'"Coffee beers just need to be made, know what I mean?" says Tom Baker, the iconoclastic brewmaster and co-owner of Earth Bread + Brewery.
And yes, I could absolutely see his point since, coincidentally, I was both a little drowsy and extremely thirsty when we wandered last weekend into the breezy Mount Airy brewpub and pizza emporium.
I spied his Café Olé coffee cream ale on draft as the perfect pick-me-up. In true Baker fashion, though, he turns classic expectations on their ear, as Café Olé is neither dark, like most coffee brews, nor lactose-free, like most cream ales.
While Baker's ale may be amber, it's vivid with the roastiness of whole Sumatran and Ethiopian beans from nearby High Point Cafe.
But the actual taste of dairylike creaminess from the use of lactose sugar is its hook, giving this drinkable brew a body so smooth and familiar, they should pour it by the mug.
- Craig LaBan
Café Olé coffee cream ale, $5 for 13 oz., $6.50 for 20 oz., Earth Bread + Brewery, 7136 Germantown Ave., 215-242-6666 or www.earthbreadbrewery.com