At one point when I was homebrewing more, I was dreaming up ideas for what would make a good breakfast beer. Something that could actually be enjoyed once in awhile with (or for) breakfast, like mimosas or Bloody Marys. A fruit beer, or a lambic like Lindemans Framboise are the obvious styles to come to mind, but how about something more creative?
It seems to me that such a beer should have some weight to it, some body and flavor, something like a hearty breakfast should be. If you’re going to drink a light fruit ale, then you might as well stick to champagne; a breakfast beer should offer more.
Let’s cover some brewing possibilities:
- Oatmeal. The quintessential breakfast cereal, it brews up a terrific stout—thick, chewy, smooth.
- Coffee. This tends to pair best with darker, richer beers, like porters and stouts.
- Malted wheat. Beyond the traditional hefeweizen and other wheat beers, this could add some interesting characteristics to a darker beer.
- Milk sugar (lactose). Makes a beer sweeter with more mouthfeel. I began thinking of this when, at the Oregon Brewers Festival, a tent featuring the (I think) Oregon State University’s brewing science department (or somesuch) was offering up a milk stout they had brewed, largely with milk sugar. And what goes better with cereal than milk…
- Maple syrup.
- Fruit. Notwithstanding what I wrote about fruit above, certain fruits can add tremendously to the character of a dark beer. I’m thinking along the lines of raspberries, blueberries, blackberries; a blueberry porter, for instance, or raspberry stout. Avoid citrus fruits at all cost, though.
- Honey. This tends to ferment out very cleanly, so you might not get much of a honey character to the beer.
- Chocolate. Something remniscent of hot cocoa or a mocha coffee drink?
The beer I envision is something like an oatmeal milk stout. Possibly with fruit and/or honey. Done right, a tall pint of this could be the meal in itself. I think you’d want to try to keep bitterness to a minimum and shoot for a sweeter, maltier profile, but that might just be me.
Now, as to what types of beer would be appropriate with breakfast, that’s a different post…