By Iron Chef Leftovers
Coffee beers can sometimes suffer from being too much coffee and not enough beer, even when the brewers are doing everything right and using really high quality coffee. It takes an even hand to get a balance where you can taste the subtle flavors of the coffee and still get the subtle flavors of the beer. It gets much harder when you try to make a coffee beer that is not a stout or a porter – the coffee can easily overwhelm the non-roasted flavors in lighter beers. I was intrigued when Reuben’s released their Kenya Cream, combining their Cream Ale with Kuma coffee. The beer clocked in at just 5% ABV and 17 IBU.
The beer pours hazy golden in color with light notes of stone fruit and chocolate and hints of milk and grain on the nose. The beer starts off on the palate with a creamy feel to it with notes of yeast and bread before moving into berry and stone fruit flavors with a touch of roasty chocolate – definitely complex flavors coming from the coffee. The beer finishes with a touch of bitter black coffee and plenty of fruit notes and hints of chocolate, coupled with notes of steamed milk. The beer finishes like a nice café au lait. The coffee is definitely complex with a light fruit profile that compliments the milk like qualities of the cream ale without completely dominating it. The beer is increasingly complex as it warms and the balance is superb showing dramatic flavor from both the beer and the coffee. Kenya Cream surprises with being able to pull off a light coffee beer without feeling like you are just drinking a cup of coffee.
Reuben’s Brews Kenya Cream comes out of the savanna with 4 Masai out of 5.