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Coffee-Flavored Beer (and Beer-Flavored Coffee) Takes Off

A growing number of breweries are partnering with roasters to create new drinks.

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How to get buzzed, in both senses of the word? Coffee-flavored beer. According to a piece in the Boston Globe, "some of the hottest names among connoisseurs of both products are joining forces." This means coffee-flavored beers and even beer-flavored coffee are entering the marketplace faster than ever before. This has raised some concern — especially from the FDA —because it means mixing a stimulant and a depressant in the same glass. It's not without its fans: Brett Smith, the co-founder of Counter Culture Coffee, tells the Globe that "the culture of craft coffee and craft beer is very similar — the attitude, the tattoos, the experimentation."

People have been mixing coffee into their beer for a while, but its become more and more common and has garnered interest from bigger names in the coffee industry. Brands like Chicago-based roaster Intelligentsia and Portland-based roaster Stumptown have begun partnering with well known breweries like Goose Island Beer Company and Six Point Brewery to develop coffee-flavored beers.

Counter Culture also recently partnered with Sierra Nevada on a coffee IPA and Narragansett Beer released a coffee milk stout last year which "sold out in a week." The trend is also occurring on a local scale, with smaller breweries teaming up with nearby roasters to develop a variety of seasonal and limited-batch coffee-beers.

The coffee world is also drawing inspiration from the world of beer. In September, it was revealed that coffee giant Starbucks is testing a Guinness-flavored latte called the Dark Barrel Latte in certain markets. While the coffee does not have any actual booze in it, it is made with a syrup that is meant to mimic the taste of dark beers.

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