From breakfast stouts to smoothies, tropical fruit juice IPAs to coffee ales, Australian brewers are brewing up the most important meal of the day in beer form.
The hazy juicy NEIPAs being pumped out by just about every brewer at the moment, could be mistaken for your average breakfast OJ in look and aroma and some of the brewers have played up to this by adding more breakfast ingredients to the mix.
Feral’s well received 2018 GABS beer entry, the Shooter McGavin Breakfast IPA was one example of this. Brewed in the juicy hazy New England style, it tastes like fresh tropical fruit juice and includes additions of cornflakes, nutra grains, weetbix and all bran for good measure.
Sauce Brewing also released their Breakfast Smoothie, a hazy milkshake IPA, loaded with tropical fruit aromas, oats for mouthfeel and lactose for extra sweetness.
On the other end of the colour spectrum, the Breakfast stout style also made an appearance this winter with Sailors Grave brewing a highly drinkable Breakfast Stout with oats and Genovese coffee. Breakfast stouts include oats and plenty of coffee to create a creamy coffee lovers delight. It has to be one of my all-time favourite styles thanks to brewers like Founders and Mikkeller.
Garage Project’s Cereal Milk Stout is another breakfast-inspired stout served up with real cornflakes and a healthy dose of lactose (not for the Zymil drinkers) for sweetness and a bit of nitro for smoothness.
For the bacon lovers out there, Smokin’ Mountie or the imperial version Smokin’ Mountie Royale from Bacchus Brewing delivers the goods. Using smoked malts that very closely approximate bacon and adding oats and maple syrup, they’ve basically liquified my dream breakfast.
If you prefer a sweeter breakfast, Stockade’s Mountie Maple Imperial Stout, winner of the GABS 2017 People’s Choice award, smells like Maccas Hotcakes with its big aromas of maple syrup.
The most intriguing breakfast beer of all though may just be Bridge Road’s Breakfast, a part of their brilliant boundary-pushing Mayday Hills series.
Breakfast is not your typical winter porter, with added Carman’s nuts and muesli, and aged in a Foeder (think big wooden barrel) imbued with the funky Brett yeast, which made this beer something else. Low carbonation, thinner body but a fresh fruity funk with a rounded chocolate taste. It has to be tasted to be understood.
Brewers are taking to breakfast beers with such abandon that we’re surely only a short time away from someone brewing a Scrambled Eggs beer (don’t get any ideas brewers).
Scrambled eggs aside, this good news in my books. In general, I like breakfast and I like breakfast ingredients. Some of my favourite beer elements include coffee (the perfect combo), milk aka lactose (mmm milk stouts), juice (the trend in IPAs), and oats (thicker mouthfeel FTW!).
Why beer and breakfast?
And while I don’t recommend actually drinking beer for breakfast, I won’t judge you either.
Certainly, the association of a type of alcohol with a meal consumed in the morning seems like a strange fit at first glance, but I think there are a couple of reasons for brewers connecting beer and breakfast.
Firstly, there is a nostalgic factor to breakfast that they are tapping into, as people tend to be wistful about the breakfasts, cereals, juices, coffees that they’ve enjoyed over the years. The impact of additions of ingredients like muesli and cereals on taste is questionable and it’s probably more about creating some buzz and emotions around the beer.
Secondly, beer and breakfast (or brunch) both share a similar ethos of accessibility. The great appeal of brunch is that even if you can’t afford to go out for dinner (or buy a house) you can afford to go out and eat a gourmet brunch at a reasonable price. Likewise, beer has always been a more accessible drink than the likes of wine, and even now as prices rise as beers become more sophisticated, it’s still a reasonably affordable option to taste something that is interesting and high quality.
You can pick up most of the beers listed above for less than $10 and you can buy a top brunch for less than $20, and that kind of thing is appealing especially to the younger generations, who see $50 dinners or bottles of wine as out of reach.
Top notch breakfasts and beers are within reach for most, and increasingly they are one in the same.