Glassware: If a beer is said to have coffee as an ingredient the first area it should be sensed is in the aroma. Glassware that traps the rich coffee notes and allows the beer to warm to room temperature is best. Spiegelau makes a fantastic stout glass, but is not widely available due to its fragility. A snifter or nonic pint glass are the best choices of glassware and are available at any craft beer bar.
Description: Espressway Cold Brew Coffee Stout pours a rich black color with a creamy dark beige head that leaves traces of lacing on the glass. The aroma is filled with rich notes of fresh roasted coffee with subtle backing notes of chocolate, roasted malts and herbal hops. The taste follows the nose with coffee being the most present, but in a more subdued and balanced manner. The coffee is smooth and not astringent or overly bitter and the backing notes of subtle chocolate and herbal hops provide perfect balance and make for an incredible stout. The medium body and low/moderate carbonation impart a rich mouthfeel that is smooth and just what you would want from a stout. While this is not a beer that bludgeons your palate with aggressive coffee flavors, it is a beer that will deliver the perfect amount of coffee flavors backed with classic flavors and aromas of a stout.
Food pairing: A well-brewed stout is a great workhorse beer with a variety of courses. Espressway is certainly a well brewed stout. It is the perfect beer for a weekend brunch and pairs great with pancakes, crepes, eggs Benedict or a fluffy omelet. The rich coffee flavors are always a welcome flavor with any breakfast foods while the subtle notes of chocolate serve to enhance any great brunch. Espressway is a great stout to pair with a hearty steak and to make it an even better pairing, try a coffee rubbed steak. The iron-rich meat will melt into the coffee flavors and roasted malt notes for a truly decadent meal. Finally, as with all stouts, this is a perfect beer to pair with desserts. The perfect balance and lack of strong sweetness makes Espressway an especially wonderful dessert pairing as the sweetness from the two do not reach into cloying territory. Try pairing Espressway with tiramisu, vanilla cheesecake, German chocolate cake, vanilla bean or coffee flavored ice cream and double chocolate brownies. No matter what dessert you choose to pair Espressway with, the beer will add a counterpoint and make for an incredible end to any meal.
The Final Word: Two Roads Brewing is relatively new to our area, but the brewery has long had an established reputation for well-balanced flavorful beers. The Connecticut-based brewery has an extensive beer portfolio and regardless of the style, one thing is certainly true of its beers, they are flavorful and brewed to perfection. Espressway checks all of the boxes you would want from a coffee stout without going overboard on any particular ingredient. The addition of cold brewed coffee, as opposed to adding it in another form, adds a smooth body to the beer and imparts a strong coffee taste without an abundance of bitterness. Espressway is the perfect stout to enjoy any day of the year regardless of the season. If you are a lover of coffee or stouts this is an absolute must try beer!
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewer: Two Roads Brewing Company
Beer: Espressway Cold Brew Coffee Stout
Style: Oatmeal Stout
ABV: 6 %