Love coffee? Love beer? Then this list is right for you. I’ve assembled a list of the best of the best, curated by a certified beer-ista.
From smooth dark roasts to espresso-packed goodness, this list contains a varied collection of brews for you to try out. Coffee beers might not be as common as other varieties, but they can deliver some of the most unique tastes around. Just think of the famed Irish coffee.
What makes these beers even better? Many of these local breweries have crafted positive social change in addition to their delicious drinks. Of course, that isn’t necessarily going to be a deciding factor when deciding on a beer to drink. Ingredients and taste tend to be at the forefront of most drinkers’ minds.
Ballast Point Victory at Sea
I loved embracing Ballast Point’s California vibes but was particularly drawn in part because of its story.
In 1996, a motley crew of homebrewers came together to make beer. But they didn’t aim to make any old brew.
This porter contains everything you love about cold-brew coffee—the barely-there acidity, the complex notes of roasted coffee—but these elements come together with the caramel undertones of the brew to create a truly delicious beer.
Tasting this delicious drink made me appreciate why they call this brew Victory at Sea. Drinking it, I certainly felt like a winner.
Sixpoint is a self-described cult brewery based out of Brooklyn. They aim to take creative leaps, ensuring that every ale incorporates new and strange unfiltered ingredients.
Unsurprisingly, Sixpoint has many unique ales on the market. Their Mad Sipper, for instance, uses Mike’s Hot Honey, lemon peel, and peppercorns.
Their C.R.E.A.M. ale is no different. For a smooth-drinking coffee beer with an intriguing depth, I found this ale to be a delight.
Unfortunately, C.R.E.A.M. can be hard to come by, with many sources claiming that it’s been retired. Still, I’m optimistic that I didn’t have a one-off experience with it and that the brew pops up again.
Surly Coffee Bender
Minnesota-based Surly Brewing’s mission to bring two great things together led to another of our favorite coffee beers.
When crafting this beer, Surly uses local Guatemalan coffee in combination with their house oatmeal brown ale.
From my experience, this is a beer you want to savor. Its rich notes and coffee tones make it a beer and coffee-lovers dream.
Cigar City Cubano Espresso
Coffee aficionados will rejoice when tasting Cigar City’s Cubano Espresso.
It brings together all the malty goodness of their English-style brown ale with the Cuban-style espresso beans roasted locally in Tampa.
If you haven’t been lucky enough to try a Cafe Cubano, you need to add it to your list. This drink is a blend of strong Cuban espresso, topped with thick, heavenly cream.
Whenever I visit Tampa, I can’t help but indulge in this drink, so I didn’t hesitate to try out this coffee beer.
Cigar City’s Cubano Espresso is the best of both worlds. With notes of malted milk, chocolate, and fresh-ground coffee beans, you can expect this beer to delight the senses.
Firestone Walker Mocha Merlin
Firestone Walker Mocha Merlin is perfect for a cold winter evening.
Cozy up with someone special and enjoy this stout, infused with dark coffee and hints of chocolate.
This seasonal beer is crafted partly from their signature Velvet Merlin oatmeal stout. I sampled this beer on a very cold day and instantly felt my weary spirits lifted.
So, if you’re waiting out a blizzard or gearing up for venturing into the snow, the Mocha Merlin has just the magic you need.
Can’t wait for the winter to get your hands on this brew? Try their Nitro Merlin Milk Stout.
Founder’s Breakfast Stout
This breakfast stout may become a routine part of my morning routine (or at least my evening).
Unlike other brews on this list, Founder’s Breakfast Stout uses two types of coffee to create an even more complex flavor.
I recommend pairing it with bitter chocolates to really bring this hardy stout into its own for even the most selective coffee connoisseurs.
Founders is one of the fastest-growing breweries in the country. Their brews are frequently awarded and ranked highly.
Funky Buddha Maple Bacon Coffee Porter
Maple? Bacon? Coffee? Porter? Well, I was initially skeptical of Funky Buddha’s coffee porter.
Surely, I thought, this combination would be too powerful.
Just kidding. I was into this breakfast beer from the start. The notes of maple syrup and smokey bacon further add to this coffee porter’s complexity. Overall, this brew is a breakfast lover’s dream.
Of course, you can enjoy this porter at any time. In my opinion, this is an excellent option to unwind at the end of the day.
