To make a beer that offers an explosion of flavor, Alma Mader owner-brewer Nick Mader knew he needed to take his foot off the gas.
For the base of his Mexican Mocha Coffee Porter, part of the new Kansas City brewery’s Tamper series, Mader combined a blend of two-row, chocolate and caramel malts with a sprinkling of Centennial hops. Knowing coffee would be added later, Mader used a lightly toasted grain to reduce bitterness.
In a beer scene where pastry stouts have drifted toward extreme sweetness, Mader’s goal was to create a balanced beer that blends together harmoniously, showcasing the brewery’s “fervor for balance and approachability.”
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts — it’s a technique often used in blending sour or barrel-aged beer,” Mader says. “It can be applied when adding adjuncts like coffee or spices.”
The beer also benefits from Messenger Coffee Company’s consistently great espresso blend.
“It’s a blend of chocolate, toffee and bing cherry,” Mader said. “It’s not astringent or acrid like some espresso tends to be. I felt like it would stand up on its own in the beer.”
Tamper Mexican Mocha Coffee Porter was “inspired by flavors and aromas we often associate with Mexican food and drink,” Mader says.
This variant debuted on Cinco de Mayo weekend. “Everyone who works here is passionate about coffee. We felt this beer would provide a good base to add cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa and a touch more sweetness.”
It proved nostalgic for some guests.
“It reminded them of Abuelita’s hot chocolate they used to have as a kid or a mole recipe that’s been in the family forever,” Mader says.