In recent years, the concept of the “breakfast beer” has erupted in popularity, but the early morning hours are typically reserved for decadent, silky stouts. But instead of bringing beer to breakfast, the alchemists at Minneapolis’s Modist Brewing decided to bring breakfast to beer.
Modist bills its 2018 Great American Beer Festival bronze-winning First Call Cold Press Coffee Lager as a “24-hour” beer.” Unlike most coffee beers, First Call mixes Wesley Andrews cold-press espresso into a bright and clear lager, making for a beer that feels at home whether it’s sunrise or sunset.
All coffee should come with a head like First Call’s. Whipped and milky white, the pillow of foam disappears into the candy orange body of the beer quickly after the pour. The body is shimmering and clear, the unmistakable trademark of a good lager. But what comes next is nothing like what you’d expect.
A noseful of First Call snaps you to attention. It smells like fresh Brazilian roast percolating in the kitchen. Thick aromas of burned sugar rise up from beneath the coffee. There’s a whisper of earthy hops somewhere in there, but the aroma belongs to the Two Cousins cold-press mixed in the beer.
You can drink it with cereal, but it’s light enough that it won’t end your day at breakfast.”
It’s surreal to get a full-bodied coffee flavor in a beer that’s so light. Cold press is silty and viscous, but First Call is brisk and easy-drinking. Still, you’re getting nothing but roasted coffee—and tangential flavors like toffee and chocolate—when you gulp this one down. Here, the earthy hops are a welcomed relief from the nearly overwhelming java, reminding you that, after all, this is a beer you’re drinking.
This is world-class brew in both senses of the word. Rarely does a beer redefine which styles can meld with various flavor profiles, but First Call does exactly that. You can drink it with cereal, but it’s light enough that it won’t end your day at breakfast. Finally, a coffee beer that you can drink all damn day.