Beer Batter Breakfast

Surly Coffee Bender

Brewery: Surly Brewing Company
Pancakes: Yes
Type: Coffee Brown Ale
Syrup: Yes

Surly’s invasion of Wisconsin last summer caused quite the stir, and it provided us with many other fantastic beer options that have certainly survived the initial rush. Having personally taken a trip to Surly’s brewery, I can tell you what they serve up on-site is way better than what they distribute. But even at that, they make some pretty solid beers. We had Doom Tree a few weeks ago, and here we are back with Coffee Bender.

Not just a bender...a Coffee Bender
Not just a bender...a Coffee Bender

Surly’s Coffee Bender is a delightful marriage of their Bender oatmeal brown ale and Minneapolis-roasted Guatemalan coffee beans. Surly descibes it as having a “cappuccino-like creaminess”, and I can’t really disagree (though I think I’d call it closer to a latte). The beer pours a dark brown and has a deep, strong aroma. There’s a touch of sweetness on initial taste that finishes smoothly malty/coffee-y. The beer poured with a thick cream-colored head (as you can see).

Prep/Cooking

I feel like these pictures never do justice
I feel like these pictures never do justice

Echoing the photo caption, the batter was almost an identical color to the head on this beer (my poor phone’s white balance apparently couldn’t figure that out), and the batter was actually surprisingly thick. It actually formed a solid layer between the beer and the pancake mix before I stirred it, and after letting it sit for a little it got really thick again. Odd, but not disconcerting. In terms of flavor, almost all of the coffee notes disappeared, but the vanilla maltiness stayed, giving it a delightfully sweet flavor.

Results

Look at those two cute little ones!
Look at those two cute little ones!

Likely due to how thick the batter wound up (I use the same amount of powder mixture for each batch), I didn’t quite get as much volume out of these pancakes. Not that that’s a bad thing, but it was a thing I noticed. The pancakes themselves were really interested. Very sweet, almost cakelike. The first two were slightly undercooked, but even at that, the pancake flavor stood on its own even with the beer’s aftertaste in my mouth. Not coffee-like at all, but a really interesting and delicious flavor.

The Decision

  • Pancakes: Yes. I was actually reluctant/sad to add syrup to these because I was so enamored by the flavor. It took the best parts of the beer and amplified them while removing others (notably, the strong coffee flavor).
  • Syrup: Yes. Hmm, this is a tough one. It certainly didn’t take anything away from the pancakes, but I can’t say for sure if it added anything.
Mmmmmmmm, coffeecakes
Mmmmmmmm, coffeecakes