Goose Island Bourbon County
Goose Island’s Bourbon County is a true wonder. This beer is brewed in bourbon barrels from local distilleries for almost a year.
I found this beer had a beautiful balance of coffee, bourbon, and beer, and it certainly packs a punch.
At 14% APV, this line of stouts is one of the best coffee beers on the market. Even if the APV isn’t appealing, Bourbon County stouts combine flavors of chocolate and vanilla, with a beautiful edge of whiskey.
This stout is perfect for coffee lovers who enjoy a splash of something stronger in their morning brew.
Left Hand Milk Stout
When I tried Left Hand’s Milk Stout, I enjoyed the slightly sweet, very creamy coffee beer.
It maintains a robust depth of flavor, and if you take your coffee with milk and sugar, you’ll love this stout.
The added milk sugar gives this brew a full body with indulgent creaminess and notes of chocolate, freshly brewed coffee, and roasted malt.
These combine to make a satisfying brew perfect for sweet tooths and coffee lovers.
I’m also a fan of Left Hand Brewing for its story. They embrace innovative, pioneering developments like canned nitro beers. Moreover, they’ve helped raise millions in the fight to cure MS.
Modern Times Black House
If you’re passionate about coffee, then I recommend Modern Times.
They are one of the only breweries in the world that roasts the coffee that goes into their beer.
If you’re a craft beer aficionado and a coffee lover, Modern Times Black House will rock your world.
Modern Times drew inspiration for its name from the utopian community built on Long Island in 1850.
And, it’s no exaggeration to say this drink is a veritable utopia if you love your coffee beers tasting like chocolate-covered espresso beans. I certainly did.
Santa Fe Brewing Java Stout
Santa Fe is nicknamed “The City Different” for a reason. Full of unique locals and landscapes, it’s no surprise this city also comes with an incredible imperial stout.
Its Java Stout is made with locally roasted, organic coffee beans. This hearty drink left an immediate impression on me, so get ready for its sudden flavors.
What makes Santa Fe Brewing even more special? Their commitment to sustainability.
Its first brewery was constructed from up-cycled parts. Solar energy powers its current home.
Stone Brewing Xocoveza Stout
Stone Brewing’s Xocoveza Stout has a truly unique flavor profile.
Based on Mexican hot chocolate, this brew brings a bit of heat to its notes of coffee and chocolate.
I drank this prepared, so found the mild chili, cinnamon, and nutmeg-infused spiciness to be a welcome treat.
Want more to love? Stone Brewing’s gargoyle mascot might seem off-putting, but it’s to keep away evil spirits.
He will protect your brews and the good vibes. And beer as good as this is worth protecting.
Terrapin Wake-n-Bake Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout
Some duos are truly iconic. Coffee and beer, for instance. In Georgia, one iconic duo is Terrapin and Jittery Joe’s coffee.
The iconic coffee house and hometown brewery combined forces to craft Wake-N-Bake. This coffee oatmeal imperial stout combines two of the must-stop spots in Athens.
It packs all the coffee flavor into this stout, and I particularly appreciated its balance and creaminess.
To make this brewery a triple threat, they’ve also added robust sustainability measures to their company, including an innovative Wastewater Pretreatment Facility.
It contributes to the improved quality of the local water supply. So with every sip you take, you’re protecting the environment.
Toppling Goliath Mornin’ Delight
Toppling Goliath’s Mornin’ Delight is the perfect antidote to the Monday blues.
Brewed with espresso and maple syrup, this glorious stout made my day when I tried it out.
Mornin’ Delight is consistently ranked one of the top beers in America–and with good reason.
From the first sip to the last, you’ll enjoy the rich flavor of this brew. Come for the coffee. Stay for the maple syrup.
What makes this brew even sweeter? Toppling Goliath actively works to make the world a better place.
The brewery supports Breast Cancer Awareness, helps local animal shelters, and leads programs focused on empowering women.
Twisted Pine Big Shot Espresso Stout
Another top-ranked beer on this list is Twisted Pine’s Big Shot Espresso Stout.
This beer’s rich flavor is reminiscent of coffee from a French press. If you’re a dedicated coffee connoisseur (like me!) aiming for the core flavor of coffee beans, this beer is for you.
I was impressed by the sharp acidity of Peruvian beans that cut through the full-bodied beer. Who needs a latte when you can have something this tasty?
For an interesting aside, this brew has been blessed by Colorado legend, The Unseen Bean. You can taste the magic.