The rich, roasted flavors of porters and stouts are a natural match for the flavors in coffee, and there is no shortage of craft brews with coffee additions. One standout local example of the marriage of bean and barley is the chocolate-hued Coffee Porter from Torrance's Smog City Brewing Co.
Each batch of the robust porter is cold-infused with nearly 100 pounds of fresh beans from the local Groundwork Coffee roaster (once known as Groundwork Coffee Porter; only the name, not the recipe, has changed), and you can smell every last bean in the bottled beer. It smells like a batch of coffee still warm from the roaster. The flavor is equally coffee-forward with a harmony of subtle cocoa and caramel notes. A touch of acidity suggests an iced cup of cold-brewed coffee, and the creamy, weighty mouth-feel ensures that the flavors linger on the tongue. Each sip finishes with all the bitterness of a cup of joe, but there's a pleasant and very subtle woody hop character under all those roasted flavors that rounds out the brew.
There is a lot of flavor packed into Coffee Porter, but the 6% alcohol brew isn't overpowering. It is balanced and drinkable, and it's versatile with food, from barbecue to mole to all manner of desserts.
Style: Robust porter with coffee
Price: About $8 for a 500 milliliter bottle
Where to find it: The Smog City Brewery tap room in Torrance, (310) 320-7664; Melrose Wine and Spirits in Los Angeles, (323) 651-4766; Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach, (310) 540-1221; and bottle shops across Los Angeles.