A rising trend in craft brewing is the inclusion of coffee. The result of such a marriage is usually a pretty fantastic combination. My problem with it is I’m not supposed to have caffeine.
At the time of being diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome – it’s a heart condition where the electrical charge that pumps the chambers sometimes goes out of sequence causing a stop-start sensation that’s super-scary – not much was known about exacerbating factors. The doctors asked me to join a cardiology study but I was a struggling New Orleans miscreant who was busy trying to find work and trouble.
Given that additional stimulation to the heart probably wasn’t wise when said ticker also has a tendency to go up to triple its normal rate from time to time – also a very scary sensation – the best advice they could give me was increase my potassium and cut caffeine out of my diet.
Well, hang on a second. Didn’t the FDA ban caffeine in alcoholic beverages? Thanks to Frankenstein’s Monster concoctions like 4 Loko and Sparks – cheap, sugary malt beverages with alcohol and caffeine added later – why, yes, they did. Those aren’t beers at all. They’re energy drinks with alcohol, not brewed or fermented for a second.
And there’s the rub. As long as the alcohol and caffeine are naturally occurring, brewers can happily dump the world’s thickest cuppa mud into their beer. This is something me and my spastic Cupid target didn’t know.
This means I’ve been sipping away at coffee beers for a couple of years now under the notion that decaf was the only legal substance usable to impart that sultry, roasty, almost buttery flavor. Does this mean I’m good to go?
Well, don’t break out the Jolt Cola just yet. Just like with the enjoyment of grown-up drinks like beer, all things should be in moderation. I can handle the trace amounts of caffeine found in chocolate and green tea without ill effect. And, as it turns out, the amount of coffee a brewer might add to their beer – whether it’s cold-brewed or a whole-bean soak – is so diluted by the volume of suds that even with the most robust jitter juice out there it can amount to as low as 2 milligrams of caffeine per 12 oz.
Where most are accustomed to seeing dark beers get a coffee kick, 3 Daughters Brewing out of St. Pete gives us coffee blonde ale instead. I’m loving the rise-n-shine, boating double-entendre of their A Wake about as much as I’m loving the beer itself. This glass of hazy gold is topped off with a long-lasting cloud of foam giving off scents of blondie batter, coffee bean, sweet malt and herbal hops. Its extremely light body delivers flavors of salted caramel, fresh cream, hay, earthy hops and iced café au lait. Just enough coffee and hop bitterness manage to stick around in a long, smooth finish.
Take heart my cardiac-conflicted comrades. 3 Daughters A Wake won’t get your Corazon racing, only your taste buds.