Undistributed beer of the week: Coffee pale ale from Bay City Brewing

There can only be one undistributed beer of the week. The competition is fierce in San Diego’s beer community, but someone has to take the title. This week’s best undistributed beer is...


Style: Pale ale

ABV: 6 percent ABV

Pair with: Cheesecake

This tasty, coffee-based brew comes to us from Christopher West, head brewer at Bay City Brewing Co. The coffee pale ale is one of the regulars available on tap at Bay City that is approachable enough for beer-beginners and delicious enough to make seasoned beer lovers swoon. West and an old friend, John Herrmann of Swell Coffee Co., recognized that their respective arts of coffee and beer could allow them to craft a stellar collaboration brew. So that’s just what they did.

The duo experimented with a coffee cupping session in order to find the perfect bean and hop combination for this beer. The team at Bay City decided upon a coffee bean from El Salvador and the Finca San Antonio farms and El Dorado hops.

“In order to make this beer taste right, we had to consider which bean and hop would pair best together so that it wasn’t weird and one wasn’t dominating the other,” West said. “We look for a lighter roast coffee with unique fruit, citrus or berry flavors and then choose a hop that we think can complement the coffee.”

While many of us have enjoyed sipping on a coffee-flavored porter or stout, the style of this particular coffee beer is what makes it unique. West wanted to try something different in order to allow the hops and coffee beans to shine through fully. He utilized a pale ale beer base that keeps the beer from being too dark or roasty. This beer is not at all chocolatey or thick, it is light and refreshing for a coffee beer.

The nose on this bed is all coffee, there’s no question about what you’re about to dive into. There is a dank quality, an earthiness to this brew you’ll get upon tasting from the fragrant hops. The flavors play together wonderfully and it’s easy to tell that there was some meaningful thought behind the choices for this brew. You can’t just throw any mix of beans, hops and malts together in such a delicate beer.

“It’s also a pleasure to work with an equally passionate and hard-working roaster like Herrmann, whose knowledge of both coffee and beer is the main reason we’ve done four different editions of this beer (trying different coffee and hop combinations) and why each (beer) has been more successful than the last,” West said.

It’s not Naughty Sauce (a sweet milk stout from Noble Ale Works) and it’s not Calm Before the Storm (a cream ale from Ballast Point) - it’s truly its own awesome taste and creation that is easy to drink more than one of without getting burnt out on the pallet. Cheers to that.

This beer is currently available to try on tap at Bay City Brewing Co. Get it while its cold!

3760 Hancock St., Point Loma