Drink It In

Rise and Shiner: The Best Breakfast Beers

The breakfast beer is the answer to all your brunching needs.

By Wendy Cawthon November 18, 2014

It’s no secret that Americans are passionate about breakfast. It’s why IHOP is open 24 hours, it’s why comedians get laughs from jokes about when McDonald’s stops serving Egg McMuffins, and it’s the reason we as a nation have allowed there to be such a thing as a waffle taco. But now, unlike the waffle taco, something useful has come out of our never-ending quest to include breakfast in every aspect of our lives: breakfast beer. 

Oatmeal stouts and coffee porters are nothing new, but as the growing popularity of craft beer allows brewers to be a little more inventive, many have already hopped on the breakfast bandwagon. In fact, the trend has led to at least one breakfast cereal shortage: Black Bottle Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado recently bought out inventories of Count Chocula in order to brew the latest beer in their Cerealiously series. In case you’re wondering, the cereal was used in a brewing process similar to dry-hopping beer; you won’t find a marshmallow floating in your pint glass. 

If you’ve never been the type to throw back a few mimosas, or if you can’t stomach vodka and tomato juice before noon, the breakfast beer is the answer to all your brunching needs. But if you can’t fathom having beer before coffee, you can always wait and pair these with everyone’s favorite excuse for eating pancakes at night: brinner.

In honor of the most important meal/alcoholic beverage of the day, we present the best breakfast beers to be found in Texas, most of which are available right here in Houston. (Ed. note: I think we can all agree that Moa Breakfast Beer, while excellent, is a "breakfast" beer in name alone.)

Daybreak: Martin House Brewing, Fort Worth

When we think of a classic breakfast, we typically think of eggs, bacon, and maybe some toast. But if we’re really honest with ourselves, on any given day, our typical breakfast is a sad bowl of Total. But cereal shouldn’t leave you feeling dejected, whole grains are essential to any balanced diet. Martin House Brewing knows this, and that’s why they put them in beer. Daybreak is a blonde ale made with milk sugars, local honey, and four types of grains to create a beer reminiscent of a bowl of cereal, making it an important part of your complete breakfast. 

Pair with: Saturday morning cartoons (which you'll have to queue up yourself on Netflix).

Where to find it: Unfortunately, Martin House has limited distribution for now. But if you’re headed to the DFW area anytime soon, you can pick up a 16-ounce four-pack to go with your morning corn flakes.

Brunch Money: Armadillo Ale Works, Denton

Brunch is obviously the classiest meal of the weekend, so it’s only fitting that a beer bearing it’s name be held to the same high standards. That’s why Brunch Money is an imperial golden stout and not a pilsner. Armadillo Ale Works uses New Hampshire maple syrup, local coffee beans and cacao nibs to make a slightly sweet and deceptively light-colored beer. Clocking in at 10 percent ABV, Brunch Money is best enjoyed on a Sunday that doesn’t require you to be anywhere anytime soon, making it perfect for when you want stretch brunch into lunch.

Pair with: Chicken, waffles, and a nap.

Where to find it: Armadillo Ale Works’ beer locator claims to have their beers available at The Flying Saucer’s Sugar Land location and at Valhalla on the campus of Rice University, but you might be better off looking for a bottle of it in Austin, where the distribution options are wider. 

Photo via Flickr user Steven Severinghaus

Voodoo Donut Bacon Maple Ale: Rogue Ales, Newport, OR

Oregon icons Rogue Ales and Voodoo Doughnuts have teamed up to create beers inspired by Voodoo’s imaginative line of doughnuts. Several of Voodoo’s creations feature breakfast cereals and fruit fillings, but only one has the classic breakfast duo of maple and bacon. Rogue uses 13 (or a baker’s dozen) ingredients in its Voodoo Donut Bacon Maple Ale, including applewood-smoked bacon and maple flavoring, to recreate the Bacon Maple Bar, a yeast doughnut with maple icing and slices of bacon on top.

Pair with: Bacon. If you pair beer with several different types of bacon and take notes on the subtle flavors, it’s a tasting, not a gorging, which makes you classy, not gross.

Where to find it: Rogue has national distribution, so your chances of finding a 750 ml bottle at Spec’s or Whole Foods are pretty good.

Photo via Flickr user kansasphoto

Kentucky Breakfast Stout: Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI

Founders’ Kentucky Breakfast Stout, more commonly known by its street name “KBS,” is a stout brewed with coffee and vanilla that is aged in oak bourbon barrels for a full year. Not to be confused with their regular oatmeal breakfast stout, KBS has all the coffee you would require in a breakfast beer, with the important additions of chocolate and bourbon.

Pair with: A cup of instant coffee and a toaster pastry. You’ve waited all year for this beer to be released; you needn’t wait any longer for breakfast.

Where to find it: KBS is only available in April, and is highlycoveted in the craft beer community. If you find some at a bottle shop, be prepared to fight for it, Black-Friday style.  

French Toast: 8th Wonder Brewing, Houston

If you want the smells of French toast without all the work that goes into actually making it, try taking a whiff of 8th Wonder’s take on the morning favorite before taking your first sip. French Toast is an altbier brewed with cinnamon sticks, whole vanilla beans, and Canadian maple syrup (the real stuff, not that brown sugar water) to give you that warm, full, Sunday breakfast feeling.

Pair With: Pain perdu, preferably made by someone else.

Where to find it: Casks of French Toast can be found floating around Houston area beer bars like Flying Saucer, or you can try your luck at the brewery itself.  

Rocket Fuel: 8th Wonder Brewing, Houston, TX

8th Wonder also has a beer option for the coffee lovers out there. Made in collaboration with Houston’s own Greenway Coffee Co., Rocket Fuel is a Vietnamese coffee porter made by infusing cold-brewed cafe sua da to give it that dark roast flavor we all crave first thing in the morning. 

Pair with: Drunk cleaning your apartment with all your newfound energy.

Where to find it: On tap at bars in and around Houston and at the brewery.

Photo courtesy Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co.

Buffalo Sunset: Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co., Houston, TX

But if you want that coffee taste with something a little stronger to enjoy at the end of the day, all you have to do is try another Houston brewery, Buffalo Bayou. Brewed with locally roasted coffee beans from Amaya Roasting Company, Buffalo Sunset is black ale with a 9 percent ABV content, making it twice as strong as Rocket Fuel’s 4.6 percent. The name is inspired by the historic Sunset Coffee building constructed on the edge of Buffalo Bayou in the early 1900s. Oddly enough, Buffalo Bayou also makes another beer called “Buffalo Sunrise,” a similar beer brewed without the coffee.

Pair with: A mug to hide your coffee beer in.  

Where to find it: On tap and in bottles all over the Houston area.

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