I like beer. I like coffee. I don’t usually like coffee beers. Coffee’s for breakfast, right? You can’t have beer for breakfast. But before millennials started ruining everything with mimosa bars, Kris Kristofferson gave us the definitive guide to brunch beverages: a beer for breakfast, one more for dessert. The brewers at Ranger Creek must have been listening, because they’ve delivered the best coffee beer I’ve ever had in Sunday Morning Coming Down. I’m absolutely ordering one on my next brunch outing.
Sunday Morning Coming Down is Ranger Creek’s winter seasonal. It’s brewed in collaboration with San Antonio’s own Merit Roasting Company, the sibling company that provides the delicious beans to Local Coffee. The coffee has been perfectly selected, cold brewed, then added at a later stage in the brewing process to perfectly meld with the beer.
This beer is gorgeous and deserves to be poured into a glass and appreciated for a few minutes. The rest of the six pack can be poured into one of the fantastic mugs available from Ranger Creek. Those of you drinking from a clear vessel will notice the rich, hazy, copper color with a tall, foamy beige head that lingers for a few minutes. As the beer sits and breathes, it becomes more clarified and transparent.
This is the part of the review where I describe the aroma of the beer. It should not come as a surprise that this beer smells like coffee. Delicious, locally roasted, locally cold-brewed, coffee. Coffee with a bit of caramel and roasted malt. Tiniest hint of spicy hops.
Smooth coffee and soft roasted malt. Different than last year. My frequent drinking (both coffee and beer) buddy Drew described it as, “Round. Not a sharp edge on it.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. By cold brewing the coffee, they managed to avoid much of the bitter acidity common to other brewing methods. The coffee itself brings some stone fruit flavors to the mix. The base recipe is a traditional British ale, which is not particularly hoppy.
This beer has body. The addition of lactose to the brew sweetens and slightly thickens the finished product. It’s very reminiscent of a cup of coffee with a bit of cream and sugar. Much of the initial carbonation of the beer is burnt off during pouring, furthering the similarity with coffee. Take some time to savor the beer, and see how the flavors meld and mellow as the beer warms slightly and opens up.
In the end, I can’t decide if this is a coffee flavored beer, or beer flavored cold brew. What I can decide, is that this might be my favorite local seasonal of the year. Maybe we can persuade San Antonio restaurants to serve Sunday Morning Coming Down alongside the more common mimosa on their brunch menus.