Last week I saw a new beer at Groppi's Market (perhaps it fell off the back of a truck...) called Oscura. It's brewed under the auspices of the Furthermore brewery, and it features a strong coffee flavor.
Probably too strong - at least for someone like me, who doesn't drink coffee. (So why'd I buy the beer? Because I do sometimes like a bit of coffee flavoring, and anyway, it's beer.) My first bottle of the stuff, I'm thinking, I don't know...that coffee flavor's maybe a bit too intense. I thought I'd get used to it though.
Next bottle, I decided no, it really is a bit much. But then it occurred to me: coffee drinkers who aren't Henry Rollins sometimes wimp out and mix stuff into their coffee, so...why can't I do the same? As it happened, I had a bottle of Breckenridge Brewery's Vanilla Porter on hand (its vanilla flavoring is just the right side of too much, by the way - which is to say it drinks wonderfully and goes down very smooth indeed), and I thought its sweet profile might moderate the bitter edge of Oscura's coffee flavor.
So the next night, I mixed the two. At first I thought I'd favor the Oscura, to not utterly overwhelm its flavor, but as it turned out, that flavor was quite strong, and I ended up adding the entire bottle of Vanilla Porter to it. Since I added it gradually, and drank some of the beer along the way, in fact the final mix in my glass would have been slightly more Vanilla Porter than Oscura. Still, Oscura's coffee notes were loud and clear.
How'd it work? Reasonably well...the coffee flavor was dialed down a bit, and the resulting blended beer drank pretty well. However, not a total success: unlike classic beer mixes like the Black & Tan, the flavors here don't quite blend alchemically to create a new and fresh third flavor. So, not something I'd do regularly, and although I'm guessing coffee lovers will enjoy the Oscura, I probably won't buy another six-pack.