues and the good brews just keep coming. This one in particular is aptly named for its heavy, strong coffee flavors that pack a punch. This, like heavy weight lifting, is not for the faint of heart. This brew is so strong it can turn a pre-pubescent young man’s stash into a moustache of such fantastical proportions it could even rival the monopoly man.