Beer: It's what's for breakfast

Good morning!
By JOSH SMITH  |  December 1, 2010

bottle_breakfast-stout_main
Breakfast beers aren't for everyone. People will think you have a problem. But we aren't talking about a hair-of-the-dog here — we're drinking beer because it goes great with breakfast!

Beer belongs at the breakfast table for several reasons. For starters, whenever talking about food and beer pairings, you should start by seeking out complementary flavors. Indeed, many of beer's flavors are also present at breakfast; the most prominent being coffee, grains, and fruit.

Furthermore, the malted barley in beer makes for a hearty, carbo-loaded beverage to get your day off on the right foot. Of course, you don't want too much alcohol to start the day, so reasonable Alcohol By Volume (ABV) levels or small quantities are a must when trying to find the perfect breakfast beer.

As with anything, breakfast beer is ultimately a matter of individual taste. That said, certainly some styles of beer work better in this situation than others. I've always thought the dark, heavy, coffee-flavored breakfast stouts and porters fit best. These darker styles substitute perfectly for coffee alongside eggs, breakfast meats, pancakes, French toast, oatmeal, or, my personal favorite, biscuits and gravy.

That said, lambics, fruit beers, and wheat beers can also work. If opting for a lighter breakfast of fruit, yogurt, bagels, or pastries, you're better off going with a lighter beer as well. Each of these styles offers some sweetness and liveliness that are sure to brighten your day.

I am not advocating for my readers to start boozing it up before work each day. But on a weekend (especially as temperatures drop), one of these 10 breakfast beers can really add something to your morning.

10) BALLAST POINT'S VICTORY AT SEA COFFEE VANILLA IMPERIAL PORTER is one of the beers on the list that I've already tried out as a breakfast beer. Moving a friend one cool, fall morning, the vanilla flavor in this imperial porter really stood out . . . and paired nicely with a stack of pancakes.

9) NEWPORT STORM'S RHODE ISLAND BLUEBERRY is a solid fruit beer, and a nod to the fact that the style — while not my favorite — can go well with certain breakfasts.

8) GREAT DIVIDE ESPRESSO OAK AGED YETI IMPERIAL STOUT is the most ambitious beer on this list. With 9.5% ABV and intimidatingly dark pour that most closely resembles motor oil, this is a beer best shared.

7) GOOSE ISLAND 312 URBAN WHEAT worked nicely one morning at a bar outside of Fenway Park while waiting for the game. This wheat beer has a floral hoppiness, light lemony taste, and is exceptionally easy to drink.

6) DOGFISH HEAD FESTINA PÊCHE isn't my favorite Berliner Weiss, but is the only widely available version of a style that demands a seat at the breakfast table. Both sour and sweet, Berliner Weiss is a fun style that would nicely wash down most any breakfast.

5) REDHOOK DOUBLE BLACK STOUT (WITH COFFEE) is easily the best beer I've had from this regional brewer. Coffee flavor is joined by a sweet nuttiness and hint of vanilla.

4) LINDEMANS KRIEK LAMBIC adds black cherries to create a pleasantly sour brew. Most of you are probably most familiar with Lindemans for their FRAMBOISE, but this is a far more refined, drinkable beer.

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