Friday, September 23, 2011

Fort Collins Brewery Common Ground review

Fort Collins Brewery Common GroundWhen coffee and beer are both on the menu, they're usually poured into separate glasses, but in this case they have been blended together into one unique brew - Fort Collins Brewery Common Ground. Fort Collins Brewery (FCB) originally came up with this idea a couple of years ago when they collaborated with a local coffee business Jackie's Java.

Common Ground has an amber ale base blended with three different varieties of coffee. It has an ABV rating around 5.3% and a modest 15 IBU. I believe this was a seasonal release as it's not listed on their website as a year-round brew. This beer comes only on draft or in 22oz bomber bottles. I chilled this beer down very well and let it warm up just slightly before tasting.

Appearance: Common Ground poured looking exactly like an amber - golden red, with high clarity, well carbonated and with no sediment. This brew had a 1-finger plus off-white head at first pour that stuck around for several minutes. Swirling the beer left a slight lacing that clung nicely to the glass.

Aroma: When I closed my eyes and breathed it in I swore this was a rich stout with its dark roasted coffee tones. I've not been a coffee drinker, but I love the smell of roasted coffee beans and this brew had it and wonderfully so. It reminded me of walking down the coffee isle in my local supermarket. Common Ground also had a sweet aroma as well, like a caramel flavored creamer in coffee. I absolutely fell in love with this smell. One thing to note, as it warmed up significantly, I could pick up a slight hint of spicy hops.

Taste: The taste was nothing like what it smelled like. While there was some definite coffee flavor here but subdued. It wasn't heavy at all like a dark brew (which it smelled like), but medium bodied. It was rather creamy, slightly acidic from the coffee, yet with some noticeable sweet caramel malts and mild hop bitterness. The combination of roast coffee with sweetened malt made for a wonderful mixture in my sampling. It was just bitter enough to balance out the sweetness, although the last lingering taste I got was slightly sweet.

Overall: FCB Common Ground was wonderful cold and got more bitter as it warmed up. I felt as if this brew would work well with breakfast. It gave me a slight craving for bacon and pancakes for some odd reason. If there were ever a beer made for breakfast, this would be it. There's just enough alcohol in a 22oz bottle to make you notice, but if served in a smaller 8oz cup, that would make a terrific morning cup.

My advice is to drink it more on the colder side, as it changed from a rich coffee aroma to more of a hop aroma when warmed. Still, overall it married malt and coffee beans quite well. I wonder what the caffeine content is on this brew? Since I'm not a coffee drinker I couldn't tell you if this type of coffee is better than average, but from a non-coffee drinker perspective - this was something I could get used to.

I enjoyed the Common Ground brew, probably a bit more then most amber style beers. I felt that if the coffee been left out it would have been rather, well, "common". I would certainly recommend this to a friend, even non-coffee drinkers.

Pouring the Fort Collins Brewery Common Ground:

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Related articles:
- Fort Collins Brewery Incredible Hop Imperial Black IPA review.
- Fort Collins Brewery debuts 1900 Amber Lager. (2009)
- Coffee and beer collide in new FCB release. (2009)
- Fort Collins Brewery tasting room notes.

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