In the Spring of 2009, Two Brothers Brewing Company released a coffee-infused beer that instantly became one of their most successful beers to date: the Red Eye Coffee Porter. Red Eye Coffee Porter flew off the shelves due not only to its deliciousness, but its economical price ($5 for a bomber). Two Brothers brewed it once more in the Fall of that year for what was meant to be the final time, even though beer lovers couldn’t seem to get enough
They resurrected the beer in 2012 to celebrate their fifteenth anniversary, to the delight of their fans, but, again, did so with the intention of offering it one last time.
After a three-year hiatus, Two Brothers has brought Red Eye Coffee Porter back once again. Perhaps now that the brewery also has a coffee roasting operation—Two Brothers Coffee Roasters—Red Eye will be a seasonal offering, or perhaps even a permanent fixture in their immense lineup.
The coffee they infused this beer with is their signature Stomping Ground Espresso.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Despite attempts to contact somebody at Two Brothers, via social media, phone, and email, I couldn’t get any of my questions about this beer or the coffee they used answered. I delayed this review for months due to the lack of response, but I couldn’t wait any longer as this one is just about sold out nation-wide (this is a seasonal beer). In the event that Two Brothers responds to my queries, I will update this review accordingly. Thanks for your understanding. ~Drew)
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping Red Eye Coffee Porter, from Two Brothers Brewing Company in Warrenville, Illinois. Feel free to pull up a chair.
style: Baltic-Style Porter
ingredients: Coffee, N/A
Immediately upon pouring Red Eye Coffee Porter into my brandy snifter, the first thing you notice about this beer is its massively coffee-intense aroma. It’s a bitter and pungent aroma, too, with accompanying scents of roasted barley and malts, roasted coffee, and copper.
Visually, though, the beer is pretty appealing; it pours a deep, dark obsidian black—like motor oil—and is capped by a thin, light tan foamy head that dissipates slowly. Even after a vigorous pour, that head is thin—less than a finger’s thickness.
After taking a few small sips, though, I’m already wondering what all the fuss about this beer is about, because it does not taste very good. There are loads of roasted barley, roasted grains, burnt cedar, and roasted chocolate malts, but there’s even more roasted coffee. The key word in all of this is “roast”—because there is an awful lot of roast. There are some elements of dark fruits, anise, and licorice, but they don’t offset the beer’s other overwhelming flavors. In addition to its roastiness, the beer also has a big, boozy burn—particularly towards the finish—which is a byproduct of its high ABV. I don’t usually mind booziness in a beer, but coupled with the roastiness and smoke of the coffee component… Oh, man. My tongue feels like its on fire. The beer is hot and it burns.
Full body; chewy, molasses mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
For such a heavy, chewy, molasses-y, full-bodied beer, Two Brothers Brewing Company’s Red Eye Coffee Porter is surprisingly harsh on the palate and bitter to the taste buds. So harsh and bitter, in fact, that I couldn’t even finish my snifter, let alone the whole bomber.
While I was disappointed in this beer, as a Two Brothers Brewing fan, after reviewing their roastery’s Colombia Piendamo last year, I can’t say I was surprised by it. If the coffee component going into a beer isn’t great to begin with, the resulting beer product also won’t be great. Quality begets quality.
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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.