By now, you have definitely heard of hard seltzer. But what about hard coffee? Well, it’s a thing now, too. Mad Bean bills their boozy coffee in a can as a unique twist on the traditional Irish coffee. It’s also a naturally caffeinated alternative to the Four Lokos of the world. If your first thought happens to be “I could take this to work!” well, that’s always an option. In fact, the website even points out that Mad Bean can be consumed “anywhere, at any time of day.” It’s available in two flavors, Mocha and Vanilla, and packaged in individual 24 oz. cans and 12 oz. four-packs. We received samples of both flavors for review, and I have to admit I may have cracked into these well before happy hour.
Each is 4.5% abv.
Mad Bean Mocha Iced Coffee – Poured into a glass, I get a generous, pleasant brewed coffee aroma although it tends more toward hazelnut than mocha. The booze is well-balanced, detectable only as a malty sweetness that isn’t overbearing. It’s light on the palate, a bit watery actually, but there’s still some creaminess to it. The coffee notes aren’t very prominent, mostly light roast, and there’s even less sign of the mocha here. Instead, I get a more pronounced caramel and vanilla quality to this one. A touch of milk chocolate finally arrives on the finish, alongside a bit of malt ball which, again, is the only real indication there’s booze here. This one definitely doesn’t scream mocha, but it beats Red Bull and vodka if you’re looking for a boozy pick-me-up. B
Mad Bean Vanilla Ice Coffee – The aroma here is truer to its name with a detectable vanilla bean component, but the fresh-brewed coffee notes still dominate. The palate is even more watery than the mocha version, so much so that it’s hard to pull out much flavor other than a dull vanilla note. I honestly can’t shake the feeling that I’m drinking heavily diluted Kahlua. Despite that, the sweetness is well-balanced and the booze well-hidden, but if you really need to sneak some hair-of-the-dog into your morning office meeting, go with the Mocha variety. B-
$9 per four-pack of 12 oz. cans