Oskar Blues Brewery and Hotbox Roasters have collaborated to introduce a national, limited release brew that packs a roasted coffee punch—Hotbox Coffee Porter.
Hotbox Coffee Porter (6.4% ABV/30 IBUs) has a malted base extracted from English and German roasted and caramel malts. Hotbox Roasters then crashes the party and infuses potent, cold-extracted coffee from Burundian and Ethiopian coffee. Hotbox Roasters is a spin-off of Oskar Blues’s coffee addiction that took off last year.
Hotbox Roasters is a craft coffee roaster specializing in the highest quality, fair-trade coffee beans available to coffee fiends in Colorado as well as nationwide via a tiered subscription service. The company currently produces three different roasts from Kenya, Bolivia, and Indonesia and will be adding premium beans from other regions over time. Hotbox Roasters cans its freshly roasted beans using the Oskar Blues and Ball Corporation Crowler™, a one-use, recyclable can that is filled and seamed right on location at the Hotbox Roasters Dock in Longmont, Colorado.*
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Hotbox Coffee Porter, from Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont, Colorado. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Ethiopia // Burundi
style: Baltic-Style Porter
ingredients: Coffee, N/A
stemware: Nonic Pint Glass
Upon pouring the Hotbox Coffee Porter into my nonic pint glass, visually speaking, this beer is a deep, dark black with some mild reddish hues around the edges. It has a bubbly tan head that pretty well maintains its two-finger width, and has persistent, sticky lacing up and down the glass.
It also has a massive and powerful, but delightful, aroma, with a surprisingly minimal roasted coffee presence. It’s there, but it’s not is as obvious as I thought it would be. There’s more of a prescenc of lactose, roasted malts, chocolate, and nuances of blueberries and florals. This is absolutely welcomed as it indicates to me that the coffee wasn’t over-roasted; if it were, those berry and floral nuances would have been replaced by Generic Coffee Scent. This blend of Ethiopian and Burundian coffees still maintains its natural aromas.
The flavor profile follows the nose. This is a pretty medium-bodied beer, and it has a creamy, fluffly, effortless mouthfeel (which is to say that it is very drinkable) and a mild, tongue-prickling carbonation. The beer tastes predominately of toasted malts, oat, brown sugar, chocolate milk, root beer, and vanilla (the latter of which makes the beer taste similar to a root beer float, actually); aside from the malts and grain, it’s a very sweet beer, really. The coffee adds a lot of complexity to the overall profile with its contribution of fruit notes: raisin, plum, blueberry, and toasted coconut.
I have to say, Oskar Blues Brewery’s Hotbox Coffee Porter is… really, really good. And maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised by how really, really good it is, maybe that’s an unfair predisposition of mine—but I really, really am. Maybe it’s just that I’ve been so burned (no pun intended) by coffee-beers in the past—particularly coffee-beers from big-name breweries, where careful and thoughtful consideration of the coffee component didn’t seem to be a priority—that so took me by surprise, but, quite frankly, I kind of can’t get over just how really, really good this beer is.
A sweet, delicious beer, and one that boasts a lot of flavors that make for a moderately complex flavor profile. When you crack open a coffee-infused porter (or any coffee-infused beer, for that matter), you don’t expect to taste flavors like plum, blueberry, and toasted coconut; no, more often than not, you expect to taste bitter, acrid, over-roasted generic coffee flavor.
I’ve had a lot of beers from Oskar Blues—a lot of tremendous ales and one of the better pilsners on the market—and Hotbox Coffee Porter stands out as one of their best.
*content courtesy of Oskar Blues Brewery
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.