It’s official. When the thermometer dips to 47 degrees in San Diego, we locals want to stay curled up under our barely used down comforter and Target flannel reindeer sheets and blissfully snooze the day away. But rise we must. Luckily, we craft beer fanatics are equally smitten with our local coffee roaster Svengalis.
Like Bugs Bunny to the wafting aroma of carrots, we crowd coffee houses on chilly mornings like Italians pack in corner cafes for their 10 daily shots of espresso. So naturally, the collaboration of local coffee roasters and craft breweries is a marriage made in a Jack White meets Barry White liquid heaven.
“I love when local breweries collaborate with local roasters to create a unique brew that brings multiple local businesses together,” said Edwin Real, founder of Eating and Drinking in San Diego and a local coffee and craft beer enthusiast. “We have world-class breweries in San Diego, but our coffee industry, while much smaller than craft beer, has received national recognition.”
Here are your top coffee-craft beer fixes:
Stone Coffee Milk Stout (with Ryan Bros.) 5 percent ABV: Creamy and delicious, with a touch of sweetness, Stone marries two local favorites like a perfectly poured latte. Don’t forget to also try their new release, Xocoveza, an “insanely delicious take on Mexican hot chocolate” with pasilla peppers, coffee, cocoa, vanilla and spices. Perfect for holiday parties and gifts for beer lovers.
Modern Times Black House Oatmeal Coffee Stout (with house-roasted coffee) 5.8 percent ABV: These groundbreakers in craft beer roast their own coffee in house for their year-round release, using 75 percent Ethiopian and 25 percent Sumatran coffee varietals. Try it on nitro, and don’t forget their special release Mega Black House, a 10 percent ABV imperial version. If you are feeling extra adventurous, they even have their brewing recipe on their website.
Ballast Point Victory at Sea imperial porter with coffee and vanilla (with Caffe Calabria) 10 percent ABV: Using cold-brew coffee, this legendary beer is among San Diego beer drinkers’ favorites. Don’t miss Victory at Sea Day on Dec. 20, at all four locations, with 15 variations, a number of coffee-supporting additions sure to be among the ranks.
Alesmith Speedway Stout (with Ryan Bros.), 12 percent ABV: My forever favorite nightcap beer, this whopper is worth every percentage point. The Speedway is a San Diego classic and one of the first locally to combine craft beer and coffee. Think notes of dark chocolate, toffee, dried fruits, and of course, exceptional roasted coffee.
Coronado Blue Bridge Coffee Stout (with Cafe Moto) 5.4 percent ABV: The power-pack dose of local coffee cleverly fools the drinker into thinking it’s a higher ABV. Happily, with its lower dose, you can enjoy more than one. Like shots of espresso.
Fall Brewing 2 a.m. Bike Ride (with Dark Horse) 5.0 percent ABV: This coffee and vanilla bean stout is worth any bike or car ride to Fall. Although not at 2 a.m. Roasty, toasty and perfectly low in alcohol, it’s primed for our “winter” season.
Pizza Port Bacon & Eggs breakfast coffee imperial porter (with Bird Rock Roasters) 9.5 percent ABV: This award-winning, ultra-satisfying wonder beer was the brainchild of Yiga Miyashiro, former brewmaster. You can continue to find it on draft at PP locations. Think chocolate, maple syrup, molasses and vanilla.