Founder’s Brewing apparently really likes to put coffee in their beer. Just earlier this year we told you about the KBS Espresso Stout and Underground Mountain Brown, both beers with a serious java dimension to their profiles. Now we have the cheekily named Marvelroast. Unlike those buzzy beers, however, Marvelroast starts out life as a lighter, albeit still high gravity, imperial golden ale that is actually brewed with coffee instead of barrel-aged on beans (like their uber popular Kentucky Breakfast Stout). Vanilla and cocoa nibs are also included in the brew, along with milk sugar to kick up the creaminess. According to the folks at Founder’s, Marvelroast should remind you of “your favorite iced coffee drink.” Well, let’s see if this thing tastes like a half-caf, soy Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino, shall we? Just kidding. Or am I?
Marvelroast pours a high-polished gold with a generous head. The aroma is definitely coffee-heavy, but with the addition of vanilla bean and a noticeably creamy texture, it comes across less as an iced coffee and more as coffee ice cream or fudge. There’s minimal evidence of the ale itself save a bright, slightly sour yeasty note that builds as the beer warms in the glass. On the palate, there’s a better balance between ale and java, and it’s not nearly as creamy or sweet as the nose suggests. It’s clean and crisp even with the milk sugar adding weight to the palate. Things are initially bright with a bit of lemon and a slight yeasty edge. The gear shifts pretty quickly to a prominent coffee note, fresh brewed and just poured over ice. But it just as rapidly finds balance heading into the finish with Nilla Wafers, lemon pudding, and a subtle, lingering note of chocolaty dark roast.
Thankfully, I don’t get a lot of pumpkin spice or soy on this one, but it does come pretty close to some other, more traditional iced coffee drinks. A fun beer, especially for transitioning into the darker beer days of winter.
A- / $10 per four-pack / foundersbrewing.com