Sometimes, I just want beer and coffee at the same time, not because I enjoy being wired and inebriated simultaneously, just as my Four Loko-loving college-aged brethren do, but because beer and coffee both have a relaxing quality that is unmatched.
Unfortunately, bringing a six-pack into Starbucks is strongly discouraged (but not wine . . .), and taking alternating sips from your coffee cup and pint glass at the pub gets you weird looks from the ladies. Luckily, Speedway Stout, an imperial stout out from AleSmith in San Diego, combines the best of both worlds.
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Crashing in with an ABV of 12 percent, Speedway goes a step farther than most coffee-flavored stouts and porters (which derive their flavor from roasted malts) and includes an unspecified amount of ground coffee in the brewing process.
The result is an intimidatingly dark beer that pours smoothly, leaves very little head, and is surprisingly light and easy to drink. The coffee flavor dominates: the beer is reminiscent of a freshly brewed iced coffee with hints of chocolate and caramel. It finishes with just a tinge of alcohol, which helps to cut the richness of the flavor and reminds you that you are drinking something that will actually get you drunk. It leaves you feeling warm, though whether that's because of the alcohol or the coffee, I'm not sure. The small amount of caffeine is enough to sharpen your senses, but it's nowhere near as strong as whatever you start your day with.
Speedway Stout is best accompanied by cold weather, rain and an attractive member of your preferred sex.