Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Revved Up Coffee Brown Ale, from Revolution Brewing in Chicago, Illinois. Feel free to pull up a chair.
This brown ale is brewed in collaboration with Upland Brewing Co. in Bloomington, Indiana and Dark Matter Coffee, here in Chicago. Simultaneously, Upland Brewing released a coffee-infused beer of their own—Revved Up Coffee Blonde Ale.
Brewed with a combination of Pale, Dark Munich, Caramel 77, chocolate malt, and flaked oats, the resulting beer has a deep brown hue, smooth mouthfeel and layers of complex caramel flavors and a faint hint of baker’s chocolate. We use Magnum and Sorachi Ace hops in the brewhouse to lend a mellow balanced bitterness to this ale. After fermentation, we transfer this beer into another tank that holds bags of whole bean Dark Matter Coffee and allow it to rest on these beans for a week before being packaged. Sitting on the whole beans infuses this beer with deep, rich, roasty aromas.*
region: Esteli, Nicaragua
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Las Diosas (La FEM)
elevation: 950 – 1200
cultivars: Caturra, Catimor
process: fully washed, patio dried
style: American Oatmeal Brown Ale
Revved Up Coffee Brown Ale pours dark brown with auburn hues and nice clarity—hardly any haziness. It’s topped with a thin, light khaki head that fades pretty quickly and doesn’t leave any lacing.
The aroma is full of cocoa malts, vanilla, and and brown bread. Surprisingly, there isn’t much Generic Coffee Aroma to be found here. In fact, there’s hardly any coffee aroma at all; a negligible amount, really.
The flavors are sweet. Taste is initially very malty, roasted bready malts with some biscuit flavors coming through. Finishes with some coffee notes. The coffee’s contributions to the overall flavor profile are very subtle, but they’re there. There’s some cocoa, caramel, toffee and vanilla in the mix as well. The malts definitely do their thing. Alcohol goes unnoticed. Mouthfeel is nice. It’s light with moderate carbonation; very creamy and fluffy. Smooth and easy to drink.
Revved Up Coffee Brown Ale is a solid brown ale. I don’t know that I’d consider it a solid coffee-infused brown ale, though. In fact, I don’t know if I can consider it a coffee-infused brown ale, at all.
In terms of overall flavor experience, I enjoyed the beer. It was light, creamy, sweet, and sessionable. It was a pretty great variation on the much-maligned brown ale style. But the contributions from the coffee infusion are so minimal they’re hardly present at all. And that’s mostly to do with the fact that Revolution didn’t actually infuse the beer with brewed coffee—they soaked roasted coffee beans in a vat of beer and thereby infused it with the essence of coffee. Which, in my view, isn’t the same, and does not a true coffee-beer make.
Regardless, though, Revved Up is a tasty beer. One that I’d drink again.
*content courtesy of Revolution Brewing
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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.