Peak Organic Espresso Amber Ale

Peak Organic Brewing Co., Portland, Maine
Espresso Amber Ale
Amber Ale brewed with Fairtrade coffee beans
7% ABV
12 oz. bottle into mug

When it’s bacon and eggs for dinner, you no longer have to reach for a breakfast stout. Instead, you could pour this bizarrely inspired espresso amber ale. It sounds peculiar, but works unexpectedly well. Instead of dark burnt notes of a stout, this beer has an upfront malty and coffee nose. The combination reminds me of the smell of day-old coffee grinds sitting in the compost. Like that off-sweet, old-coffee compost smell, the aroma is pleasant in a familiar way. It recalls that great cup of coffee you had this morning (or yesterday, or the day before…) and confirms that you are a good environmentally conscientious citizen who keeps a compost pile.

The finish is also intensely reminiscent of coffee grounds rather than coffee– like the sludge at the bottom of a french press, or the last bitter taste of a chocolate covered espresso bean.


~ by nininja on January 18, 2010.

2 Responses to “Peak Organic Espresso Amber Ale”

  1. that sounds delicious!!

  2. Ok. When I first read this it sounded so horrible I vowed never to be coaxed into tasting it, “organic” label or not. I demurred from commenting out of respect for the enthusiasm in the above comment. But Peak has something even more awful-sounding, that other abomination you reviewed. So they don’t care; they’re part of the American beer avant-garde I suppose. But, since you were so generous as to pour me one and have me guess at what it is I now feel obliged to respond.

    “Espresso” is a misnomer, unless “soot”, “charred by fire”, or “partly carbonized” are espresso’s only characteristics. There’s no creaminess or rounded scent to this at all. There’s no subtle fruitiness from the coffee either; it just skews to burnt. Coffee-“enhanced” beers rarely get this balance right (Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast being the only exception I know)– and this was the worst violator of them all. The sootiness–I can’t call this smoky because there are so many wonderful smoky things in the world–affects even the mouthfeel. A mouth full of particulate matter, of some nondescript amber ale polluted by a dark satanic mill–that’s what I get. The lightness of the ale is a funny disjunct, but it just seems perverse.

    And it does not age well out of the bottle. Good beers can still taste good hours later. Seriously. I fell asleep, woke up to some snowplow banging around outside. In the kitchen, there was my 1/2-empty (full?) glass. For the remainder, put down my tasting notes as “bile, hints of vomit”.

    How’s that Traquair House Ale?

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