PRESS RELEASE – Schlafly Beer announces the arrival of Double Bean Blonde, the latest limited special release from The Saint Louis Brewery™. Double Bean Blonde is a distinctive take on the traditional blonde style, blending coffee and chocolate flavors together. The brewery makes the American blonde ale with Carapils and pale malts, Marynka hops, and American ale yeast for a well-balanced, smooth beer that lets the notable additions of the beer come through. The brew rests on cacao nibs sourced from Ghana for rich chocolate flavors, and in its final stages of brewing, a cold coffee toddy is added to the beer for a pleasantly fresh coffee aroma. This blonde pours golden, clocking in at 6.3% ABV with 25 IBUs, presenting prominent layers of coffee and chocolate in each sip.
“We asked ourselves, ‘why not use a lighter beer—in body and color—to pair with chocolate and coffee?’” explains Stephen Hale, ambassador brewer for Schlafly Beer. “The golden ale really acts as a canvas on which the coffee and chocolate flavors can perform. We’re excited to have the opportunity to take risks with our beer, especially when we have access to such great partners like Kaldi’s Coffee.”
The blonde ale stems from an ongoing local partnership with Kaldi’s Coffee. In collaboration with Josh Ferguson and Tyler Zimmer of the St. Louis-based roaster, Double Bean Blonde features coffee beans sourced from Tanzania with a unique cold toddy extraction process, blended with filtered water, to create a less acidic coffee for the beer. Schlafly and Kaldi’s Coffee previously collaborated to brew Coffee Stout, a core seasonal brew available November through March, which appeared in Schlafly’s limited-release Stout Bout variety pack earlier this year.
Schlafly first introduced Double Bean Blonde at its alternative art fair in 2015, Art Outside, and after receiving resounding positive feedback, Schlafly decided to bottle the beer for distribution. The brewery successfully showcased the beer again at Schlafly’s 17th annual Stout & Oyster Festival, held March 4-5, 2016. Double Bean Blonde illustrates Schlafly’s commitment to experimental brewing, its dedication to collaborating with other like-minded local businesses, and community engagement—putting customer feedback into action and creating what beer lovers want to drink.
Double Bean Blonde can be purchased on draft or in six-packs of bottles at the Bottleworks or Tap Room locations. The six-packs ($9.99 suggested retail) are also available across the brewery’s entire distribution region. For more on Schlafly Beer’s distribution and products, visit www.schlafly.com/beers/distribution.*
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Schlafly Double Bean Blonde Ale, from Schlafly Beer in St. Louis, Missouri. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Mbozi, Mbeya, Tanzania
farm: Tanzania Shiwanda Estate
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: 1500 meters above sea level
cultivars: K7, K9, KP432, N39
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
style: Blonde Ale
alcohol by volume: 6.3%
international bitterness units: 25
color: Hazy Golden
ingredients: Coffee, Cocoa Nibs, Marynka Hops, Pale Malt, Carapils, American Ale Yeast
stemware: Nonic Pint Glass
The Schlafly Double Bean Blonde, not surprisingly, pours a hazy, cloudy (but translucent) gold. The beer is capped with a small white head that settles into a ring and an island of film while leaving some streaks of lace in the glass.
The beer’s aroma is pretty coffee-forward, though the chocolate scent from the cocoa nibs is offering stiff competition for prevalence. Regardless, the two dominant scents in this beer’s aroma are nothing like just about any other blonde ale you’ve ever had. The stark contrasts between the beer’s appearance and aromatics is jarring—you just don’t expect to smell chocolate, dark berries, and burnt coffee when you see a pint glass with a bubbly, golden ale in it. It does have some nuances that are more apropos for a blonde ale, though, such as malt, barley, and graham cracker.
As I take my first few sips of the beer, I’m immediately struck by how unusual its flavor profile is. This is one wild brew, with all sorts of things going on. It’s kind of a hot mess, if I’m being honest. It’s a medium-bodied brew and has something of a sharp, mildly viscous mouthfeel with an average amount of carbonation for the style. In terms of flavor, it starts off with the malt and barley I mentioned in the aroma, with some additional traces of yeast. Other flavors include earth, vanilla, grain, burnt toast, herbal hoppiness, and a mildly bracing bitterness. Then the coffee kicks in, but it’s not very powerful; I can taste, very faintly, traces of date, plum, and dark berries. As the beer warms, the coffee component becomes a bit more obvious, and the cocoa nibs become very prominent; each sip finishes cleanly and leaves behind a long-lingering milk chocolate aftertaste.
Before I wrap up this entry, I just want to point out that today’s review marks a significant milestone for A Table in the Corner of the Cafe. This is the first beer that’s ever been submitted by a brewery for me to review. For that, I thank you, Schlafly Beer. Now, on to my final thoughts.
There’s an awful lot going on in the Schlafly Double Bean Blonde Ale; and there are plenty of things to say, both positive and negative, I could say about it. It is a dangerously drinkable beer at 6.3% ABV, with its sharp mouthfeel and light body, but its flavor profile is enough of a mess that it might persuade you to slow down and approach it like a sipping beer. I’m not sure if the brewer’s intent was a blonde ale that tasted like a stout or a stout that drinks like a blonde—half a dozen of one and six of the other, I suppose. But the truth is that for all its weirdness and for as much as it might or might not have missed the mark, Schlafly Double Bean Blonde Ale was a pretty enjoyable and very drinkable beer.
And, really, isn’t that what you’re looking for in a beer?
*content provided by Schlafly Beer