OK, they're not really for breakfast, but all three of this week's selections are coffee-infused porters. I'm not typically a fan of tricked-up beers, but a deeply flavored porter with a coffee element sounds like just the thing to beat back this icy winter weather. And while it might not be something I'd want to drink everyday, all three make for a nice change of pace.
Big Sky Brewing Cowboy Coffee Porter
This beer pours an opaque ebony with a thin, dark tan head. It reminds me of a well-pulled espresso with a nice crema. The aromas are fairly light, colored by biscuit, coffee grounds, a touch of tobacco and mild mocha. On the palate, the coffee flavor is subdued, blending nicely with toasty malt, caramel and bittersweet chocolate. It's a well-balanced effort from this Missoula, Mont.-based brewery.
Bridgeport Cafe Negro Coffee Infused Porter
From Portland, Ore.'s first craft brewery, this is another dark pour but with a thicker, more persistent froth. It smells like a creamy cappuccino with a nice shaving of dark chocolate. Again, the coffee element has a light presence, just coloring the smooth malt and lightly bitter hops that come through mostly on the finish. There's also a bit of a citrus tang along with hints of soft plum and cocoa.
Kona Pipeline Porter
This limited release from the Aloha State is brewed with 100 percent Kona coffee sourced from a neighboring plantation. It's dark brown in color with a thin froth that collapses quickly, while the aromas are a mix of light coffee and malt with an intriguing wood element. This beer is very smooth in the mouth and is laced with dry malt and herbal hops. While coffee sets the tone, it lurks mostly in the background. The finish echoes the flavors of a chocolate-covered espresso bean.