Oakshire Brewing Company out of Eugene, Oregon, is a young brewery making a big splash; their Overcast Espresso Stout won the silver medal in the “Coffee Flavored Beer” category at last year’s Great American Beer Festival and has been getting high marks all around.
Overcast is an Oatmeal Stout brewed to 5.8% alcohol by volume, and the coffee comes from Wandering Goat Coffee in Eugene. The secret to their coffee usage is in cold-brewing it—a 13 to 16 hour steep extracts the coffee flavors you want in a beer, without extracting the acids and tannic qualities that a regular hot infusion brew produces.
And it pays off in this beer, with intense coffee flavors without any of the extra acidity of a “hot brew.”
Appearance: Black and opaque with muddy-brown head of foam, fell to a skiff on top.
Smell: Full of coffee—like opening a bag of just-roasted beans. A bit of black patent malt in there too; nice and rich.
Taste: Coffee through and through; creamy with a bit of acid astringency. A charred wood note—not smoky, just burnt—that softens as it warms. The coffee really dries it out.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, but lighter than what I expect for an Oatmeal Stout; the coffee cuts into the creamy texture and finishes it dry.
Overall: Heavy on the coffee but pretty good—not too harsh. Anyone who loves coffee will love this.