I am not sure if it is possible to say enough good things about Twisted Pine's Big Shot Espresso. This amazing coffee beer wins in just about every tasting it is entered in, from the Great American Beer Festival to the World Beer Cup. I Became a big fan after trying their brews at the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival, but definitely moved to devotee status when I tried their Espresso stout in 2008, the year they took home the silver in the coffee beer category.
What makes this coffee beer so good for me is that they take great care in their coffees, creating something with tons of flavor and texture, but definitely brewing something where the espresso can shine. It is about the closest you can come to a perfect balance, where you are not sure if the espresso is there to compliment the stout, or the stout is there to compliment the coffee. Both are brewed so superbly it does not matter - it is just plain exquisite. All of our exhaustive research told us that the two flavors that lots of people hold dear," says Bob Baile, president and brewmaster of Twisted Pine Brewing in Boulder, "are coffee and beer." This was the inspiration for Big Shot Espresso Stout.
They start with the stout - which is a very deep and impenetrable stout. This is about as dark as it comes. It pours out with a thick creamy head and a strong smell of a mountain coffeehouse - where you can sense a slight edge to this big chocolately smoothness. Just reminiscing about this drink makes me want to rush to the local liquor store for some.
Then to this great beer they add the great coffee. In Twisted Pine's case, they use a dark Peruvian organic coffee from Armante Coffee in Boulder. Like many coffee beers, Twisted pine uses a cold brewing process, which means the coffee is both much stronger than drip coffee, lower the acid, bitterness and tannins of regular hot drip. They take this strong coffee base and double filter it - then add into the already processed stout beer.
What you end up with is a VERY strong delicious beer, which is decently alcoholic (About 5.7%) and I am told there is about a shot of espresso per bottle. The caffeine and alcohol can be felt fairly quickly, and before long, the feelings of contentment, happiness and wide-awake satisfaction will soothe the most discriminating of either Stout or Coffee drinkers, knowing this pairing is one of the set found anywhere in the world.