The liquor store down the street from me has a wonderful selection of beer, wine, and spirits (I know because I used to work there). Over the last few months they’ve improved their beer selection.
I decided to pick up a bottle of Lagunitas cappuccino stout for $6. I didn’t notice until I poured my first glass that it’s a 9% alcohol beer, which puts it on par with an imperial stout.
I’ve had a few coffee stouts and porters over the last couple years–most have been good, but there have been some that tasted like a bad cup of coffee. Usually when a coffee beer tastes bad it’s because the brewer uses lower-quality coffee or doesn’t strike the right balance with the malt. There are also a few that add too much extra flavoring–it’s alright to add vanilla, caramel, and chocolate to these beers, but too much just makes it undrinkable.
Fortunately, Lagunitas brewed a fine bottle of coffee beer. However, it wasn’t quite what I expected. When I think of cappuccino, I think of a light, slightly sweet flavor, yet this beer had a rather bold coffee flavor instead. Also, after reading that it was 9%, I realized that it didn’t feel as heavy. As with most dark, strong beers, the Lagunitas cappuccino stout tastes better if it isn’t too cold–allow the glass to warm a bit before sipping (and it certainly is a beer that needs to be sipped).