The interesting flavor combination offered by Schlafly’s Double Bean Blonde certainly lends some verity to the old saying that “blondes have more fun.” Normally, brewers that add the essences of coffee and chocolate to a beer do so with a porter or a stout, which are both dark, heavy, opaque styles. However, the St. Louis-based brewer Schlafly has pulled off something unique here with the double-bean attack of cocoa and everybody’s favorite morning pick-me-up in a blonde ale.
This is not normally a beer that I would like, truth be told. While I love chocolate, I don’t drink coffee, and both flavors are typically characteristic of stouts, of which I’m not a fan. The Double Bean Blonde pours a murky golden color, which again is unexpected considering the flavor duo at play, and leaves a slight head and moderate carbonation throughout.
For the most part, the smell is of coffee. On the nose, the aroma of freshly ground coffee beans overpowers everything else. Getting to the taste however, there’s a bit more complexity, as the color of the beer continues to be a head-scratcher. The taste of coffee is still the predominant force, while the chocolate is definitely detectable, as well as the slight sweetness of vanilla on the back end. There is a hoppy presence as well, but it is more than a bit understated and takes a backseat to everything else in the flavor spectrum. The haziness, flavors and carbonation give this beer a fairly full mouthfeel.
According to the beer’s page on Schlafly’s website, the chocolate is added after fermentation, as the beer is introduced to cocoa nibs. After that a cold-pressed coffee is added, using water and freshly-ground coffee beans. The beer is available from April through August, and is certainly an intriguing style for a summer brew. The Double Bean Blonde carries a 6.3% alcohol-by-volume percentage, which will warm you up after a few, particularly during the summer months.
Overall, Schlafly’s Double Bean Blonde is a well-balanced and tasteful brew with a coffee-forward flavor, unexpected color, and solid mouthfeel. I have found it a couple times in liquor stores local to me in New Jersey, so look for it in your area! This wraps up this Sunday’s edition of “The Beer List” at The No Seatbelt Blog. Check out all of the back episodes of the series for recommendations on great brews at noseatbeltblog.com! Bottoms up!